Fourth Annual EFF Pioneer Awards

On March 29, at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in Burlingame, California, the Electronic Frontier Foundation will present its Fourth Annual Pioneer Awards to three individuals who were judged to have made significant and influential contributions to computer-based communications or to the empowerment of individuals in using computers. The 1995 Pioneer Award recipients are Philip Zimmermann, Anita Borg, and Willis Ware.

Nominations for the Pioneer Awards were carried out over several national and international computer-communication systems. from the fall of 1994 to February 1995. A panel of six judges selected the winners from these nominations.

The Pioneer Award Recipients

Philip Zimmermann is the original author of PGP ("Pretty Good Privacy"), public-domain encryption software that has become a worldwide standard for e-mail encryption. Zimmermann has been an outspoken advocate of individual access to powerful encryption tools, and PGP has been widely praised for having made it impossible for governments to prevent individuals from communicating with true privacy. The publication and wide dissemination of this software and its extensive use on the Internet worldwide has heightened public-policy debate about encryption, and it has crystallized opposition to government policies grounded in distrust of citizen access to true privacy. Zimmermann is the individual who has done the most to put the power of encryption into the hands of individual citizens.

Anita Borg is the founder and keeper of Systers, an electronic mailing list for women in computer science. As the result of Borg's efforts, her list has become a major force for increasing the numbers and improving the position of women in the computer science field. Although she is also known for a number of technical contributions to the field of computer science in the areas of fault tolerant operating systems and cache performance analysis, she is particularly well-known among women in computing for the Systers list. Prior to her development of the Systers list, women in this field had tended to be physically isolated from each other and rarely able to find even a few role models or others with whom to share common experiences. Systers has done more to increase communication among women in computer science than any other available forum.

Willis Ware, now an emeritus staff member at the RAND corporation in Santa Monica, California, has been at the forefront of computer-privacy issues for decades. In 1972, he was appointed Chairman of the DHEW Secretary's Advisory Committee on Automated Personal Data Systems, which issued the landmark report, "Records, Computers, and the Rights of Citizens." This report provided the intellectual foundation for the Federal Privacy Act of 1974. In June 1975, he was appointed by President Ford to the Privacy Protection Study Commission created by the Privacy Act of 1974 and served as vice chairman. The Commission made a study of data banks, automated data-processing programs, and information systems of governmental, regional, and private organizations and reported its findings to President Carter and the Congress on June 12, 1977. This report remains the most extensive examination of private sector record-keeping practices. Throughout his career, Ware has been both prescient and outspoken on public-policy issues relating to computers and privacy; he has played a key role in bringing privacy concerns to the forefront of public policy.


This year's judges for the Pioneer Awards were: Mike Godwin, online counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who coordinated the judging process; Philip Elmer-DeWitt, senior editor of TIME; technology analyst and editor Denise Caruso; Steven Levy, NEWSWEEK columnist and author of HACKERS: HEROES OF THE COMPUTER REVOLUTION; technology writer Paulina Borsook; and Bruce Koball, technologist and chair of Computers, Freedom, and Privacy '93.

For further information, contact Mike Godwin at 202-861-7700 or

Return to main Pioneer Awards page