Feds to participate in national civic hacking day


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In a sign the federal government is becoming more comfortable with the term “hacking” as it pertains to do-gooder developers working on civic-related coding endeavors, a number of agencies have signed up to participate in a weekend-long National Day of Civic Hacking scheduled for June 1-2.

The event aims to promote “transparency, participation, and collaboration among governments, startups, and citizens,” and will be held in cities across the United States in tandem with Random Hacks of Kindness and civic technology nonprofit Code for America‘s Brigade meetings.

Agencies can get involved by contributing data, code or a challenge. To date, NASA, Census Bureau and the Department of Labor have agreed to host their own developer challenges during the event.

“Civic Hacking Day is an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to unleash their can-do American spirit by collaboratively harnessing publicly-released data and code to create innovative solutions for problems that affect Americans,” wrote U.S. CTO for Mobile and Data Innovation Senior Advisor Brian Forde and NASA Open Innovation Program Program Manager Nicholas Skytland on the White House blog.

Because of negative connotations sometimes associated with “hacker,” federal agencies have typically shied away from adopting the term “hackathon” to promote developer challenges, opting instead for the term “codeathon.”

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Agencies, Brian Forde, Commerce Department, Department of Labor, Departments, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Nicholas Skytland, U.S. Census Bureau