Hacking COVID: Hackers helping the government
2022-07-24, 14:00–14:50, Abacus 🧮

During the COVID19-pandemic the Netherlands turned to hackers to help them make digital solutions to fight the pandemic. Why was it? What does this do to a government body like ministry? What does this mean for privacy, security and the tech choices that are made?

In 2020, when the pandemic started, scientists suggested to also digitally support fighting the pandemic. One of the suggestions was digitally supported contact tracing. After first asking the market for solutions the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport decided to self build open, privacy friendly, secure and accessible solutions with help of a large open source community.

When vaccinations became available and timeframes for building solutions were near impossible the next step was clear: get hackers involved. This isn’t just to stick to the values, but also to create solutions in ways that aren’t always common for governments. How do you hack processes and rules to create what some ministries called magic?

This talk will tell the inside hacker tale of the pandemic and show the dilemmas that were overcome. This is a story of hackers in a ministry at the heat of the moment.

Brenno de Winter, 1971, is a Dutch hacker and community member, former journalist, harbour master, cat owner (and lover). He first programmed at the age of five or six and the initiator of the Kwetsbaarheden Analyse Tool (KAT) - the project.

This speaker also appears in:

Ron Roozendaal is director of Information Policy and CIO of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. He is responsible for Information Policy in the health care sector (e.g. big data, cybersecurity, cybersecurity, identification and authentication and interoperability), the functioning of the Dutch Healthcare Information Council and quality assurance as to the aspect of information and ICT in the activities of the Ministry. Furthermore, he is also the director of the Programme Directorate tasked with the development of digital solutions to address the COVID-19 pandemic, e.g. national notification app (CoronaMelder) and the test and vaccination certificate app.