Jayne A. Hitchcock Wins the 2015 M3AAWG Litynski Award

When members of a fraud ring launched a series of online attacks against Jayne A. Hitchcock in 1996, as retribution for exposing their scam on a Usenet message board, they inadvertently touched off a campaign against cyberstalking and cyberbullying that would make their line of work much, much harder. Hitchcock fought back, gathering information about technology and tactics, working with law enforcement officials to develop responses to this new category of crime, and helping its victims cope and recover from these attacks. Much of the progress the online world has made to prevent and protect users from harassment, including key legislation, stems from Hitchcock and others like her, refusing to be bullied.

That’s why it’s especially gratifying that she was honored today with the 2015 M3AAWG Mary Litynski Award for her lifetime achievement working to make the online world safer. The organization Hitchcock co-founded in 1998, Working to Halt Online Abuse, has helped more than 4,000 victims of cyberstalking and cyberbullying. Hitchcock’s school programs have taught thousands of students about the consequences of online harassment, as well as ways to prevent, report, and deal with cyberbullying. Her efforts have helped to train a new generation of online citizens to protect themselves and others from the kinds of attacks that she faced.

Online abuse appears in virtually limitless forms, targets virtually all stakeholders from individuals to corporations, and aims to inflict a spectrum of damage from base harassment to globally organized theft. As an active member and supporter of M3AAWG, Return Path is privileged to work closely with some of the most dedicated technologists, activists, and leaders in the fight against online abuse. Whether our efforts focus on phishing and spoofing, or on cyberstalking and bullying, our ultimate aim is the same: to make the online world safe for all users. Jayne Hitchcock’s work represents real progress toward that goal, and it’s a great pleasure to thank her for it today with the 2015 Litynski Award.

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