Washington, DC -- The ceremony for the Eighth Annual EFF Pioneer Awards took place last night as part of the 1999 Computers, Freedom & Privacy Conference, which is going on this week in Washington, DC. The online rights group chose to honor: Jon Postel, the influential former head of IANA who recently passed away; Drazen Pantic, the Director of Yugoslavia's first ISP behind the B92 Radio station that was recently closed down by Serbian officials; and Simon Davies, the highly regarded European privacy expert and Director of Privacy International.
Jon Postel is being honored posthumously for his work in helping to build and maintain the Internet. A founder of the field of protocol verification, Postel was perhaps best known for his role in running and planning of the Internet Domain Naming System (DNS) as director of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. He was also a founding member of the Internet Architecture Board, a trustee of the Internet Society, and the caretaker of the .us domain. Jon Postel is one of those giants of the Internet whose contribution has not been as well known to the general public as it should be. However, the Internet would not exist as we know it had he not been there, quietly laying the groundwork, and keeping the DNS running smoothly.
We selected Drazen Pantic for his work in using the Internet to expand the reach of Serbian Radio B92 and to make it much more difficult for the Milosevic government to censor independent sources of news and information. We believe Pantic's work as director of OpenNet.org (the first ISP in Yugoslavia) is a brilliant example of how activists and journalists can leverage both traditional media and the Internet to increase diversity of opinion and to counter efforts at censorship.
Simon Davies is being honored for his pioneering work as a privacy activist, including his founding and direction of Privacy International, a global privacy watchdog group based in the UK. Davies is perhaps the most widely known privacy activist in the world, thanks to his work in publicizing the raft of new privacy concerns raised by computing and networking technologies.
The Pioneer Awards have been used by the Electronic Frontier Foundation since 1991 to recognize individuals who have made significant and influential contributions to the development of computer-mediated communications or to the empowerment of individuals in using computers and the Internet.
"We got more than twice as many nominations this year as last year," said Mike Godwin, EFF Senior Fellow and the award coordinator. "We were particularly impressed with how frequently the nominated individuals were founders or leaders of online communities. We came away with the impression that community-building on the Net has accelerated in the past few years, and that this is having a salutory effect in the online world."
In March of 1992, the first EFF Pioneer Awards were given in Washington, DC to: Douglas C. Engelbart, Robert Kahn, Jim Warren, Tom Jennings, and Andrzej Smereczynski. The 1993 Pioneer Award recipients were Paul Baran, Vinton Cerf, Ward Christensen, Dave Hughes and the USENET software developers, represented by the software's originators Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis. The 1994 Pioneer Award winners were Ivan Sutherland, Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, Murray Turoff and Starr Roxanne Hiltz, Lee Felsenstein, Bill Atkinson, and the WELL. The 1995 Pioneer Award winners were Philip Zimmermann, Anita Borg, and Willis Ware. The 1996 winners were Shabbir Safdar, Matt Blaze, Peter Neumann, and Robert Metcalfe. The 1997 winners were Marc Rotenberg, Johan "Julf" Helsingius, and (special honorees) Hedy Lamarr and (posthumously) George Antheil. The 1998 winners were Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, and Barbara Simons.