Blackphone, and Virtru win Audience Choice Awards at Privacy Identity Innovation

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Held November 12th-14th in Silicon Valley, the pii2014 conference brought together industry leaders and policy experts for three days of learning and networking.

The producers of the 5th annual Privacy Identity Innovation conference (pii2014) have announced Blackphone, and Virtru as the 2014 Audience Choice Award winners.

More than 300 industry executives, entrepreneurs, privacy professionals and policy experts registered for the pii2014 conference, which was held November 12-14 at the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto hotel in Silicon Valley. The conference featured speakers such as Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Ogilvy & Mather’s global chief data officer Todd Cullen, MIT Media Lab instructor and Enchanted Objects author David Rose, Apple’s senior director of global privacy Jane Horvath and Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board member Jim Dempsey.

“We were thrilled to have so many leaders in the privacy and identity space at pii2014, and we congratulate Blackphone, and Virtru for being named Audience Choice Award winners,” said Natalie Fonseca, Privacy Identity Innovation co-founder and executive producer.

The first Audience Choice Award, for the pii2014 Technology Showcase, was presented to Blackphone for its innovative smartphone that puts privacy and security first. A joint venture of Silent Circle and Geeksphone, Blackphone features a security-enhanced operating system called PrivatOS and a suite of applications that are designed to optimize privacy.

“Blackphone is thrilled to have won the Technology Showcase Audience Choice Award, but what the team appreciates most is that we were selected by our industry peers and customers, who count themselves among the most knowledgeable and forward-thinking privacy minds in the world,” said Toby Weir-Jones, CEO of Blackphone. “Privacy Identity Innovation has established itself as a premier destination for intimate discussion about privacy as a social and mainstream issue, rather than a pure technology problem, and we are delighted to be part of that conversation.”

The Audience Choice Award for the pii2014 Innovator Spotlight resulted in a tie, with top honors going to two Washington, D.C.-area startups: and Virtru.

Founded by Blake Hall and Matthew Thompson, has developed digital identification technology that allows people to prove their identity online in order to receive exclusive offers and group discounts from merchants. To date, has partnered with hundreds of leading brands, including Dell,, REI, Udemy and Starbucks.

“Presenting at Privacy Identity Innovation afforded an invaluable opportunity to highlight our company to industry thought leaders. We are delighted to accept the audience choice award along with fellow D.C. tech company, Virtru,” said CEO Blake Hall.

Virtru, a digital privacy company dedicated to making it easy for everyone to keep their private communications private, also won for its simple email encryption and privacy service. As Virtru co-founder and CEO John Ackerly explained at pii2014, no special skills or know-how are required to use Virtru, it works with existing email addresses and accounts, and integrates with the email tools people use every day.

"We see this award as further validation of the need for encryption tools designed with the user in mind -- easy enough for anyone to use, said John Ackerly, CEO of Virtru. "It's an honor for Virtru to receive this award from such a knowledgeable and thoughtful audience."

More information about the conference is available on the site, and video of pii2014 sessions will be posted online later this month.

Conference sponsors included Internet Society, Blackphone, Cooley LLP, Perkins Coie, Facebook, TRUSTe, Cocoon, Digital Advertising Alliance, StartMail, the Entertainment Software Rating Board, Personal,, Disconnect, Online Trust Alliance,, W2 Communications and C-PET.

About SageScape
Privacy Identity Innovation is independently owned and produced by SageScape. Founded in 2003, SageScape is passionate about promoting innovation and exploring how technology impacts, and is shaped by, culture, policy and business. In addition to the annual Tech Policy Summit and Privacy Identity Innovation conferences, SageScape works on leading industry events for a variety of clients–ranging from early-stage startups to top global brands. To learn more, visit You can also follow us on Twitter at @TechPolicy.

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