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EFF Names 2008 Pioneer Award Winners 43

bowser100 writes "The EFF has named their 2008 Pioneer Award winners, picking three people very familiar to this community — Mitchell Baker and the Mozilla Foundation, Canadian law professor Michael Geist, and AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein."
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EFF Names 2008 Pioneer Award Winners

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  • by Protonk ( 599901 ) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @06:48PM (#22508948) Homepage
    ...someone complains about NSA/EFF/ATT wiretapping business and turns this whole thread into a debate over who we hate the most, america or the terrorists.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @07:00PM (#22509070) Homepage Journal
    Those awards are nice honors to their deserving recipients. But they don't help any activism except preaching to the choir: people who already tune in to EFF. The mass media (which is EFF's natural enemy most of the time) doesn't even notice these nerd/wonk awards.

    What the EFF should do to get itself press, more members, and actually push hard back for freedom would be making some ads to counter the telco propaganda [dailykos.com] that their award winners are persecuted by. I bet Mark Klein would be a good cameo in an ad, waving his EFF award or not.
    • by Protonk ( 599901 )
      TO be fair, the EFF is probably not likely to offer awards far outside of its purview. :) I know what you are talking about, but I feel that the EFF does a pretty good job with their money, litigation offers a somewhat better rate of return than do ads, especially for a populace that has basically made up its mind about NSA spying. As unfortunate as it might seem, we are basically split down ideological lines about spying. IF you feel that the primary goal of a government is to protect its citizens from
      • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @07:20PM (#22509260) Homepage Journal
        The populace isn't "split" on NSA spying. Sure, a few percent of the populace says "whatever the president wants" when asked "is it OK for the president to listen to terrorists' phonecalls if it happens to innocently also overhear some other people's calls - who might just be terrorists we wouldn't otherwise notice, or drug dealers, or something?" But that's a fraction of Republicans, who are losing power left and right: they'll have something like 40 Senate seats in 2009, and perhaps something like 30-35 in 2011, and probably the House will be 60:40 in 2011, while their presidential candidate will probably get whipped something like 60:40. Already Republicans don't even show up to vote except maybe half that of Democrats, and that's while they still have a Clinton to fear.

        It's not like Democrats are even aware of this issue except when asked, and then only vaguely for the most part. And independents aren't much more on the ball. So there's maybe 20-30% of adults who even have NSA spying on their radar, except when asked or actually seeing it on TV. The other 70% is up for grabs.

        Which is why the Republicans and their telco masters are launching a TV ad. And why someone, if not the Democrats, should launch a counterad. On issues like this, the courts are sensitive to how the public reacts - if it reacts at all. Since Republicans are so under siege in general, this ad is a desperate ploy that would further distract them if it were met with the strong challenge that the truth actually offers: NSA spying should matter to everyone, because everyone's privacy - and therefore safety and liberty - is at risk. But if Republicans scare America again with this ad, and win telco amnesty, then that's momentum for them, and more telco bribes to keep them in line and in office.

        So I want to see the debate get the facts for a change. If the ad is good, it will change the debate. Americans are fired up for change right now, and will be through November when we elect the first Black president. Let's see the rising tide also carry our most basic liberty: the line where the government and other private interests end, and where our private life begins as sacrosanct.
        • by Protonk ( 599901 ) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @07:27PM (#22509330) Homepage
          They most certainly ARE split on the idea. If they weren't split George Bush would be in jail. It is that simple. What is likely is that the NSA had expaned illegal spying to a vast dragnet by 2004, when normally permissive officials from DoJ wanted to intervene. They may or may not have scaled back that surveilance as Ashcroft was replaced by someone much more loyal to the pres. The times breaks the story in 2005. 2006 comes around. The president has not only not ben impeached but LAWS HAVE BEEN FUCKING PASSED TO ENSHRINE THE SPYING. Ask people how they feel about the president breaking the law to help americans and the answer SHOULD be 99-1 against. It turns out to be something like 60/40.

          Those 40% are not going to be swayed by facts or arguments. They are the same 40% that think that iraq helped plan 9/11. They are the same 40% that are angry at democrats wanting some oversight ability. The disconnect is emotional, not factual.

          I hope that 2008 will bring real change. It might. But I would rather money go into attempting to find judicial recourse while legislative recourse remains supine.
          • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday February 21, 2008 @09:19PM (#22510306) Homepage Journal
            No they're not split. As I said, they're ignorant, apathetic, and distracted by the war, the economy, and their personal lives.

            You are creating a false duality between "with or against NSA spying". The real duality is whether or not people notice. Since people mostly don't notice, and then are beaten back with distractions and end-runs, the corporate deals with the politicians who prey on the people go through.

            Bush most certainly should be in jail, or worse, but he's not. He's also cruising down below 20% approval, which is like only the grade F students thinking you're the right quarterback for the football team. That shows that Americans are disconnected from the system that's supposed to protect us, including the media that should be ringing air raid sirens every day over these crimes. But they're not.

            That's why ads are important. I never said that EFF should run ads instead of suing. I said that I think their running ads is more important than giving awards. I didn't even say EFF shouldn't give awards. In fact, I said that a good ad would feature Klein with his award, which would show Americans that there are real people out there putting their lives on the line to protect us all from these real tyrannies that they don't otherwise see exposed on their TV.

            That's why the Republicans are running ads. If they didn't matter, they wouldn't waste their money, while they don't have enough to campaign to hold the seats they're using to put through these abuses. It's all important. But that also means that ads to convince Americans it's important, especially in the face of ads convincing them that it's not, are important. Because those people are going to the polls every few weeks already, warming up for November. At which time, if NSA spying is an issue fixed in the public imagination (not just Slashdotters'), it will mean votes. If not in the Senate, which has small turnover and other issues despite the centrality of the Senate in allowing the spying, then at least in the House, which has to stand for election every 2 years. The ads are the way to drive home the "emotional" images that drive people to demand protection. Either the Republican way of fake protection, that we'll see in those ads, or a different way, an EFF way preferably, of protecting ourselves from the telcos as well as the few "terrorists" who have to reach a lot further than the telcos to hurt us.
            • by Protonk ( 599901 )
              I don't mean to insinuate that you felt the EFF shouldn't be suing or giving awards.

              My point is this, and it is probably a cynical one. People make decisions based largely on subconscious desires and fears. We operate in small, segmented spheres of rationality, but outside those we make decisions based on emotions. More specifically, there is a small section of decisions where we feel reasonable people might disagree and we come to a conclusion based on relatively dispassionate analysis. Outside this

              • Those actions come from popular support, which largely depends on ads. Ads are how our huge, complex, busy society communicates with itself. You're either setting up a false choice between political opposition and ads, or you're making an irrelevant value comparison that no one is disputing about whether political opposition is more important than ads.

                They're both important. And one depends on the other.
                • by Protonk ( 599901 )
                  Look, I'm going out of my way to be polite here. I don't think it is fair to characterize what I have described as a "false choice" or an irrelevant value comparison, whatever that means.

                  Democrats acting in a way that makes them not look like pussies is wholly distinct from advertisement. Opposition to the Nixon white house didn't occur as a result of some ad buys on the part of the DNC. It occured when even republicans realized (after the sat. night massacre) that Nixon would stonewall congressional ove
                  • Pointing out a fallacy by name ("false choice" [wikipedia.org]) isn't "impolite".

                    Your "irrelevant value comparison that no one is disputing about whether political opposition is more important than ads" is that you are comparing political opposition to ads by value, when I didn't say one or the other was more valuable. That value comparison is irrelevant, no one is disputing it but you. That makes it not just a false choice fallacy, but also a strawman.

                    I was polite about it. Some people are rude when pointing them out, sin
                    • by Protonk ( 599901 )
                      It isn't polite if I didn't exhibit the fallacy. Or I guess that isn't fair. You probably weren't being impolite on purpose. What I ams saying is that if I WERE to suggest a false dilemma, I would have to demand that the DNC (and like minded groups, for the sake of simplification) run either ads or foment political change, not do both. I don't think I have explicitly suggested that. There isn't a strong argument for it, even if you consider a trade-off argument, whereby time/money spent on political ch
                    • Actually, we do agree on nearly everything - certainly practically everything you just said.

                      Except "why do Republicans win elections". The reason is not their political actions, but their ads. Or rather, their PR strategy to mask their political actions that directly conflict with both their image and what their voters expect from them.

                      People vote for Republicans because they think Republicans are "fiscal conservatives" and "moral people". "Limited government" and "fair interpersonal dealings". They're "goo
          • In the presidential candidate debates to date, have you heard anyone ask Hillary or Barack what they will do to roll back the Bush assault on the constitution with regard to Executive Power, civil liberties and privacy rights? Are these concepts too difficult for the media hosts to grasp? Does no-care how the current mess will be fixed? Is everyone seduced by the bullshit "national security" mantra? Is the status quo OK if it is a Democrat in power? Have you heard anyone ask John McCain to justify what Bush
        • by guruevi ( 827432 )
          The debate will not get the facts, americans are not fired up for change. That is the same hippie bs that was going on right before Vietnam when JFK gave his "New Frontier" speech. And guess what, Barack will get a bullet in his brain or something similar just like JFK somewhere right before he does anything meaningful, of course it will be blamed on a single lunatic gunman (maybe we can blame some terrorists that live in a shady, oil-rich country).

          The working class of Americans HOPE for a change, they won'
          • The people who assassinate presidents are not the Americans who are fired up for change.

            You can believe whatever you want about America. Are you even an American? But the objective reality is that Democrats are turning out twice as much as are Republicans, in record amounts. And they're not voting for another Clinton, they're voting for a new guy. A new Black guy. After getting rid of the other white guys, and now the old woman in favor of the young guy. If that's not change, then nothing is.

            Hope doesn't gu
    • Now there's an ad that shoves telco Republicans' nose [crooksandliars.com] in the crap they laid with their ad. An even more powerful remix of their terrorist's dream ad.
  • And Alfred E. Newman isn't a pioneer?

    Seriously, tho, congrats to the winners.
  • Mark Klein is not a hero and does not deserve an award.

    He did not uncover any wrongdoing, but assumed the worst based on a very limited set of information.

    He also did not divulge his knowledge of "secret rooms" at AT&T until after his retirement. Real brave!

    And reading his statements on the matter reveal someone whose been grinding the Bush ax for a long time.

    • Re:2 out of 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by graveyhead ( 210996 ) <fletch AT fletchtronics DOT net> on Thursday February 21, 2008 @07:34PM (#22509402)
      What does the retirement or previous political affiliation have to do with anything?

      In case you didn't notice, what the government and AT&T are doing together is plain wrong. This should be obvious to any Democrat, Republican or NeoCon. Democrats seem to care, but only if they think their constituents do. Republicans are too busy being in denial about a significant chunk of their party becoming completely backwards to actually notice what is happening. The NeoCons actively ignore constitutional protections in the name of "security".

      One guy has the balls to stand up and say "what I've seen is wrong". Maybe he came to the conclusion a bit late. Maybe he was CYA'ing. Any way you look at it, the public has a right to know this information and make informed decisions on whether it is right. He is a good man for bringing us this information.

      • Not only do I agree 100%, but I'd like to add that so-called "whistle-blower" legislation has proved to be fairly useless in protecting the employee from the wrath of the corporation or government they blow the whistle on. And some of those organizations have long memories and ethics that would make a vulture puke.

        It's easy to sit on the sidelines and make black-and-white moral judgments about this kind of situation. It's not so simple if you're in the middle of one, and wondering what good a big damag

  • 1. Mitchell Baker, the Chairman of the Mozilla Foundation

    2. Dr. Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. Last year, he led the public protest to proposed Canadian copyright law changes that would have devastated consumers' technology rights.

    3. Mark Klein, a retired AT&T telecommunications technician who blew the whistle on the government's warrantless surveillance program

    • Hey, how about Ray Beckerman? He's at the forefront of the whole RIAA mess, and that's a subject near and dear to the technic crowd.
  • I think that US Congressman Dr. Ron Paul should be recognized as someone who votes against government intrusion into our lives.
  • Michael Geist's excellent newsletter on Internet law inspired ideas for using contract law to protect privacy [blogspot.com] on social networking sites.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"