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 thursday >

First POST: Creeping

Senator Al Franken's tough questions for Uber's CEO; how the NSA could make its phone metadata program permanent; global privacy groups launch a personal spyware catcher called Detekt; and much, much more. GO

Recreation.gov and other Govt Projects Move Toward Embracing New Digital Approach

A draft request for proposals for the revamping of Recreation.gov will include a requirement that reservation availability data be publicly accessible and that all proposals detail how they will enable third-party sales, as two members of the United States Digital Services have joined the government team overseeing the RFP, meeting some key demands of civic technologists and consumer oriented technology companies. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Ubermenschens

Surge-pricing in effect for Uber privacy violations; why "privacy" policies should be called "data usage" policies; pols silent on Uber mess; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Uber Falles

Uber exposed for plan to dig up dirt on journalist critics; sneaking a SOPA provision into the USA Freedom Act; high-speed free WiFi coming to NYC; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Differences

How to use Twitter to circumvent campaign coordination rules; the net neutrality debate keeps getting hotter; charting the gender balance at dataviz conference using dataviz; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Security Insecurity

New data on Americans attitudes toward government and private surveillance; how artists are responding to the surveillance state; redesigning New York state's official web presence; and much, much more. GO

More