Bunnie Huang is, for me, a “great hacker”. He is an achiever, and his achievements have a great impact on Internet communities. He first became known when he released lots of informations about hacking the XBox console, and since then, he published a number of astounding projects, including the Chumby, a connected screen to display just anything without a full desktop computer running, the NeTV, a box to transform any TV screen into a smart TV, that he also used to implement a man-in-the middle attack on protected HDMI links. He’s also known for having designed an easily reproduceable Geiger counter to help people in Japan and elsewhere monitor (and globally share) radiation levels around them, without having to rely on biased information sources.
Beyond that, even if I don’t know him personnally, I have seen several inteviews about him (MAKE, Dangerous Prototypes), and I really like his state of mind. He’s only interested by the technical side of things, and he’s eager to share his knowledge, and he does that very well. This is very important, because it gives a broader reach to his project. I’ve always thought like that, but communicating efficiently is easier said than done. That’s why I’m quite impressed and inspired by him.
Now, let’s talk about the EFF. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (Wikipedia page) is an NGO promoting and defending electronic freedom, specifically when it’s related to the Internet. It has lawyers and personnel willing to assist hackers or other people when they’re unjustly bothered by some justice issues, related for example to the DMCA, patents rights, or free speech (see here for a list of cases).
The EFF also awards a prize to people it thinks has done outstanding work for the sake of electronic freedom. That’s what Bunnie Huang got this year, as an awesome recognition for all he has done for electronic freedom. Congratulations!