EFF Award Winner: Kyle Wiens

For over thirty years, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has awarded those paving the way for freedom and innovation in the digital world. Countless luminaries working in digital privacy and free speech gathered for this Pioneer Award Ceremony in San Francisco over the decades. This year, we are excited to relaunch that annual celebration as the first-ever EFF Awards!

The EFF Awards is a new ceremony dedicated to the growing digital rights communities whose technical, social, economic, and cultural contributions are changing the world. We can feel the impact of their work in diverse fields such as journalism, art, digital access, legislation, tech development, and law.

All are invited to attend the EFF Awards ceremony! The celebration will begin at 6 pm. PT, Thursday, November 10 at The Regency Lodge, 1290 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco. Register today to attend in person. At 7 pm PT, the awards ceremony will stream live and free on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

We are honored to present our three winners of this year’s EFF Awards: Alaa Abd El-Fattah, Digital Defense Fund, and Kyle Wiens. But before the ceremony kick off, we want to take a closer look at each of our honorees. Up next, Kyle Wiens, EFF Award for Right to Repair Advocacy:

Black and white photo of Kyle Wiens holding a large wrench with a blue stripe on a white background

Kyle Wiens, 38, is CEO and co-founder of iFixit and a godfather of the Right to Repair movement who has empowered millions of people to fix their own goods, keep jobs, and reduce waste, while also helping to win major exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Wiens and Luke Soules launched iFixit in 2003 in their dorm room at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, posting a step-by-step repair guide online for Wiens’ broken laptop. As manufacturers used legal threats to limit access to repair manuals, they worked with their rapidly growing community to create homemade step-by-step illustrated repair guides of their own. Today, iFixit is a collaborative effort spanning thousands of fixers, repair seekers, and translators that provides over 80,000 free open-source repair guides for many thousands of devices. The company takes apart and rates products for ease of repairability, inspiring labeling regulations in Europe that are shaping new product designs.

Starting in 2012, Wiens joined with EFF and other organizations to successfully petition the U.S. Copyright Office for sweeping Right to Repair reforms including the rights to repair medical equipment, unlock phones, repair vehicles and farm equipment by modifying their software, and have third parties perform repairs on an owner’s behalf. In the latest round, the Copyright Office granted a broad exemption for repair of smartphones, home appliances, or home systems. Wiens also has been a stalwart crusader for congressional action to clarify and codify fixers’ and consumers’ rights.

Through it all, Wiens has tirelessly championed the Right to Repair not only as a basic digital freedom, but also as a job creator for countless fixers and a sustainable environmental imperative that keeps tons of e-waste out of landfills. “Our planet is impacted by consumption to a degree that no one expected and few understand,” he says. “I’m trying to get a handle on it.”

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Source: EFF Award Winner: Kyle Wiens

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