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Govt’s hackathon gets innovation solutions to detect dark patterns in e-commerce platforms

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The solutions received span a broad spectrum of technologies and approaches, tailored to address 13 specified dark patterns identified by the Consumer Affairs Ministry

New Delhi: The government has received innovative solutions for detecting dark patterns on the e-commerce platforms in the final round of hackathon and will prove to be a major game changer in regulating other online deceptive practices, according to Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh.

The solutions received span a broad spectrum of technologies and approaches, tailored to address 13 specified dark patterns identified by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, an official statement said.

“Not only do they alert consumers about some specific dark patterns, they also provide solutions to the government by providing real-time data and identifying other types of emerging dark patterns,” the statement said.

These projects are designed to enhance digital transparency, empower users, and foster a safer online environment, directly contributing to the hackathon’s overarching goal of combating dark patterns, the ministry added.

Dark patterns or deceptive practices used to trick consumers into taking unintended actions such as making purchases, amount to misleading advertisement, unfair trade practices or violation of consumer rights, according to an earlier CCPA order. The order listed 13 such dark patterns.

The Consumer Affairs Ministry in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Varanasi had organised the final round of inter-college competition of ‘Dark Patterns Buster Hackathon’ on February 17, in which over 500 students from 50 premier engineering colleges participated.

“The solutions provided by participants will not only assist in detecting dark patterns but will be a major game changer in regulating other online deceptive practices such as fake reviews, online traps, misleading advertisements amongst others,” the secretary said.

He also emphasized the power of artificial intelligence in mitigating dark patterns and encouraged participants to leverage the power of evolving technology while also maintaining the ethical decorum, an official statement said.

The winners will be felicitated on March 15 on the occasion of the World Consumer Rights Day.

Click here to learn more about dark patterns in e-commerce.

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