Pam Dixon, Executive Director and Founder of World Privacy Forum, Recognized with Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award

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Author and Researcher Honored for Groundbreaking Work Championing Data Privacy

For me, this work has always been about helping people,” Dixon said. “The Pioneer Award recognition from EFF is a heartening reminder that the high quality of our work has had an impact. I’m honored to be receiving this award along with such remarkable fellow pioneers.

Pam Dixon, researcher, author and executive director and founder of World Privacy Forum (WPF), has been named a 2021 Pioneer Award recipient by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The recognition acknowledges Dixon’s significant contributions in data privacy and data protection. Based in Portland, Dixon also serves on data governance work groups with the United Nations (U.N.) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and on the Oregon Attorney General’s Central Table, a multi-stakeholder group focused on privacy issues.

Dixon founded WPF in 2003 and has established its reputation as a leading public interest group researching consumer privacy and data, and educating consumers about privacy. As WPF’s executive director, Dixon has worked extensively on privacy and data governance in the U.S., EU, India, Africa and Asia. WPF has published numerous studies that have had a significant impact in the areas of identity, health, finance and AI.

In addition to her work at WPF and with the U.N. and WHO, Dixon also works with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on the OECD Network of Experts on AI (ONE AI). As co-chair of the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) Governing Data for Development Working Group, Dixon is working to bring attention to the inequities that underrepresented countries with fragile infrastructures face. In 2021 Dixon co-authored a report calling for a more inclusive approach to data governance and privacy standards in low- and middle-income countries. For many years, Dixon has been documenting and analyzing how individuals’ personal information interacts within larger data ecosystems and the consequences of those interactions. She has presented this work to the Royal Society and, most recently, the National Academy of Sciences.

Key work that Dixon has completed includes her groundbreaking report on medical identity theft, which brought the issue to public attention for the first time, resulting in numerous positive changes, including states adding medical data breach notification. Dixon’s original research work conducted in India from 2010 to 2014 regarding problems with the Aadhaar biometric ID system was cited in the Supreme Court of India’s landmark Aadhaar Decision, which addressed many of the problems with the system. Currently, Dixon is working on a large WPF project to document and elucidate solutions to old and new privacy problems presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic, including proof of vaccine systems.

“For me, this work has always been about helping people,” Dixon said. “The Pioneer Award recognition from EFF is a heartening reminder that the high quality of our work has had an impact. I’m honored to be receiving this award along with such remarkable fellow pioneers."

“In the past two decades the potential risks to privacy data have grown exponentially as the global economy has become increasingly digital and mobile,” she said. “I am grateful to the EFF for continuing to shine a light on this vital topic.”

Dixon and fellow 2021 Pioneer Award recipients were honored at a virtual ceremony September 16. A recording of the ceremony is available for viewing at

About the EFF Pioneer Awards
Awarded annually since 1992, EFF’s Pioneer Awards recognize the leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier. Previous honorees have included Malkia Cyril, William Gibson, danah boyd, Aaron Swartz, and computer pioneer Willis Ware. For a list of past Pioneer Award winners, visit

About the World Privacy Forum
The World Privacy Forum (WPF) is a nonprofit, non-partisan 501(C)(3) public interest research group. The organization is focused on conducting in-depth research, analysis, and consumer education in the area of data privacy, and focuses on pressing and emerging issues. It is among one of the only privacy-focused NGOs conducting independent, original, longitudinal research. The WPF has had notable successes with its research, which has been groundbreaking and consistently ahead of trends. WPF research has provided insight in important issue areas, including predictive analytics, medical identity theft, data brokers, and digital retail data flows, among others. Areas of focus for the WPF include technology and data analytics broadly, with a focus on health care data and privacy, large data sets, machine learning, biometrics, workplace privacy issues, and the financial sector. The WPF was founded in 2003 and works both nationally and internationally. The WPF also works to encourage collaborative efforts among other nonprofits.

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