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EFF Pioneer Awards


The established the Pioneer Awards in 1992 to recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology.

EFF will honor this year's honorees at its 2010 Pioneer Awards Fundraiser on November 8 in San Francisco. Award-winning author and activist Cory Doctorow will keynote the event.

The 2010 Pioneer Award winners are:

  • Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Project on Government Secrecy, which works to reduce the scope of official secrecy and to promote public access to government information. He writes and edits Secrecy News, an email newsletter and blog that reports on new developments in secrecy and disclosure policy. In 1997, Mr. Aftergood was the plaintiff in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency that successfully led to the declassification and publication of the total intelligence budget for the first time in 50 years.
  • James Boyle, who is William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law and co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School. Professor Boyle is recognized for his exceptional scholarship on the "second enclosure movement" — the worldwide expansion of intellectual property rights — and its threat to the rich public domain of cultural and scientific materials that the Internet might otherwise make available. An original board member of Creative Commons and co-founder of Science Commons, Professor Boyle has worked for over 20 years as both an academic and institution builder to celebrate and protect the values of cultural and scientific openness.
  • Pamela Jones, who created Groklaw in 2003 as a source for a new kind of participatory journalism and distributed discovery — a place where programmers and engineers could educate lawyers on technology relevant to legal cases of significance to the Free and Open Source community, and in turn where technologists could learn about how the legal system works. Groklaw quickly became an essential resource for understanding such important legal debates as the SCO-Linux lawsuits, the EU anti-trust case against Microsoft, whether software should qualify for patent protection, software licensing, and the OOXML/ODF.
  • Hari Krishna Prasad Vemuru, who is a security researcher in India who recently revealed security flaws in India's paperless electronic voting machines. He has endured jail time, repeated interrogations, and ongoing political harassment to protect an anonymous source that enabled him to conduct the first independent security review of India's electronic voting system. Prasad spent a year trying to convince election officials to complete such a review, but they insisted that the government-made machines were "perfect" and "tamperproof." Instead, Prasad's international team discovered serious flaws that could alter national election results. Months of hot debate have produced a growing consensus that India's electronic voting machines should be scrapped, and Prasad hopes to help his country build a transparent and verifiable voting system.

Past Pioneer awardees include many names familiar to Dr. Dobb's readers, including Bruce Schneier, Aviel Rubin, Tim Berners-Lee, Linus Torvalds, and Richard Stallman.

Pioneer Award candidates are nominated by the public. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges including Kim Alexander (president and founder, California Voter Foundation), Jim Buckmaster (CEO, craigslist), Cory Doctorow (author and activist), Mitch Kapor (Kapor Capital; co-founder and former chairman EFF), Drazen Pantic (co-director, Location One), Barbara Simons (computer scientist, IBM Research [retired] and former president ACM), and James Tyre (co-founder, The Censorware Project and EFF policy fellow). The nonprofit EFF was founded in 1990 to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, intellectual property, transparency, and consumer rights.


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