Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 2:21 PM
The EUhackathon is back in Brussels - and this time, it’s about online child safety.
A year ago, we hosted an inaugural EU Hack4Transparency, bringing together crack coders from all over the world with the goal increasing transparency on the Internet. Today and tomorrow, programmers are at the Google Brussels office for 30 hours of continuous coding. Entries this year come from 11 countries: France, the UK, Romania, Poland, Finland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and even Cambodia.
The new hackathon is part of the European Commission’s Better Internet for Kids initiative. Five civil society organisations: eSkills, Family Online Safety Institute, European Schoolnet, eNACSO and Missing Children Europe, are lending their support. Corporate contributors include Facebook, Orange and Vodafone, all of whom have dispatched engineers are to assist.
The coder’s task is to develop the best tools, websites or applications that will enhance children’s safety and creativity online. Our goal is to raise awareness of child safety and online creativity - and generate innovative ideas and solutions. European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes is a keen supporter.
Children are central to this latest EUhackathon and are being given the opportunity to participate in the competition. Our youngest hacker is 13 years old! A total of 25 teenagers from the European schools in Brussels, aged between 12 and 15, will assist, participate and get first hand experience of computer coding.
These children and their teachers - ultimately, the people who will use the tools created during the hackathon - will get to vote for their favourite entries, and their opinions will be taken into account by the jury in their deliberations. On 16:15 on 21st June, MEPs Sabine Verheyen, Róża Maria Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, Sean Kelly and Petru Luhan will hand out EUR 5,000 prizes to the first prize-winning teams at an award ceremony in the European Parliament.