PRESS RELEASE: EPIC Announces Recipients of its 2022 Champions of Freedom Awards

August 9, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) announced the five individuals it will be honoring at its annual Champions of Freedom Awards ceremony, to be held on September 21st in Washington, DC.

EPIC established the Champions of Freedom Awards in 2004 to honor individuals and organizations that have worked to safeguard the right to privacy, open government, and democratic values with courage and integrity.

The theme of this year’s ceremony is “Defending Privacy and Civil Rights.” As EPIC Board Chair Danielle Citron points out, “This is a particularly important time to recognize that privacy should be understood as a civil right, one owed each and every one of us and one essential to protect against invidious discrimination. This year’s awardees exemplify this commitment.”

EPIC will be celebrating public officials and leading experts who have shown their commitment to this fight by working tirelessly to strengthen privacy and civil rights protections in the digital age.

“Many of the technologies that have become essential to our daily lives can also create new risks to individual and civil rights. Our awardees this year have stepped up to challenge invasive data practices and discriminatory algorithms, to develop and propose new oversight mechanisms and technological protections, and to document the harms that these systems cause to marginalized communities,” says EPIC Executive Director Alan Butler.

This year, EPIC will honor the following awardees:

DC Attorney General Karl Racine
Champion of Freedom Award

For holding big tech companies accountable for data abuses, including by leading a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general challenging deceptive location data controls, supporting automated decision-making anti-discrimination legislation, and challenging the anti-competitive behavior of online platforms.

Representative Yvette Clarke
Champion of Freedom Award

For consistently championing privacy and civil liberties, including by introducing the Algorithmic Accountability Act this session with Senators Wyden and Booker, opposing PATRIOT Act extensions under the Obama administration, opposing the original PATRIOT Act as a New York City Councilmember, and more.

Dr. John Abowd
Champion of Freedom Award

For making remarkable strides for privacy and civil rights by transforming the disclosure avoidance system at the U.S. Census Bureau through the introduction of differential privacy.

Dr. Safiya Noble
Privacy Champion Award

For her groundbreaking research on algorithmic discrimination that has drawn public attention to the ways in which digital technologies have magnified discriminatory racial, gender, and power dynamics.

Professor Sherry Turkle
Lifetime Achievement Award

For being a leading voice in the critical field of the psychology of human-technology interaction, including on how changing technologies have instilled changing notions of privacy — work pursued over seminal books such as The Second Self, Life on the Screen, Alone Together, Reclaiming Conversation, and most recently, The Empathy Diaries.

The ceremony will be held during EPIC’s Champions of Freedom Awards reception on Wednesday, September 21st from 7 PM to 10 PM EDT at District Winery in Washington, D.C. The awards presentation will also be live-streamed to registrants who cannot attend in person.

We are at a critical inflection point for privacy and data protection policy in the United States. Congress is considering a comprehensive, bipartisan, bicameral privacy bill; rulemaking processes are underway in California and Colorado, and new rules are being developed around the world to deal with harmful and invasive data practices. Meanwhile, the constitutional right to privacy is threatened in the United States by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Now is the time to strengthen protections against surveillance abuses and discriminatory algorithms, and EPIC’s work on these important issues has never felt more urgent.

More information and registration for the event is available at epic.org/sept21.

If you have any questions about the event, please reach out to 2022awards@epic.org.

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The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is a nonpartisan, public interest research center in Washington, DC. EPIC was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, freedom of expression, and democratic values in the information age. EPIC pursues a wide range of program activities including policy research, public education, conferences, litigation, publications, and advocacy. EPIC routinely files amicus briefs in federal courts, pursues open government cases, defends consumer privacy, organizes conferences for NGOs, and speaks before Congress and judicial organizations about emerging privacy and civil liberties issues. EPIC works closely with a distinguished Advisory Board that has expertise in law, technology, and public policy.

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