Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

For the First Time, Japan's Government Hosts a Hackathon

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 7 2013

Japan’s recent strides in open data have displayed a growing interest in transparency from both citizens and public officials.  A hackathon held this past weekend shows that the government is already letting developers in on one high-level project: maintaining national security. 

The Japanese government has long resisted the promotion of hackathons on civic issues, out of fear that they would encourage cybercrime against agencies.  Yet cybercrime has been on the uptick in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, often in the form of phishing emails – usually originating in China – that target victims or agencies.

Now the escalating crisis over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands has invited further Chinese cyberattacks.  This past September, the Japanese government laid official claim to three of the uninhabited islands near Taiwan in the East China Sea; China and Taiwan have long disputed Japan’s right to the territory, which may be home to untapped oil reserves.  In response, Chinese hacks infiltrated hundreds of Japanese organizations, including government agencies and hospitals.

The hackathon, which took place February 3 in Tokyo, saw Japan inviting programmers and cybersecurity specialists to tinker with government websites for the first time.  Thirty-six developers were asked to identify holes in security practices, cracking sites to compromise data and passwords.  Japan takes cyber threats seriously; a military panel determined in the fall that malicious hacks of foreign origin could provoke the same response as attacks on land or at sea.  Coming to an understanding of current cybersecurity weaknesses could preclude the need for such retaliation.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Climate Changes

Google ends its support for ALEC; how network-centric organizing powered the big People's Climate march; is it time to retire the term "blogosphere"; and much, much more. GO

monday >

Germany Releases Open Data Action Plan Amidst Grassroots Enthusiasm and Pirate Party Turmoil

The German government on Wednesday unveiled its open data action plan to implement the open data charter established by the G8, now G7, countries. But while German open government advocates welcomed its release, for them it does not go far enough. Even as the open data movement is taking new hold in Germany on the local level with encouragement from the new Code for Germany effort, in the national Pirate Party, the supposed German net party, internal leadership disputes are overshadowing its digital agenda. GO

First POST: Packed

The impact of Sunday's giant People's Climate march in NYC; how the Kapor Center is increasing the role of minorities in tech; why Uber's business model is anti-worker; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Scotched

Why conservatives should back net neutrality; how big data may damage civil rights; the ways Silicon Valley start-ups are exploiting freelance workers; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Resets

Apple's new iOS8 promises greater user privacy; Occupy Wall Street three years later; how tech may tilt the Scotland independence vote; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Connecting the Dots

Take Back the Tech grades Facebook, Twitter, et al, on transparency; MayDay PAC founder Lawrence Lessig talks about getting matched funds; and much, much more. GO

More