The National Missing Persons Hackathon is calling hackers from across the nation to assist in a ‘large scale’ crowdsourced open source intelligence gathering, the first of its kind in Australia for missing persons.

As part of Cyber Week and Stay Smart Online Week, on Friday the 11th of October the AustCyber Canberra Innovation Node are conducting a missing persons capture-the-flag event partnered with the Australian Federal Police, the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre and Trace Labs.

The goal of the National Missing Persons Hackathon is to find new leads and intelligence on real missing persons cases and provide assistance to the relevant Australian policing jurisdictions in their investigations.

Bringing together ethical hackers and investigators, the 6-hour event is an in-person digital hackathon in which participants will use open-source intelligence on their devices to find new leads on twelve selected missing persons cases in Australia.

“This is where innovation brings social value, creating an event which is unlike any other hackathon. Theoretical concepts are put aside so that participants can operate in real time, with real (open source) data for a real human impact” said Linda Cavanagh, Manager of the Canberra Cyber Security Innovation Node.

Other than hoping to find new leads on missing persons cases, the day hopes to showcase the different elements to cyber security and promote the term hacker in a positive light. It also aims to highlight the diversity of cyber security careers, skills and the people who hold them.

Twelve missing persons cases will be available for participants to work with, with all new information found submitted to go through judges for points. The top three participants with the most points will receive the National Hackathon prize.

The hackathon will be headquartered in Canberra with simultaneous sessions running all over Australia as well as being livestreamed on YouTube.

“Hackathons are such a great way to accelerate innovation, especially when there is an important cause, such as finding missing people, and the efforts are connected simultaneously from multiple locations. The momentum of energy and focus stimulate new concepts that are applied rapidly, and results can be immediate.” says Petr Adamek, CEO of the Canberra Innovation Network.

You can register for the National Missing Persons Hackathon or find out more information here.

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