Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution

Centre launches ‘Dark Patterns Buster Hackathon 2023’ to design & prototype innovative app or software that can detect dark patterns on e-Commerce platforms


Department of Consumer Affairs published draft Guidelines on 07.09.2023 on Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns seeking public comments/feedback until 05.10.2023

New dark patterns suggested to be included in the list of already 10 specified dark patterns are Rogue Malwares, Trick Wording, Saas Billing etc.

Posted On: 26 OCT 2023 5:11PM by PIB Delhi

The Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India in collaboration with IIT (BHU), launched Dark Patterns Buster Hackathon 2023 here today. The deliverables of the Hackathon will be to design & prototype innovative app or software based solutions such as;

  •  browser extensions,
  •  plugins,
  •  add-ons,
  •  mobile applications etc. that can detect the use, type and scale of dark patterns for e-Commerce platforms.

The launch event was attended by law Institutes, Higher Educational Institutes, experts from national and International Academia, students, various companies and e-commerce platforms in both physical and online mode.

While preparing the deliverable the participants are expected to focus on key areas such as; pattern detection accuracy, User-Friendly Extension, Pattern Versioning, Generative AI,  Repository Management, Data Collection with Privacy Protection, Crowd sourced Pattern Identification, Cross-Browser Compatibility, and Artificial Intelligence for Detection and Performance Optimization. The participants will be evaluated on following few of the many criteria; Innovation, Demonstration of the solution as a turn-key solution, User Interface & User Experience, Accuracy & Reliability, Adherence to Functionalities & Features, Privacy & Compliance etc.

The Hackathon is divided into following four stages/rounds:

  • Round 1- Registration of participant Teams and Host Institutes
  • Round 2- Intra Institute DPBH 2023 to be organized
  • Round 3- Inter Institute DPBH 2023 to be organized and
  • Round 4- Distribution of awards and prizes on World Consumer Rights Day
  • The winners will be rewarded with a Certificate of Achievement and the Prize money in the following order; 1st prize of INR 10 lacs, 2nd prize of INR 5 lacs, 3rd prize of INR 3 lacs, 4th prize of INR 2 lacs and 5th price of INR 1 lac respectively.

The objective of the initiative is to provide protection to consumers from all types of unfair trade practices.

In line with the above initiative, Department had published draft Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns on 07.09.2023 seeking public comments/feedback/suggestions. A time of 30 days (until 5th October 2023) was given for submitting the suggestions.

Department received comments/suggestions from various individuals, law firms, National Law Universities, Government Organizations, Voluntary Consumer Organizations, and Trade Associations like NASSCOM, FICCI and E-Commerce Platforms.

The initiative taken by the Department towards drafting of guidelines and identification of dark patterns was appreciated in general by the industry stakeholders. Besides there were various suggestions for including certain new dark patterns, few more illustrations and modification of definitions of few existing dark patterns in the guidelines.

In this regard, the Department has received comments/suggestions. The Department is in the process of examining the suggestions/comments received and final Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns will be notified soon.   

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