In a pioneering move, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) in India, in partnership with IIT-BHU, has launched the ‘Dark Patterns Buster Hackathon 2023.’ This initiative aims to harness the collective power of hackers to develop cutting-edge solutions that protect consumers from the deceptive practices of dark patterns in e-commerce platforms.
What Are Dark Patterns?
Dark patterns are deceptive design practices in user interface/user experience interactions across digital platforms, designed to mislead or trick users into unintended actions.
- The hackathon will run until February 17, 2024, and is structured into four levels.
- The winning solution must utilize artificial intelligence for accurate pattern detection and should be compatible across various web browsers.
- It is encouraged to create user-friendly browser extensions, plugins, add-ons, mobile applications, and other software solutions.
Objective of the Hackathon
- The primary goal of this initiative is to protect consumers from various forms of unfair trade practices.
- The hackathon seeks to address not only the existing ten identified dark patterns but also new ones like Rogue Malwares, Trick Wording, and Saas Billing.
Round 1: Registration
- Teams and host institutes register to participate in the hackathon.
Round 2: Intra Institute DPBH 2023
- Intra-institute competitions are organized to select top solutions.
Round 3: Inter Institute DPBH 2023
- Institutes compete against each other to further refine and develop innovative solutions.
Round 4: Award Distribution
- On World Consumer Rights Day, awards and prizes will be distributed to the winning teams.
The top five teams will receive cash prizes as follows:
- 1st Prize: INR 10 lakhs
- 2nd Prize: INR 5 lakhs
- 3rd Prize: INR 3 lakhs
- 4th Prize: INR 2 lakhs
- 5th Prize: INR 1 lakh
- India is the first country to take concrete steps in tackling dark patterns, showcasing a commitment to consumer protection.
- The DoCA previously solicited public comments on draft guidelines for preventing and regulating dark patterns, which identified ten such patterns.
- The hackathon’s deliverables will contribute to the creation of effective tools to combat these deceptive practices in the e-commerce industry.