Peter Eckersley, tech activist and founder of Let’s Encrypt, dies at 43

Sad loss: Peter Eckersley was only 43 years old, and he contributed to the creation of important technology enterprises such as the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority, Certbot and HTTPS Everywhere. An Australian computer scientist, Eckersley has been active in promoting discussion and research on highly debated topics such as net neutrality and artificial intelligence.

Peter Eckersley is not one of the most famous names in the computer industry, but his contribution to the modern Internet and technology is noticeable. A computer scientist born in Melbourne, Australia, Eckersley has worked for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and elsewhere to improve and protect privacy, net neutrality and online security.

One of Eckersley’s most important contributions to the industry came during his time at EFFwhen he co-founded a non-profit service known as Let’s encrypt. Today, Let’s Encrypt is a Certificate Authority operated by the Internet Security Research Group, a web infrastructure trusted by all major browsers and Internet companies, including Mozilla, Google, Meta, IBM, Amazon, and many more.

Like Seth Shawn, one of Eckersley’s former colleagues wrote on the Let’s Encrypt community support forum, at first Let’s Encrypt was just a “wild idea”, which later turned into an important part of the Internet infrastructure. Today, a free CA provides TLS certificates to 260 million HTTPS sites, whether they are well-known organizations and companies or just personal blogs of ordinary web users. For years, TechSpot has also relied on Let’s Encrypt and Certbot for HTTPS compliance.

While serving as Chief Computer Scientist at EFF from 2006 to 2018, Peter Eckersley has also been an outspoken proponent of net neutrality and has started other important projects such as open source browser extensions. Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere, browser tracking protection test Panopticon and more.

Sean noted that Eckersley was an avid cyclist and espresso connoisseur, known for his flamboyant fashion sense as well as his love of beautiful architecture. He received his PhD from the University of Melbourne, the city he left when he moved to the United States to settle in San Francisco, California. Here, Eckersley shared a dorm with his roommates, including computer scientist and activist Aaron Schwartz.

Eckersley died of cancer on September 2, 2022 at CPMC Davies Hospital in San Francisco at the age of 43. Late in his life, his career focused on ethics and safety in the field of artificial intelligence, which again sparked heated debate. he became a co-founder AI Goals Institute to create a new basis for the goals to be pursued with the help of artificial intelligence.

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