First annual Access Innovation Awards prize winners announced

12:26pm | 11 December 2012 | by Michael Carbone, English

Access Tech Innovation Prize

Access is pleased to announce the winners of its first annual Access Innovation Prize. Programmers, human rights activists, journalists, and Access members mixed and mingled at the crowded awards ceremony Monday night.

The Access Innovation Prize gave $100,000 across 5 categories to individuals, organizations and networks who submitted the best actionable ideas on how to use information technology to promote and enable human rights and deliver social good. The prize is designed to discover and reward ideas that demonstrate unique promise, opportunity, and possibility.

The mood was energetic and lively during the award ceremony at Access’ Manhattan office. Before a packed crowd, Brett Solomon, Access Executive Director, emphasized that the funding is only the beginning of the story, as Access plans to work with each group to implement, improve, and expand the human rights potential of these innovative technologies and ideas.

Remote participants followed the events on the Twitter hashtag #techprize12. To read the live tweets, click here.

The winners in each category were:

1. Blackout Resilience Award went to Briar, a software development project which enables people in authoritarian societies to build secure communication networks that can function with or without internet access.

The runners up were Project Byzantium and RePress - Greenhost. An honorable mention was given to Linux en Caja+BogotaMesh,+RedPaTodos+HackBo.

2. Making Crypto Easy Award went to the LEAP Encryption Access Project, a non-profit dedicated to giving all internet users access to secure communication by adapting encryption technology to make it easy to use and widely available.

The runners up were GPG Clipboard - Open Technology Institute and HTTPS Everywhere - Electronic Frontier Foundation. An honorable mention was given to Enigmail.

3. Freedom of Expression Award went to Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) is a project for creating an international distributed observatory of internet censorship and surveillance.

The runners up were Initiative for China & Tahrir ProjectProject Gulliver - Greenhost, and Storymaker - Small World News & Guardian Project. An honorable mention was given to the Free Network Foundation.

4. Grassroots Technology Award went to Facebook Flashproxy, a Facebook app developed by the Open Technology Institute (OTI) based on David Fifield's Flashproxy, has the dual goals of raising the profile of online freedom issues while also making it simple for Facebook users to contribute technical resources to support citizens who must use Tor via Flashproxy in order to access the internet safely and securely.

The runners up were Interactive Voice Response-Based Market Information System - Marye Mengistu Miskir, Maletsabisa Molapo, and Reticle – Malice Afterthought. An honorable mention was given to Haroon Rashid Shah.

5. Facebook Awards were split among all four finalists, with each receiving $5,000.

Social Media for Democracy trains Moroccan women MPs on how to use social media, starting with Facebook.

Map Kibera Trust trains youth to use Facebook to map informal settlements in Kibera and Mathare in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya to increase their visibility to the government.

BigWebNoise, a Costa Rican digital advertising agency, was awarded the prize for its Facebook-integrated app, an easily customizable and intuitive open-source application for organizations and social movements in support of causes that require mobilization, peaceful protesting and visibility anywhere in the world.

Seven Sisters Social Project will combine an interactive voice response system with a Facebook application to create a mobile reporting network in North-East India.

For a full description of all of the projects, please click here.