Navigation: Return to: Seth Finkelstein - EFF 2001 Pioneer Award or Anticensorware Investigations

Seth Finkelstein's EFF Pioneer Award - Bennett Haselton's nomination

Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000 15:15:42 -0800
From: Bennett Haselton <bennett[at-sign]>

Now don't get all weepy on me guys...


From: bennett[at-sign]
To: pioneer[at-sign]

I would like to nominate Seth Finkelstein for an EFF Pioneer Award.

Seth can be reached at [SF: redacted] or by email at sethf[at-sign]

From 1995 onward, at a time when Seth could have been using his technical and programming skills to take home enough money to sleep on a mattress stuffed with dollar bills, he was instead donating his time to an important project -- and anonymously, for that matter, receiving no credit for his work. The project was to continually decrypt the lists of sites blocked by SurfWatch, Cyber Patrol, CYBERsitter, X-Stop and I-Gear, in order to determine what they block. His work was the basis for the article "Keys to the Kingdom", one of the first articles ever to criticize blocking software:

and for Peacefire's reports on X-Stop and I-Gear:

and much of the existing commentary on the high error rates and political biases reflected in the lists of sites blocked by blocking software. When the ACLU and PFAW won a First Amendment lawsuit against the Loudoun County, VA library system for using X-Stop on their computer terminals for all library patrons, much of the evidence that showed what X-Stop actually blocked, was obtained as a result of Seth's anonymous work.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the vast body of evidence criticizing blocking software, simply would not be the same without Seth's work. It is a minor miracle when someone with Seth's earning potential gives so much of his time to a necessary cause for free, especially considering that he had to remain anonymous while others such as Declan McCullagh and Brock Meeks (not to mention Peacefire) took the bulk of the credit. I hope you will see fit to recognize Seth with an EFF Pioneer Award and give him the long-overdue credit that he deserves.

Thank you,



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