Govt organises hackathon to curb dark pattern use

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New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) In a bid to enhance transparency and empower users, the government on Sunday said that it organised the finale of the Dark Patterns Buster Hackathon (DPBH-2023) to curb dark pattern use.

Dark patterns are defined as any deceptive design pattern that utilises user interface or user experience interactions on any platform to mislead or trick users into performing an action they did not originally intend or want to do. These patterns subvert or impair the consumer’s autonomy, decision-making, or choice.

The grand finale of DPBH was organised by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) on February 17 at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) BHU.

Secretary DoCA, Rohit Kumar Singh, stated that the solutions provided by participants will not only assist in detecting dark patterns but will be a major game changer in regulating other online deceptive practices such as fake reviews, online traps, and misleading advertisements, among others.

The hackathon saw participation from across the country, with over 150 colleges joining the initiative. From the competitive pool, over 172 teams were chosen to advance to the Grand Finale or Round 3.

The finale hosted over 500 students, more than 150 subject experts and jury members.

Each team showed real-time working models capable of detecting 13 different forms of illegal dark patterns recognised by the government.

The government said that these projects are designed to improve digital transparency, empower users, and foster a safer online environment, directly contributing to the hackathon’s overarching goal of combating dark patterns.

The declaration of awards and cash prizes will be announced on March 15, on World Consumer Rights Day.

The hackathon was launched on October 26 last year to encourage design and prototype innovative app or software that can detect dark patterns on e-commerce platforms.



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