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3rd Edition of the EUhackathon: Hack4YourRights! #H4yR

Facts & Stats:

  • Over 60 applications
  • 29 participants (20% women coders)
  • 13 nationalities (10 EU & 3 non-EU)
  • 14 visualisation projects

Topic: What does government surveillance around the world look like?

Challenge: To ensure that officials are acting in the public interest, citizens should know when and why governments demand access to their information. Using data sets from network analysis, corporate Transparency Reports and freedom of information (FOI) requests, create apps and visualizations that shed light on the state of government surveillance in their country and exercise their democratic rights to due process and greater transparency.

Theme:The theme for the 3rd edition of the EUhackathon is ‘Hack4YourRights’ and focuses on government access to citizens’ private communications online. While governments have a responsibility to investigate and prosecute crime, that authority should not be granted at the expense of Internet security or fundamental freedoms. Public accountability should be an important check on government access to personal information, but there are still many places around the world where citizens are not fully aware of what is happening. In fact, most sources, including various corporate transparency reports, show that governments are asking private companies for more information about their users, more often than ever before. In addition, some governments are looking to expand their abilities to access citizens’ information without offering their citizens the adequate justifications or protections needed to guard against abuse. These new proposals not only pose a threat to Internet security and individual privacy but could also have a chilling effect on speech; people need to feel safe from overreaching governments in order to continue exercising their rights to free expression online.

To ensure that officials are acting in the public interest, citizens should be aware of why and when governments request access to their information. The EUhackathon participants will create visualisations, using data sets from network analysis, corporate transparency reports and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, that shed a light on the state of play of government surveillance in various countries, empowering citizens to stand up for their fundamental rights. Greater transparency and awareness are critical to ensuring government surveillance is only used when necessary and proportionate.

The objective of the initiative is not necessarily to end up with fully completed projects, but rather to raise awareness and encourage debate around this issue. Selected applicants will have their travel and accommodation costs covered and the winning project will be awarded €5.000, courtesy of our sponsor.