Zoohackathon 2020 Official Terms and R­­ules

By registering for Zoohackathon 2020, each participant agrees to abide by these Terms and Rules (the “Rules”). Zoohackathon is organized, sponsored, and conducted by the U.S. Department of State in conjunction with a diverse array of partners around the world (collectively, the “Sponsors”). Objectives Zoohackathon is a technology-based competition that pits the ingenuity of students and private individuals against criminals who profit from wildlife trafficking through the creation of new and innovative technologies. U.S. embassies and consulates partner with local governments, wildlife conservation NGOs, and private sector technology companies to host 48-hour “hackathon” competitions with university students and young professionals. Through Zoohackathon, the U.S. Department of State, through its Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, aims to promote innovative technological solutions that can eventually be used to combat wildlife trafficking in the field.


Individuals must be at least 18 years old on the date of their Zoohackathon 2020 registration. There is no upper age limit on participating in Zoohackathon. Participants must reside outside of the United States and may not be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States. Participation in Zoohackathon 2020 will be automatically deemed as acceptance of these Rules. The following individuals are not eligible to participate in Zoohackathon 2020: Employees, interns, directors, and officers of the Sponsors or any employees, interns, directors, or officers of any agencies, companies, or entities involved in the administration, advertising, judging, creation, development, execution, and/or fulfillment of Zoohackathon, and the immediate family members (defined as spouse, recognized partner, parent, child, sibling, and spouse or ‘step’ of each) and those living in the same household of each such individual.


Zoohackathon 2020 will be held virtually and consist of regional virtual events, the winners of which will be automatically be entered for the 2020 Global Prize. Individuals wishing to participate in Zoohackathon must register by RSVP-ing through the DevPost page for the regional virtual event in which they seek to participate. To find a complete listing of all Zoohackathon 2020 events, please visit www.zoohackathon.com. The DevPost page for each event will contain a registration form for individuals to complete. Each participant must register as an individual, but should indicate the name of the team of which s/he will be a member when registering. If at the time of registration a participant does not indicate membership in a team, s/he will subsequently be assigned/placed into one.

Teams may be composed of 2-6 individuals unless a different range is specified by the organizers of an event

; please contact your event’s organizers for further information. Additionally, each participant must register in her/his personal/private capacity (i.e., representing only her/himself and not an employer).

Please Note:

All participants must provide digital, electronic, or written agreement to the Zoohackathon 2020 Statement of Eligibility, License, and Liability/Publicity Release. Any individual declining to do so will not be permitted to participate in Zoohackathon. The start and end times for each Zoohackathon event will be determined by the event’s organizers. The webpage for each event will be updated periodically, and organizers will reach out to participants with further details as each event approaches. Only solutions developed between the start and end time of each participant’s selected event will be eligible for prizes.

Problem Statements

Problem statements will be released at the start of each Zoohackathon event. From the list of released problem statements, each team will

choose one statement

to work on for the entirety of the event. Teams will work to develop solutions that can help solve the problems indicated in the statement they select.

Developing Your Solution

Participants may code in any language without restriction in developing a solution to the problem statement of their choice. It is recommended that a solution run on one of the following platforms:
  • Android device (such as a smartphone, tablet, Google Glass, etc.)
  • iOS device (such as a smartphone, tablet, etc.)
  • SMS
  • Windows Phone device (such as a smartphone, tablet, etc.)
  • Blackberry device
  • Web or mobile web (Ionic, PhoneGap also acceptable)
  • Windows desktop computer
  • Mac desktop computer
  • Kindle
  • Other hardware that includes a software component developed by the team (including but not limited to wearable technology, open source hardware, etc.)

Solutions developed by Zoohackathon participants must conform to the following terms:

  • Solutions must reflect original work of the participants. Leveraging open-source data and code are permitted, but participants must develop original solutions and, if any third party material is used, be transparent about what elements are original vs. leveraged.
  • Participants whose solutions include any third party material (such as open-source data and code) must be able to provide, upon request by Sponsors, documentation of all appropriate licenses/permissions/consents and releases for having used such third party material. If a team cannot provide such documentation, Sponsors reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify that team and its solution.
  • Solutions may not contain any harmful computer code (sometimes referred to as “malware,” “viruses,” or “worms”).
  • Solutions must not violate or infringe upon the intellectual property, privacy, publicity, or other legal rights of any third party.
  • Solutions must not contain any advertisements or solicitation.
  • Solutions must not contain anything that, in the judgment of Sponsors, is or may be construed as: (i) threatening, harassing, degrading or hateful; (ii) defamatory; (iii) fraudulent or tortious; (iv) obscene, indecent, sexually explicit, disrespectful, or otherwise objectionable; or (v) protected by an intellectual property or other proprietary right without the express prior consent of the owner of such right.
  • Solutions must conform to U.S. law and other applicable laws and accord with norms of civil discourse. The content of a solution must be suitable for a global, public audience.
  • Solutions may not contain any material that would give rise to criminal or civil liability or that encourages conduct constituting a criminal offense.
  • Solutions may not be the subjects of any actual or threatened litigation or claim.
  • Solutions must otherwise comply in all respects with these Rules.

Presenting Your Solution

Prior to the conclusion of each event, each team will virtually present its solution before a panel of judges. These presentations are intended to help teams develop a sense of camaraderie; disseminate information about the solutions they developed, and allow them to discuss the creative approach they took to develop their solutions. Each team must utilize a digital visual aid (e.g., a video, a slide deck in Microsoft PowerPoint) in virtually presenting its solution. The presentation aid must be 2-3 minutes in length and include the following information in the following order:
  • The selected problem statement your solution seeks to address
  • Introduction to your solution
  • How it works
  • What resources are needed for the implementation of your solution
  • Ways in which your solution can be implemented
  • A real life situation your solution will address and the resulting impact on the community/city/country
Each team should be ready for at least 2 minutes of Q&A by the judging panel.

Please Note:

Each team must submit to zoohackathon-2020.devpost.com the visual aid it will use in its presentation prior to the actual virtual presentation. Do not attempt to submit your actual solution; your submission must consist only of your visual presentation aid. All submissions will subsequently be made publicly available on www.zoohackathon.com. The solutions of any participants who fail to submit their presentation aids prior to presenting in their event will not be considered for the 2020 Global Prize.

Judging of Solutions

The panel of judges for each event will use the criteria below as a framework for judging participant solutions and selecting a team winner of the event. A typical judging panel will be comprised of 3-4 individuals, who collectively possess wildlife, U.S. Government, and technological expertise. The judging panel will evaluate each solution as presented in the associated team’s presentation, submitted visual presentation aid, and Q&A.


Regional Event Prizes

Descriptions of the event prizes will be posted on zoohackathon-2020.devpost.com prior to the start of each event. Event winners may be announced on U.S. Department of State websites and/or social media properties.

The Global Prize

A description of the 2020 Global Prize will be posted on www.zoohackathon.com. The solutions of event team winners will automatically be entered for the 2020 Global Prize. No further action will be required on the part of event winners in order for their solutions to be considered for the Global Prize. The winner of the 2020 Global Prize will be determined by a U.S.-based Review Committee based in Washington, D.C. via a set of Global Judging Days Nov 13-15. The Global Review Committee will comprise members from the U.S. Government, non-governmental organizations, wildlife organizations, and technology companies. This committee will judge the solutions as presented in the associated visual presentation aids submitted to www.zoohackathon.com by the event winners during their respective events.

The winner of the 2020 Global Prize will be announced in January 2021.

The winning team may be announced on U.S. Department of State websites and/or social media properties. Team members may choose to use aliases instead of their real names for purposes of publicity and may request that other identifying information be kept private. The submitted visual presentation aid for the winning solution may be described and displayed on websites of or managed by Sponsors. The winner of the 2020 Global Prize must confirm acceptance of the Global Prize by e-mail within three calendar days of being notified by the Sponsors. If acceptance is not confirmed within this timeframe, the Sponsors reserve the right to select an alternate winner. The winner must provide a valid physical mailing address where a prize may to be shipped, to the extent shipping is necessary.

Additional Terms

  • During Zoohackathon (to include the Judging and Prize phases), Sponsors and individuals involved in judging may not hold proprietary rights in any intellectual property created as part of a participant’s solution and associated submission..
  • In the event of any question, difference of views, or dispute regarding compliance with, interpretation, or application of these Rules, Sponsors reserve the right to resolve such questions, differences of views, and disputes in their sole discretion..
  • Sponsors do not endorse any solutions or submissions or messages expressed in any solutions or submissions, and expressly disclaim any and all liability in connection with solutions and submissions, to include any disputes between collaborators/team members related to a solution or submission..
  • Sponsors reserve the right at any time to verify the validity of participant solutions and submissions, and to disqualify any participant, solution, or submission they deem, in their sole and absolute discretion, to be noncompliant with these Sponsors also reserve the right to request further documentation, in their sole and absolute discretion, to verify eligibility and compliance with these Rules..
  • Sponsors reserve the right, at any time and in their sole discretion, to disqualify and/or deem ineligible any participant who they reasonably believe has violated the terms of use of a platform or is acting in bad faith; in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner; or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other person..
  • If a prize or any portion thereof is unavailable, Sponsors, in their sole discretion, reserve the right to substitute the prize with another prize of equal value and/or specification as they may determine..
  • Sponsors are not responsible for any problems related to the shipping of any prize, including but not limited to any theft, delay, damage, or destruction/accidental loss by the shipping carrier..
  • Any unused portion of a prize is not transferable, convertible, or exchangeable and cannot be taken as cash. All taxes on or in connection with any prize, and any reporting consequences thereof, are the sole and exclusive responsibilities of the winner..
  • Sponsors reserve the right to modify, suspend, terminate, or cancel Zoohackathon or any Zoohackathon event or other component of Zoohackathon at their sole discretion for any reason..
  • The conduct of a Zoohackathon event, to include the judging of participant solutions and awarding of prizes, will be carried out in full compliance with applicable U.S. law and the laws of the host countries. In the event of a conflict between applicable U.S. law and event host country laws, U.S. law will apply..
  • Sponsors will take reasonable measures to protect privacy data, personally identifiable information, and other sensitive data of participants. Contact information provided by participants may be stored by Sponsors and may be used to contact participants for other purposes in the future. Such information may be made available to third parties, to the extent permitted by applicable law. .
  • Sponsors assume no liability or responsibility for any loss or harm resulting from any individual’s participation in or attempt to participate in Zoohackathon or ability or inability to upload, download, or otherwise access any information in connection with participating in Zoohackathon..
  • Sponsors assume no responsibility or liability for technical problems, or technical malfunctions arising in connection with the operation of Zoohackathon, including: hardware or software errors; faulty computer, telephone, cable, satellite, network, electronic, wireless or Internet connectivity, or other online communication problems; errors or limitations of any Internet service providers, servers, hosts or providers; garbled, jumbled, or faulty data transmissions; failure of any e-mail transmissions to be sent or received; lost, late, delayed, or intercepted e-mail transmissions; inaccessibility of a Zoohackathon-related site in whole or in part for any reason; traffic congestion on the Internet or specifically on a Zoohackathon-related site; unauthorized human or non-human intervention in the operation of Zoohackathon, including without limitation, unauthorized tampering, hacking, theft, virus, bugs, or worms; or destruction of any aspect of Zoohackathon, or loss, miscount, misdirection, inaccessibility, or unavailability of an e-mail account used in connection with Zoohackathon..
  • Sponsors bear no responsibility for, and have the right to refuse at their sole and absolute discretion, any submissions that have been altered or tampered with, or are otherwise misdirected, incomplete, non-conforming, corrupt, lost, late, or ineligible, whether due to Internet or e-mail server failure or otherwise. Proof of transmission of a submission will not constitute proof of receipt. .
  • Participants are responsible for keeping their event organizers informed of any changes to their contact or other pertinent information during Zoohackathon.
  • Use of a Zoohackathon-related site is at an individual’s own risk. Sponsors are not responsible for any personal injury, property damage, or losses of any kind which may be sustained to computer equipment resulting from participation in Zoohackathon, use of a Zoohackathon-related site or the downloading of information from such a site..
  • Sponsors are not liable in the event that any portion of Zoohackathon is cancelled or delayed due to weather, fire, strike, acts of war or terrorism, or any other reason.

Submission License and Liability/Publicity Release

I represent and warrant that I have read, understood, and agree to comply with the Rules. I warrant that I will be one of the authors, creators, and owners of the solution that my team, intends to develop in the course of participating in Zoohackathon; that my team will obtain any and all requisite licenses/permissions/consents and releases (collectively, “permissions”) to use any third party material that my team may choose to include in its solution (“solution”) and associated visual presentation aid submission (“submission”); and that any and all such permissions will extend to the same use by Sponsors of any such third party material as may be contained within my team’s submission. I warrant that my team will obtain written consent from any and all individuals whose image or likeness may appear in my team’s submission, or from the parent or legal guardian of any such individual if s/he is considered to be a minor in his/her country of residence.

I agree to grant and hereby grant to Sponsors a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, sub-licensable, and transferable license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute, perform, display, and otherwise use my team’s submission in connection with Zoohackathon in any media formats and through any media channels. Additionally, I agree to grant and hereby grant to Sponsors the right to photograph, film, and otherwise record, by any means, my name, image, likeness, and voice (“my Likeness”) in connection with my participation in Zoohackathon; and to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, and otherwise use any such record or recording containing my Likeness in their public information and promotional programs and activities. I understand that my team’s submission will not be used for commercial purposes.

I agree to indemnify and hold harmless Sponsors, their parent organizations, subsidiaries, and affiliated bureaus, offices, and agencies, as well as their officers, directors, employees, interns, agents, and contractors from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debts, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees) arising from (1) my participation in Zoohackathon; (2) any violation by me of the Rules; (3) any violation by me in connection with Zoohackathon of any third party right, including without limitation any intellectual property, privacy, publicity, or other legal right; (4) any claim that my team’s submission caused any harm, including financial, to any third party; and (5) any breach or alleged breach of any of the representations and warranties made herein. I acknowledge that these indemnification and hold-harmless obligations will survive indefinitely beyond the conclusion of Zoohackathon.

By registering for this competition I hereby confrim that read and understood the contents herein, and have the right and authority to execute this Statement of Eligibility, License, and Release.