2018 ASEAN-Australia Codeathon
AUSTRAC hosted the 2018 ASEAN-Australia Codeathon in Sydney on 14-15 March 2018, in the run-up to the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit. This was the first financial intelligence Codeathon in Australia.
The Codeathon built on the strong regional partnerships between financial intelligence units (FIUs) and industry, following the themes and challenges of the first International FIU Codeathon at the Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Summit in Malaysia in November 2017. The event brought together technology and innovation specialists to tackle regional challenges in the fight against terrorism.
The winners of the Codeathon were announced at the awards ceremony on 16 March 2018 by the Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security, the Hon Angus Taylor MP.
The overall winners of the 2018 ASEAN-Australia Codeathon were:
- Codeathon Challenge Winner: Project Iceberg
- Codeathon Challenge Runner-Up: CryptoCollect - A project by The Cyber Six
The Australia-ASEAN 2018 Codeathon was supported by Thomson Reuters Australia and Accenture Australia.
The event MC was television personality, radio announcer, author and ambassador for mathematics and science, Adam Spencer.
Codeathon theme and challenges
Teams of up to six members solved complex challenges focused on the theme of ‘leveraging innovation to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and cyber risks’.
The teams were given 32 hours to solve challenges unveiled on the first day of the Codeathon:
- Using big data to combat terrorism financing
- Disrupting money launderers, terrorists and cyber criminals across ASEAN-Australia
- Exploiting financial data to gain insights into crime and terrorism risks
- Applying artificial intelligence to improve Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) compliance and suspicious matter reporting
- Applying blockchain technologies to improve financial services, AML compliance or secure intelligence sharing
- Collaboration and knowledge sharing to combat cybercrime, money laundering and terrorism
The outcomes of the Codeathon were presented in various forms including live applications or prototypes. The most innovative solutions might be used by financial intelligence units (FIUs) and law enforcement agencies to overcome challenges in following the money trail of criminal syndicates around the region.
Participants included developers, financial institutions, designers, analysts, subject-matter experts, engineers and other skilled individuals from FIUs and FinTech and RegTech communities. Collaboration involved constructing innovative digital solutions to integrate and maximise the benefits of information technology (IT) in countering terrorism financing. Participants enjoyed the challenge of engaging to develop their skills, network with peers and collaborate to solve financial intelligence challenges.
The team winners of the six Codeathon challenges were:
- ‘Using big data to combat terrorism financing’ – CyberEye
- ‘Disrupting money launderers, terrorists and cyber criminals across ASEAN’ – GoTrack
- ‘Exploiting financial data to gain insights into crime and terrorism risks’ – Project Iceberg
- ‘Applying artificial intelligence to improve AML/CTF compliance and suspicious matter reporting’ – Project Vision
- ‘Applying blockchain technologies to improve financial services, AML compliance or secure intelligence sharing’ – CryptoCollect - A project by The Cyber Six
- ‘Collaboration and knowledge sharing to combat cybercrime, money laundering and terrorism’ – The Longreach Platform
Team prizes went to:
- ‘Most Innovative Idea’ – FinCrime AI Alliance
- ‘Spirit of the Codeathon’ – GoTrack
- ‘Codeathon Collaboration’ – Jigsaw
- ‘Best ASEAN Codeathon Team’ – Project Vision
The judging panel included:
- Tony Sheehan, Deputy Secretary, Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
- Dr Maria Milosavljevic, Chief Information Security Officer, NSW Government
- Dr Alex Johnston, Head of Technology, Thomson Reuters Australia
- Alex Scandurra, CEO, Stone and Chalk
- Paul Xuereb, Secretary, Blockchain Association of Australia
- Leanne Fry, Chief Innovation Officer, AUSTRAC
- Dr John Moss, National Manager – Intelligence, AUSTRAC.
The mentors for the 2018 Codeathon represented subject-matter experts from a range of sectors in industry, government and academia, including:
- Code Like a Girl co-founders Ally Watson and Vanessa Doake
- sponsors Thomson Reuters Australia and Accenture
- 20 AUSTRAC Intelligence and Compliance analysts.
Why is the Codeathon important?
The 2018 Codeathon contributed to innovation in national security. The Codeathon is closely tied to the Prime Minister’s counter-terrorism (CT) agenda for Australia and ASEAN. It draws on the alliances between public and private partnerships and leverages them to deliver CT outcomes.
While the rapid integration of the region has brought new opportunities, it also demands greater cooperation on increasingly complex challenges, including the scourge of terrorism. The scale and transnational links between terrorist groups mean that ASEAN and Australia must work together more closely, sharing information and lessons learnt, and cooperating to keep our citizens safe.
The Codeathon is one tangible way that Australia and its ASEAN partners can share challenges and resolve joint issues. Participants collaborated with international stakeholders to innovate, inspire and address challenges.