Latest Posts

Do I need a lawyer to hack in DC?

by Josh Tauberer | posted September 16, 2014

New city data catalogs are coming online all the time, but what many civic hackers may not have noticed is that we’re often agreeing to complex legal conditions every time we make use of the datasets in these catalogs.

As a result of these restrictions, DC’s open data isn’t truly open, but rather open only as long as the government approves of its use. The specter of a lawsuit hanging over the heads of civic hackers has a chilling effect on the creation of projects to benefit the public, even though they make use of public data released for that express purpose. How does this happen? Through terms of service, terms of use, and copyright law.

Prohibiting a lawsuit

DC’s new data catalog at, which launched in August, requires civic hackers to agree to the District's three-page terms and conditions of use before using any public data....

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The second TechLady Hackathon was tremendous

by Shannon Turner | posted July 28, 2014

On Saturday morning, over 150 women came together for the second Tech Lady Hackathon and training day organized by Leah Bannon. All day, DC-area women in tech were learning, doing, and learning by doing, in a supportive, women-only environment.

The morning kicked off with announcements from project organizers recruiting others to join their teams and work together throughout the day.

Gender Checker led by Mel Kramer and Sara Carothers, which analyzes news articles to determine the gender ratio of who's being quoted.


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Code for DC goes to Open Data Day

by Leah Libresco | posted February 20, 2014

This weekend is Open Data Day DC! Hackers, statisticians, writers, and other collaborators will be gathering at the World Bank on February 22nd and 23rd to learn about open data and use it to build visualizations, apps, and other resources.

A number of Code for DCers will be in attendance with their projects and need your help! We asked a few of them to talk about how open data makes their work possible.

Open Schools uses open data to help DC parents make better decisions about their children's schooling. Their app for sorting schools depends on data provided by the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE), which provides data about public and charter school test scores, demographics, commutes, and more.

At Open Data Day they'll be pouring through some new datasets about to be released by OSSE. They would love to have...

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100+ Women Attend DC TechLady Hackathon + Training Day

by Sarah Rigdon | posted December 12, 2013

On Saturday, over 100 women attended the TechLady Hackathon + Training Day, an all-day learning event and the first women-only hackathon in DC. Code for DC champion Leah Bannon kicked off the program by explaining to the group why she’d organized it: “I go to a lot of hackathons and I’ve really benefited from them.. but I’m always one of only a few women there.”

The idea for this event was to gather women in a supportive environment for an introduction to a variety of tech skills and to recruit them to attend more DC tech events and hackathons.

After introductions, the classes quickly filled while hackers started working on a range of projects: the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Open Data Project, data visualizations for the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index, Code for DC’s ANC Brigade, continuing art games created at...

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by Matt Bailey | posted December 12, 2013

Welcome! This is a space for Code for DC participants to share updates on our projects and thoughts about the community, city government, and technology generally. If you'd like to contribute, please get in touch with Matt Bailey (@mattbailey0 or

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