2007 EFF Pioneer Award

Last Tuesday I accepted my EFF Pioneer Award. Here’s an audio of my speech, and here’s a blog report from the event.

I am very pleased to receive the award, and am simply stunned by this quote from Cory Doctorow:

Technology could never achieve what the fundamental values of a democratic society can attain. We can change the world with the power of ideas. I defy you to read Bruce’s incredible essays and not have it change the way you think about the world.

EDITED (4/6): Here’s a video.

Posted on March 31, 2007 at 10:19 AM13 Comments


Michael March 31, 2007 11:30 AM

If by that guff about “values” he means that technology is itself value-neutral, then I’d agree–up to a point. But only up to a point. Technological advance actually depends on pure science, and pure science only flourishes within certain environments. One has only to look at the historical record and note where and when modern science emerged to realize that.

OTOH, if he means his, and the EFF’s, endorsement is merely to do with your “values” then I wonder about it. I’d have thought there was a bit more to your writing than that. I’d also hope the EFF didn’t feel that you ought to constrained in any way by this award, so that you were bound not to express opinions on anything at variance with those held by the EFF if your judgment dictated otherwise.

I’m glad you got the award, and I hope you get many more. But Doctorow is quite irrational on some subjects, and I have my doubts about the EFF. I think, on balance, they have their uses, but I’m by no means an uncritical admirer.

clvrmnky March 31, 2007 1:09 PM

“But Doctorow is quite irrational on some subjects…”

As are we all, Michael. As are we all. No one has a corner on rationality, and anyone who assumes that only strictly rational approaches to /anything/ has intrinsically more value is, ironically, being quite irrational.

Bruce Schneier March 31, 2007 1:32 PM

“I’d also hope the EFF didn’t feel that you ought to constrained in any way by this award, so that you were bound not to express opinions on anything at variance with those held by the EFF if your judgment dictated otherwise.”

I can’t imagine they’d think that. BT doesn’t think that, and they have a much stronger claim on the right to constrain me.

The other Roy March 31, 2007 1:47 PM

Kudos, Bruce, and Cory is spot on. You do have an influence. Heck, remember the cypherpunks meetings in Minneapolis? (heh… you probably don’t remember me 🙂 ) I can honestly say you opened my eyes more than once.

Marvel Man March 31, 2007 2:35 PM

I know, Bruce Schneier and Franz Kafka have been the greatest influences on my life.

aisake a March 31, 2007 8:49 PM

Don’t Get Mean – Get Screened

Antelope, CA, March 19, 2007 –(PR.COM)– “Don’t Get Mean Get Screened” is ALIV LLC’s slogan in its campaign to assist nations in its Security Screening Process. Since 9/11, it has been very inconvenient and uncomfortable for travelers to go through security screening anywhere in the world. But this is the new reality.

There are great technologies deployed and you have properly seen them at airports and other environments. You have properly been processed through those technologies.

“But the missing component in this whole process is winning people’s mind and heart over to your side. The screening process and everything else will be easy when people understand that this is our new world reality -we need their help and support,” says ALIV LLC Co-Founder and Co-CEO Aisake Afamasaga.

This new reality gave birth to a line of merchandise with the slogan “Don’t Get Mean Get Screen” which is available at http://www.cafepress.com/faikele now and http://www.faikele.com by March 30, 2007. Aisake said his company is seeking sponsors or partners to give away 10 thousands T-Shirts and Hats at LAX, Chicago O’Hare and JKF airports each to launch the campaign “Don’t Get Mean Get Screened.”

Anonymous April 1, 2007 12:01 AM

Congrat’s Bruce on the EFF award.

Someone once told me that there are three kinds of people in the world.

Those that wait and watch;
Those that get in the way;


Those that get things done!

Thanks for your many contributions.


Wyatt Starnes.

pointfree April 1, 2007 6:10 AM


There’s another variation:

Those who can, do
Those who cant, teach
Those who cant teach, become managers.

This ignores the groups of people who do 2 or all 3 successfully, either directly or indirectly, the subject of this blog being a case in point.

Congratulations on the award Bruce, one doesn’t always agree, one doesn’t always disagree, but its always an interesting read and thought provoking.

the other Greg April 1, 2007 7:26 AM

I think genius is not in seeing what nobody else sees, but in seeing that nobody else sees it. Then figuring out how to help them see it.

You do well.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.