The Challenge

How might Defence and Industry design counter-influence teams and tools to support and protect the Australian public from harmful misinformation campaigns?”


Our relationship with information has changed significantly over the past three decades. The way in which we consume information is constantly evolving due to technological advances. In many ways, this evolving relationship can be regarded as positive. Australians now have greater access to critical information affecting their daily lives; including everything from shopping for groceries through to engaging directly with our political representatives. However, despite its benefits, this information revolution also represents hazards and dangers to the nation and its citizens.

Online scams cost Australians $532 million a year. Foreign governments interfere in democratic elections through social media. Algorithmic marketing monitors our personal information to target our shopping needs. Terrorist and violent extremist organisations are using marketing techniques in online magazines and social media to attract new recruits from across the globe.  National discussions on serious issues, such as natural disaster events and civil rights referendums, are subjected to sustained misinformation campaigns and fake news. Lastly, mainstream media is influenced by the interests of advertisers, rather than a desire to provide bipartisan, fact-based news. All of this translates into an era of misinformation to which the Australian public  is increasingly coming into contact with, designed to harm or defraud them.

National policing and security agencies, including the Department of Defence, have a remit to protect Australians from harm. Traditionally, this role had been exercised in physical environments, such as at land, sea, or in the air. In modern times, however, the safety of Australians is at risk in the information environment, fording these same agencies to adapt in order to support and protect Australians.

The goal of this Truth Hack is to find ways in which Defence and Industry can support and protect Australians from fake news and harmful misinformation campaigns. We want to know what tools can be developed to enable Australians to protect themselves in the information environment. Furthermore, how can Defence and Industry design teams to support Australians in countering harmful misinformation campaigns?

Help us create solutions to stop this misinformation revolution.

This hack is brought to you by UNSW Canberra and UNSW Founders. Limited spots available so sign up now to get involved!

Why should you participate?

Two Days of Collaboration and Ideation

Over the two days, you will work together with students from your university on a solution for a real-world problem. You’ll be mentored by experts, learn new techniques, collaborate with other students and pitch your ideas!

Meet New People

You’ll engage with people from different backgrounds and with diverse skills to create a solution to a globally scalable problem. This hack will be a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests, make connections with fellow student and network with staff, academics and practitioners in the industry.

Free food and drinks

To make sure you are fuelled for the challenge ahead of you, we’ll supply you with nourishing (and sometimes naughty) food and drink for the duration of the hack. We will cover vegan and gluten-free diets, however if you have any other dietary requirements we suggest you bring your own food.


One Grand Prize winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize, second place winner will receive $500, third place team will receive $250 and we will also have a people’s choice award of $250.

More Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hack?

First up, it’s nothing scary or illegal! Some hacks (including this one) don’t even involve computer programming. A hack is an event, usually occurring over a few days, that encourages people to collaborate in an intensive way to help solve a problem.

What makes a hack so rewarding is the intensity of the experience- you’ll form fast friends and come up with solutions quickly- and the fact that you get to see the outcomes of all that collaborating really quickly. The magic happens when people from all different backgrounds come together and spark ideas in one another that alone, they would never have thought of.

What skills and experience do I need to join this hack?

We’d love to see students, staff and alumni from all faculties and backgrounds participating! Every single skill and perspective will be vital and put to good use. There is no prerequisite knowledge needed- we’ll teach you the techniques and methods to produce a business model. No programming experience is required!

How are teams formed?

Teams will need to have 2-5 members. On the first day we’ll hold a team-formation exercise where already-formed groups and solo hackers will join together as teams.

What does it cost to enter?

Nothing! Admission is completely free!

Who can join this hack?

All UNSW students, staff and alumni are welcome to join! Any external people to UNSW are also welcome to join. However, in order to be eligible to receive the cash prize, you will need at least one UNSW affiliated team member in your team.

Do you have a code of conduct?

Absolutely. Participating students agree to abide by UNSW’s Code of Conduct. Regarding information related to ownership and IP, please refer to the Hack rules below.

UNSW Hack Rules              UNSW Code of Conduct


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