M3AAWG Announces J.D. Falk Award
By Ken Magill
The Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group last week announced it is accepting nominations for its newly unveiled J.D. Falk award, named after an email-technology and anti-spam veteran who died last year at 37 after losing his battle with cancer.
“The award, developed in conjunction with his employer [email security and deliverability concern] Return Path, Inc. and his family, celebrates J.D. Falk’s life by honoring a specific achievement that enhances the Internet experience, protects end-users, and embodies his spirit of volunteerism and community building,” the spam-and-malware-fighting coalition, M3AAWG, stated in its announcement.
Nominees can be an individual, or an academic or corporate team that has developed a service, created a specification or security mechanism, generated notable research, or produced other work reducing online abuse and improving the Internet, the announcement said.
The award comes with an unspecified honorarium provided by Return Path, the statement said. Also, M3AAWG will sponsor the winning candidate's attendance at the upcoming M3AAWG conference in Baltimore from Oct. 23 to Oct. 25, where the award will be presented, the statement said.
Falk chaired multiple M3AAWG committees, served on its board of directors, and was the organization’s document editor.
He also was a founding director of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email and active in other organizations.
At Return Path, Falk was the director of Internet standards and governance.
According to those who knew him, Falk was a tireless volunteer.
“He did an enormous amount of pro bono work over the years,” said Matt Blumberg, chief executive of Return Path. “When we lost him we wanted to come up with something to honor him.”
Falk was also extremely principled, Blumberg said.
“Yet, he was also extremely open minded,” he said. “He was willing to engage people he disagreed with. Sometimes principled people can be very intransigent.”
To illustrate just how principled Falk was, Blumberg told a story relayed to him by Falk’s wife where just days before he died they realized they had concert tickets to a show they would not be able to attend.
They wanted to give the tickets away but they were a pdf stored on Falk’s password-protected work computer.
Falk’s wife, Hope, asked for his password so she could access the tickets.
But Falk told his wife: “I can’t give you my password. That’s against company policy, but bring the laptop here to the hospital, and I can log in myself and forward you the tickets.”
The deadline for submissions for the J.D. Falk award is Sept. 6. Submissions can be made here.