The EUhackathon is based on a call for application that was issued on 5 September 2011 to all geeks out there to show off their coding and designing skills in two parallel contests under the theme ‘Hack4Transparency!’.

The Hack4Transparency event will take place from Tuesday 8 to Wednesday 9 November 2011 and will be the first-ever ‘hackathon’ within the premises of the European Institutions, more specifically in the European Parliament in Brussels. The location aims to reinforce the symbolic value of uniting the ‘old’ (i.e. the European Institutions and law-makers) with the ‘new’ world (i.e. the Internet and the hackers). It also puts the European Parliament at the forefront of innovative legislators in the digital rights arena.

The goal of the event is to get together talented European developers to facilitate the co-creation of tools based on existing code and data sources within a 24-hour time constraint in two distinct and parallel development tracks, both focused on enabling transparency and accountability in the information society. In doing so the event wants to help build bridges between code and law (to paraphrase Lawrence Lessig) by joining hackers (in a positive sense), civil society, industry and legislators for the benefit of all European citizens.

Interested candidates had to submit an application using an online form :

  • for the Global Transparency Track, by Monday 17 October at noon CET.
  • for the Internet Quality Track, by Friday 21 October at noon CET.

Over 40 coders have been selected and invited to come to Brussels for two days, their travel and accomodation costs being taken care of by the EUhackathon organisers, courtesy of its sponsors. First prize 5.000,00 Eur for each track.

Internet Quality Track

This track focuses on visualization of broadband measurements collected by M-Lab. The purpose is to make network performance clear to the average Internet user. In particular, participants can contribute to one of the following areas:

  • Build compelling visualizations using data collected by NDT. NDT is one of M-Lab’s measurement tools, is currently used by a number of governments (e.g., US, Greece), is integrated in popular tools/platforms (e.g., BitTorrent, Android) and has +150k users/day. The data covers upload and download speed, round trip time, and bottlenecks in the network, and spans much of the globe, collected since the beginning Jan 2010. Feel free to use existing, open visualization tools, or create yours from scratch. For inspiration and to explore the data you’ll be working with, check out these examples. More info here.
  • Build innovative and user-friendly multi-platform interfaces for existing M-Lab measurement tools in order to help Internet users understand the quality of their own connections. Due to their popularity, we suggest to focus on M-Lab’s NDT or Glasnost tools. However, we are also open to applications that make use of other M-Lab tools. More info here.

Global Transparency Track

This track focuses on the accessibility of information on the Internet. The purpose is to use the data made available by the Google Transparency Report or other sources like Twitter and research undertaken by groups like, for example, the OpenNet Initiative and Herdict to create new visualisations showing the consequences of censorship and barriers to the free flow of information online, and ensuring users and policy makers get a fuller picture how the Internet is shaped by laws and other government actions.

The objective is then not necessarily to end-up with fully completed projects, but rather to stimulate the awareness and thinking around these issues, and to discover fresh ideas and innovative angles to tackle them.