Harvard hackathon sheds light on political issues

Larry Lessig is a lawyer, political activist and scholar on a mission to bring important legal research to light. Legal scholars spend many years researching deep topics, such as who is really financing political campaigns, that never make it to the public consciousness. In order to change that, an  event called Hacking iCorruption was created. This is a hackathon meant to attract accomplished programmers, scientists, journalists and academics together to push this research to the internet and into the hands of the public at large.

Lessig launched Safra Research lab in 2010. Since then, the lab has amassed a data from legal research that he believed should be involved in political debate. This mission, combined with investigative reporter Brooke Williams idea for a hackaton, was the spark that created Hacking iCorruption. In the article Williams states, “A lot of us had simple problems that required a technical solution, but we had no budget or ability to hire an expert to solve it.” It became clear that having a hackathon would be the way to bring together the diverse group that they needed.

Due to the success of this hackathon, new ones are springing up. WeCott is a hackathon that has been created to help people organize boycotts and receive crowd funding. Hackathons are a movement according to the organizers of WeCott, and they are focusing on efforts to keep the momentum going in their communities.


Article via ABAJournal, 1 September 2015

Photo: Hackathon via Ferderacao das Industrias do Estado de Sao Paulo[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]