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Centre Launches ‘Dark Patterns Buster Hackathon 2023’ to Combat Deceptive Practices in E-Commerce

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.

Hackathon Details

  • 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.

Hackathon Stages

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

Global Significance

  • India is the first country to take concrete steps in tackling dark patterns, showcasing a commitment to consumer protection.

Regulation Efforts

  • 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.

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