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Hacking for Egypt

Egypt’s January revolution was not caused by tech but tech played a role, as a cursory glance at ReadWriteWeb’s stories on the country show. Internally and externally, geeks came to the fore. Now that the country has rid itself of its former rulers, there is still a lot of work to do.

On May 14, a group of 75 Silicon Valley technologists, computer science students and others met at Stanford for a Cloud to Street hackathon designed to create tools Egyptian activists have requested.

According to the post on Stanford’s d.school blog, participants “included computer programmers, web designers and social scientists both from Stanford and Silicon Valley, as well as a number of Egyptian activists that joined in via videoconference” and two who attended in person.

This hackathon resulted in three workable prototypes.

“In addition to the constitutional crowdsourcing platform, the Hackathon produced a web platform to allow interested citizens to train themselves to monitor the September 2011 Parliamentary elections. The third was an interactive tool to inform Egyptian citizens about candidates for that election, and once they are elected, to inform Parliamentarians of their concerns and rate them on their efforts to delivers.”

One of the attending activists, Ahmed Salah, reminded participants that the two qualities any successful tool created for democracy activists in Egypt need to be have are, they must be “free (since most activists are unemployed) and they need to be secure (to prevent people like him from being thrown in prison).”

According to We are all Khaled Said, Cloud to Street hopes to organize a second hackathon in the coming month, this one to be held in Cairo.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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