Tech savvy Americans are now reportedly participating in various events to help bring technology-based solutions as a form of resistance to the various policies recently made by the Trump administration.
Over 60 techies, including developers, programmers, designers, among others, reportedly spent over 12 hours in Brooklyn at an event titled "Hack the Ban". The event was reportedly aimed at developing apps and other services to help protect rights of immigrants and minority groups.
The participants – including students, nonprofits, lawyers, educators and others – gathered at the New York University's engineering and design school for the hackathon. Non-profit organisations that work on immigration rights also pitched in, providing techies with ideas and issues that require help.
"It was kind of insane. We organized this independently and completely sold out of all our tickets in the span of a week," Sriya Sarkar, one of the three organizers of the event told Edsurge. Sarkar and two fellow NYU alumni, Leslie Martinez and Helen Carey, put the event together in under a month.
"We all have full-time jobs so being able to do this on our free time was the hardest for us. None of us had organized a hackathon before, but now is not the time to sit back and observe," Sarkar added.
During the event, one of the teams worked to enhance an open sourced app called RaidAlerts. The app aims at helping warn people about Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agents at checkpoints and workplaces and is the brainchild of an American who was brought to the US by undocumented parents. Hack the Ban participants helped develop a verification process for RaidAlerts.
"Border Buddy", is another project that the participants worked on at the hackathon. The app is a collaborative initiative between programmers, developers and a Muslim American organisation called MPower Change. Border Buddy helps travellers with handling screening situations with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The app also allows users to "check in" prior to their flight, providing an estimated time of arrival. In the event that users failed to check in upon arriving and exiting the airport safely, "Border Buddy" has been designed to send an alert to an organisation called Clear that offers legal support to Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities affected by President Donald Trump's travel ban.
"The fact that these organizations are able realize the potential of tapping into this community that is now here to work with them is a really great outcome of this event," Sarkar said, Vocativ reported.
Hack the Ban is the latest in a growing number of hacking events focused on resisting Trump administration policies. Other events, such as Debug Politics, which was a weekend-long event that took place in January, saw several hundred in attendance.
Another event at the University of Pennsylvania saw hackers, scientists and other techies gather forces to save climate change data from the EPA website.