FOSS Force has learned that Peter Eckersley, who among other things was a founder of Let’s Encrypt, has died. He was 43 years old. We first learned of his death from a brief notice on LWN.net that links to a post from Seth Schoen, a friend of Eckersley’s who worked with him on Let’s Encrypt, a project that provides short-lived SSL certificates to website owners that Eckersley co-founded in 2012 while working at Electronic Frontiers Foundation.
“Peter’s intellectual interests included economics and moral philosophy, and he actively researched in these areas, including a demonstration that human values probably cannot be systematized in a way that can give a clear and consistent answer about what is best in every situation,” Schoen wrote. “As one of the inaugural members of the ‘Giving What We Can’ pledge, Peter promised to donate 10% of his income to charity.”
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, he was currently a co-founder and chief scientist at the AI Objectives Institute, which Eckersley described on his website as, “a new non-profit organization to work on artificial intelligence and transformations of capitalism.” He held a PhD in computer science and law from the University of Melbourne.
“Peter was an avid road cyclist and espresso connoisseur,” Schoen said of his friend, “and was renowned for his flamboyant fashion sense, as well as his appreciation of beautiful architecture and his talents at hosting parties and bringing people together.”
Eckersley died at CPMC Davies Hospital in San Francisco. According to Wikipedia, he was diagnosed with cancer on August 31 and died of complications during pre-operative preparations to treat the disease.