Hackers to help find new leads in missing person cases

The Federal Police are today calling on hackers to help find new leads in missing persons cases.

More than 300 hackers and investigators from around Australia will today use their skills to try find people who have gone missing, as part of Australian Cyber Week 2019.

The National Missing Persons Hackathon is the first of its kind in Australia, and will see participants use open source intelligence in an attempt to shed new light on 12 missing person cases from the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre.


More than 38,000 people go missing every year in Australia, and while most are located quickly, around 2,600 are still missing after three months.

The Hackathon will take place over six hours in all capital cities today, as well as the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Similar events have been held in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and have led to missing persons’ cases being solved.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews says it’s just another example of how technology can help people.

“You can only imagine the great heartache when a loved one goes missing. Family and friends are often haunted by the experience for life. They never stop looking and trying to find answers.

“This event is a great opportunity to use online investigative techniques and hacking skills in creative and socially useful ways.

“Cyber security is fundamental to our national governance and to business certainty, but it’s also an important tool for our prosperity and way of life,” Minister Andrews said.