Digital-rights group honors transparency activist

AP News
Posted: Oct 20, 2010 6:02 PM
Digital-rights group honors transparency activist

A plaintiff in a 1997 lawsuit that forced the Central Intelligence Agency to declassify and publish the intelligence budget for the first time in 50 years is among four winners of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's 2010 Pioneer Awards.

The San Francisco-based group, which champions electronic privacy, transparency, and freedom of speech, annually gives the awards to recognize people whose work furthers these causes.

In addition to having taken on the CIA in court, Steven Aftergood leads the Federation of American Scientists' project on government secrecy, which promotes access to government information. He also writes Secrecy News, a newsletter that instructs readers how to access information that has been withdrawn, suppressed, or is difficult to find.

Other winners of the awards, announced Tuesday, include James Boyle, co-founder of the Center for the Study of Public Domain at Duke University Law School. Security researcher Hari Krishna Prasad Vermuru won for exposing security holes in India's electronic voting system, an inquiry for which he was punished with jail time when he refused to reveal the source who allowed him access to the system. Pamela Jones rounds out the list of winners for founding Groklaw, a 7-year-old site where engineers and other technical professionals can advise lawyers in cases pertaining to the Open Source community.

"We need strong advocates, educators, and researchers like these to protect our digital rights, and we're proud to honor these four Pioneer Award winners for their important contributions," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele.

An awards ceremony will take place in San Francisco on Nov. 8.