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White House Announces "National Day of Civic Hacking"

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, January 22 2013

The White House blog is hosting a post that designates June 1-2 for a National Day of Civic Hacking:

National Day of Civic Hacking is a call to action for anyone who wants to make a positive impact on their town, city, and country. A coalition of leading organizations, companies, and government agencies have banded together to issue this challenge with the goal of promoting transparency, participation, and collaboration among governments, startups, and citizens. These partners will support Civic Hacking Day by hosting activities across the country that invite anyone to become part of the civic hacker community—whether you’re a newbie or an expert—and by connecting people in person or online during the weekend celebration.

Random hacks of Kindness, Code for America, and Innovation Endeavors, an investment firm, are partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Labor to lead the event. Civic Hacking Day's website lists events currently planned for 27 cities and invites anyone to sign up to host a new one.

Federal and local governments have already embraced the idea of weekend-long events as a way to rub shoulders with technologists and community activists. This is a remarkably large-scale version of the same premise. It's also notable for its pointed absence of bureaucrat-ese. People in government have sometimes avoided using the word "hacker" for fear of evoking its dated association with cybercrime. The nod towards accepted usage — "hacker" as in "person who comes up with creative solutions to difficult problems" — in such a prominent way is a change in itself.

The events are set to follow one of three modes: A "block party" without strictly defined goals; a Code for America Brigade Meetup, under the auspices of CfA's volunteer corps for technologists; or a hackathon, where hackers and activists might get together to prototype solutions to problems specific to the host community.

More information is here.

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