Civil Disobedience prize/ monetary award

Zenaan Harkness zen at
Wed Jul 27 16:08:30 PDT 2016

July 27th, 2016
Disobedience Has Its Award
Christine Hall

Civil disobedience gets its due with the creation of a special award
that was announced at last week’s Forbidden Research symposium at MIT.

News & Analysis

As one whose early early political education, after I was old enough to
quit listening to my father and think for myself, came largely from the
various civil disobedience factions in the 1960s, it’s heartening to see
that disobedience now has an award. So far it’s one off, but if
successful might be repeated and perhaps be awarded annually. The award
will also offer the recipient more than mere accolades, as it’s attached
to a $250,000 prize.

The MIT Media Lab Disobediance award was announced at Thursday’s
Forbidden Research symposium ( ) at MIT and was
later the subject of a blog post by Joi Ito (
), the director of MIT Media Lab. The cash comes by way of a donation
from Reid Hoffman, the executive chairman of LinkedIn, who evidently has
some disposable cash after last month’s announced deal that will see
Microsoft taking control of the social site he co-founded for $26.2

According to Ito, the award “will go to a person or group engaged in
what we believe is excellent disobedience for the benefit of society.
The disobedience that we would like to call out is the kind that seeks
to change society in a positive way, and is consistent with a set of key
principles. The principles include non-violence, creativity, courage,
and taking responsibility for one’s actions. The disobedience can be
in – but is not limited to – the fields of scientific research, civil
rights, freedom of speech, human rights, and the freedom to innovate.”

Michael Petricone with the Consumer Electronics Association, has tweeted
a suggestion (
) that the award be named in honor of hactivist Aaron Swartz.  On
Tuesday, Mike Masnick seconded that notion (
) on Techdirt. I’ll gladly throw my hat into that ring. MIT owes him at
least that much.

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