EFF announces Pioneer Award winners: Stephen Aftergood, James Boyle, Pamela Jones and Groklaw, and Hari Krishna Prasad Vemuru

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has awarded its annual Pioneer Awards for leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. This year's winners are Stephen Aftergood, James Boyle, Pamela Jones and Groklaw, and Hari Krishna Prasad Vemuru, and the awards will be presented in San Francisco at a ceremony at the 111 Minna Gallery on November 8.

I was honored to be one of this year's judges, and I'll be emceeing the awards in San Francisco on the 8th. I hope to see you there as we honor these wonderful activists. The Pioneer Awards are nominated by the public, and awarded by a panel of independent judges. Click through for full bios of the winners.

Steven Aftergood 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. Secrecy News also provides direct public access to various official records that have been suppressed, withdrawn, or that are simply hard to find. 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 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.

When Pamela Jones created Groklaw in 2003, she envisioned 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 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 European Union antitrust case against Microsoft, and whether software should qualify for patent protection.

Hari Krishna Prasad Vemuru 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 of blindly accepting the government's claims, 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.

Transparency Activist, Public Domain Scholar, Legal Blogger, and Imprisoned E-Voting Researcher Win Pioneer Awards



  1. “Click through for full bios of the winners.” Wow, for a minute I thought maybe you’d out-scooped Maureen O’Gara, and I was sad. But the cake is a lie, and PJ retains her murky guise of Cloaked Crusader, and I’m glad.

  2. Congrats to PJ and Groklaw FTW! It’s telling that, 8 years on, SCO shuffles on, a zombie that refuses to die. Even after all the twists and turns, the shadiness of the bankruptcy trustee and bk process, is a revelation: Even after triumphing in court multiple times, Novell still stands in line, while Cahn and Co. drain the corpse of any remaining bodily fluids.

    I think this quote from Linus sums it up:

    “Groklaw does nothing but shine the light on what SCO is doing. [SCO] are like cockroaches scurrying about in a panic saying, ‘we’ll need the anti-light.'”

  3. It’s really quite sad to that the EFF didn’t award Julian Assange an award for transparency. He was nominated by many people.

    Mr. Assange’s impact has been huge – far greater than Stephen Aftergood. Ask your grandmother about Stephen Aftergood or Julian Assange – who has made a larger impact on her world?

    Julian ENDED THE AFGHAN WAR FOR HOLLAND with technology and transparency!

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