calling for nominations for their EFF 2009 Pioneer Awards. Nominees are celebrated for their technical, social, economic, or cultural contribution to the "health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications." Past recipients of the award have included World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, Linux creator Linus Torvalds and Mozilla Foundation Chairman Mitchell Baker.The Electronic Frontiers Foundation is
Berners-Lee, Torvalds and Baker's have redefined communication for millions and the three are obvious candidates to receive the EFF Pioneer Award; however, it's perhaps the unlikely heroes that make this award so interesting.
For example, former AT&T technician Mark Klein received an EFF Pioneer Award for blowing the whistle on the government's illegal phone wiretapping and surveillance program. Klein leaked news of AT&T employing splitters to send duplicates of fiber optic signals to a security-restricted company room controlled by the US National Security Agency at San Francisco's Folsom Street facilities. Klein's testimony is the proof that the phone company gave the US government access to private phone calls, emails and text messages. Despite the fact that those surveyed had never been connected to terrorist actions. The EFF continues to celebrate Klein's actions in it's work to end NSA domestic spy programs.
While the EFF has given its Pioneer Award to a number of CEOs and technologists, it's clear to see that Klein's testimony has had a major impact on the fate of the American people. If you'd like to nominate your own hero, check out the EFF's blog.