IFEX Executive Director, 2 Others Named EFF Pioneer Award Winners

Annie Game, Executive Director, IFEX
Annie Game, Executive Director, IFEX

Ms Annie Game, Executive Director of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX); Chelsea Manning, network security expert, and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst; and Mike Masnick, Founder and Editor of the popular and respected Techdirt blog, have been named the joint distinguished winners of the 2017 Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Pioneer Awards, which recognizes leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier.

The three recipients were given the award for having worked tirelessly to protect the public’s right to know.

Annie Game is the Executive Director of IFEX, the global freedom of expression network made up of over 115 civil society organizations. IFEX defends and promotes freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. It exposes threats to online free expression, focuses on bringing to justice those who harm or kill journalists, and advocates for the rights of media workers, women and LGBT journalists, citizen journalists, and activists.

Annie has, for over 10 years, led IFEX’s efforts to free imprisoned journalists, defend online activists targeted by repressive regimes, provide tools for organizing successful campaigns advocating for free expression, and expose legislation aimed at quelling free speech.

Under her leadership, IFEX begun pairing more traditional free expression organizations with their more digitized counterparts with a focus on building organizational security capacities. Annie has been activist throughout her career in the NGO sector and is also a published writer and broadcaster of satire and humor.

Chelsea E. Manning is a network security expert, whistleblower, and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst whose disclosure of classified Iraq war documents exposed human rights abuses and corruption the government kept hidden from the public. While serving in Iraq, Chelsea worked to release hundreds of thousands of classified war and State Department files on the Internet, including a video depicting the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters reporters by U.S. troops.

Chelsea’s conscience-driven leaks exposed critical information about U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and made it available online to journalists and citizens around the world, greatly contributing to public knowledge, understanding, and discussion of the government’s actions. While serving seven years of an unprecedented 35-year sentence for leaking the documents, she became a prominent and vocal advocate for government transparency and transgender rights, both on Twitter and through her op-ed columns for The Guardian and The New York Times. She currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area, where she writes about technology, artificial intelligence, and human rights.

Mike Masnick is the founder and editor of the popular and respected Techdirt blog and an outspoken activist for digital rights, the First Amendment, and a free and open Internet. For 20 years Mike explored the intersection of technology, policy, civil liberties, and economics, making Techdirt a must-read for its insightful and unvarnished analysis. He was a powerful voice in the fight against SOPA, and coined the term “The Streisand Effect.”

Today Mike is in a fight for Techdirt’s survival—he and the weblog are targets of a $15 million libel lawsuit for publishing articles disputing claims of a man who says he invented email.

Cindy Cohn, EFF Executive Director said: “It’s an honor to celebrate this year’s Pioneer Award winners and the work they’ve done to fight for transparency and the rights of all people to freely express their opinions, passions, and beliefs without fear of censorship or retaliation.”

She added: “In these turbulent times, it’s essential that the Internet remains free and open and a source of critical information for people around the world. This group of pioneers, often in the face of great personal risk, have stood up courageously and relentlessly for users, for freedom, and for truth. Their work is an inspiration as we continue to defend global digital rights.”

The EFF Awardees will be conferred with the awards in the evening of September 14, 2017 at Delancey Street’s Town Hall Room in San Francisco.

The EFF’s Pioneer Awards which was initiated in 1992 are given annually to recognize the leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier. Previous winners of the awards include Malkia A. Cyril, Aaron Swartz, Laura Poitras, and Citizen Lab.