The sudden and unexpected death of Professor Andreas Pfitzmann on 23rd September 2010 leaves a huge gap in the lives of all who knew him. Through both his work and approach, Prof. Pfitzmann set measurably high standards. He was one of a small group of computer scientists who always clearly put forward his soundly based and independent opinion. In his endeavours to foster cross-discipline interaction, he proved instrumental in shaping both technical and political discourses on anonymity and privacy issues in Germany – thus ensuring him a well-deserved international reputation. He always managed to cross the boundaries of his discipline and make the impact of technology comprehensible. His contributions to research in this regard remain eloquent and courageous, and his insistence on even voicing inconvenient truths means he will remain a role model for us all.
In his passing we recognise and mourn the loss of an outstanding scientist, unique in his stance as a defender of people’s basic rights of anonymity and the administration of information pertaining to themselves – both of which are basic prerequisites for a thriving democracy. None of us will ever forget his rousing lectures and speeches, or the ways he found to nurture experimental, enquiring thought amongst an audience.
In Andreas Pfitzmann, too many of our members have lost a dear friend and long-term inspirer. Our thoughts are firmly with his family, to whom we extend our deepest and most profound condolences.