Cybersecurity Tech Accord announces new contest in partnership with the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs

21st century challenges need 21st century solutions, especially when it comes to creating a safer and a more secure online world. Amidst escalating numbers of sophisticated cyberattacks, it is clear that bringing greater security and stability to cyberspace will require new and different ideas compared to what has worked in other domains of conflict, and collaboration across disciplines.

This is why the Cybersecurity Tech Accord is excited to be partnering with the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) to launch Apps 4 Digital Peace, a first-of-its-kind competition, to stimulate new thinking from innovating young minds across the world (the “Competition”). The goal of the Competition is to develop original technology-based solutions, such as mobile applications, to both help limit the use of the internet as a domain of conflict, and to increase the stability of our online environment.

The Competition is meant to complement the work of the United Nations in promoting an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful cyber environment through

  • addressing existing and potential cyber threats,
  • Ensuring respect for international law in cyberspace,
  • Ensuring respect for human rights in cyberspace,
  • Adherence to voluntary norms, rules and principles,
  • Fostering confidence building, and
  • cybersecurity capacity building.

Submissions will be reviewed by technical and policy experts from the Cybersecurity Tech Accord and UNODA, and finalists will have an opportunity to present their proposals during a dedicated event during High Level week of the United Nations in September 2020.

We hope that this initiative will help bring together young innovators and leaders from the technology and policy communities to address the urgent need to improve cybersecurity and reduce tensions between nations online. While entries will not need to feature final versions of their proposed solutions, we look forward to reviewing proofs of concept and explanations of how proposed technology-based solutions would help stem some of the risks posed by cyber conflict and improve security for real people online.

Finalists for the Competition will be in the running to receive both cash prizes and networking opportunities to help get their ideas off the ground. This will include $15k for first prize, $10k for second, and $5k for third, as well as an opportunity to attend the Cybersecurity Tech Accord’s annual meeting to present the winning submission to some of the world’s leading technology companies committed to improving security online for users everywhere.

The Competition will begin accepting initial submissions in January, however, we encourage those with interest to begin brainstorming now, consulting with friends/colleagues/classmates and building the multidisciplinary teams that will develop a winning submission.


Rules of the Competition

In order to participate, you must agree to these Rules. Therefore, please read these Rules prior to entering. Your entering constitutes agreement to these Rules. These Rules form a binding legal agreement between you and the Cybersecurity Tech Accord with respect to the Competition. The Cybersecurity Tech Accord reserves the right to amend these rules at any time.


Code of conduct

  • Do not expect that everybody will share the same opinion, but be respectful in how you treat disagreements.
  • Do not assume anybody else’s level of expertise or knowledge and do not belittle different experiences.
  • Harassment will not be tolerated. Harassment is any unwelcome or hostile behavior towards another person for any reason. This includes, but is not limited to, offensive verbal comments related to personal characteristics or choices, sexual images or comments, deliberate intimidation, bullying, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of discussion or events, nonconsensual publication of private comments, inappropriate physical contact, or unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Computer “hacking” is unlawful. If you attempt to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Competition by hacking or by cheating or committing fraud in any way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law. Further, we may ban you from participating in any of our future contests, so please play fairly.


Who can participate?

  • The Competition is open to teams consisting of one or more persons who are between the ages of sixteen (16) and thirty-two (32) years old as of July 30, 2020 at 11:59 PM (2359) GMT.
  • Teams should consist of a maximum of 5 people. Each participant should be only be a member of 1 team.
  • It is desirable that teams bring together expertise from multiple disciplines, from international law and politics to cybersecurity and technology.
  • Teams can, and are encouraged to seek advice and support from mentors, sponsors, and others.
  • Each team must be given a name as chosen by its members. Team names must not be connected in any way with the names of companies or registered trademarks, or use expressions that incite violence or are discriminatory, obscene, or represent any form of defamation. Failure to comply will result in disqualification.
  • Competition judges and employees of the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, UNODA, and their respective subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and their immediate families and people living in their households, are not eligible to participate.
  • The Cybersecurity Tech Accord, at its sole discretion, shall determine the eligibility of any individual or entity, and may disqualify any participant at any time for any reason. In the event of a conflict or a potential conflict between Competition submissions, the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, in its sole discretion, may choose to reject or disqualify one or more Competition submissions.



The submissions should include innovative solutions that aim to increase online stability and reduce the occurrence of the malicious use of cyberspace. The submissions should include a technical element, whether that be a mobile app, hardware product, code, or others.

  • Addressing existing and potential cyber threats,
  • Ensuring respect for international law in cyberspace,
  • Ensuring respect for human rights in cyberspace,
  • Adherence to voluntary norms, rules and principles,
  • Fostering confidence building, and
  • cybersecurity capacity building.



  • Teams and individuals wishing to sign up for the competition please send an email to [email protected]. Information should include details of individual team members and topic of submission.
  • Submission implies that the teams and the individual team members grant consent for the handling of their personal data for the purpose of the competition.
  • Registering for the competition is free of charge and does not require a purchase.
  • Final deadline for registration is 30 April 2020.



  • Participants may request any clarification on the competition up to 5 working days before the deadline of the submission by sending an email to [email protected].
  • The Cybersecurity Tech Accord reserves the right to publish all inquiries and responses on the Competition’s website.



  • Upon registering, participants will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to submit final submissions. Final submissions, including an overview of the project, a short pitch, in either video or essay form, are due 30 July 2020.
  • Limit: ONE (1) SUBMISSION PER TEAM/PARTICIPANT: Subsequent submissions by the same participant or team email address will be disqualified. In the event two or more submissions/ideas are substantially similar, only the first one entered will be considered.
  • Submissions may not contain advertisements, commercial endorsements, or any material that is indecent, obscene, hateful, discriminatory, slanderous, libelous, unlawful or otherwise inappropriate as determined by the Cybersecurity Tech Accord in its sole discretion. Any inappropriate submissions or material may be disqualified by the Cybersecurity Tech Accord in its sole discretion.
  • The Cybersecurity Tech Accord and the UNODA accepts no responsibility for Competition submissions that are either lost, delayed, corrupted, damaged, defaced, misdirected or mislaid, howsoever caused.



  • Teams with the best entries will be notified on or about 1 August 2020 and invited to present to a panel of judges during the United Nations High Level week (September 2020 in New York).
  • They will ask to deliver a short pitch – 15 minutes, highlighting the work done, the evolution of thinking in the development of the submission, and its potential impact on the work of the United nations in this space.
  • Within seven (7) business days following the conclusion of the United Nations High Level week, the top three (3) finalists (the “Finalists”) will be announced publicly. The Finalists will receive mentoring from Cybersecurity Tech Accord signatory companies, and an invitation to present again at the Cybersecurity Tech Accord annual event at RSA conference in San Francisco. In addition, they will be awarded monetary prizes:
  • $15,000 first prize
  • $10,000 second prize
  • $5,000 third prize.
  • Fewer than three Competition submissions may receive awards or be recognized at any designated level if an insufficient number of qualified submissions are received, as determined by the judges in their discretion.
  • Each of the recipients of rewards are solely responsible for the payment of any taxes that may arise as a result of the acceptance of any award.
  • If there is a dispute as to who is the actual winner, we will consider the winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Competition.
  • If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award the prize to an alternate winner.
  • To be declared a winner, the Finalists, and each team participant, may be required to sign a declaration and release to: (a) confirm compliance with the official rules; (b) release the Cybersecurity Tech Accord and UNODA from all liability; (c) accept the prize as awarded; and (d) consent to the use of winner’s name, city and/or province of residence, photograph, voice, image, likeness, biographical information and information about the prize, for any publicity or programming purposes, commercial or otherwise, throughout the world in any and all media used by the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, the UNODA, the Competition, and their advertising and promotional agencies in connection with the Competition, without payment or compensation
  • The Cybersecurity Tech Accord reserves the right in its sole discretion to cancel or suspend the Competition should causes beyond the control of the Competition organizers corrupt the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Competition (such as tampering or infection by computer virus, fraud, technical failures, printing or distribution errors, or any other causes or occurrences have compromised the fairness or integrity of the Competition)


Judging Criteria

  • Judges will be made up of senior representatives of Cybersecurity Tech Accord signatory companies, as well as United Nations personnel.
  • Teams will be judged on 3 criteria, which should be considered when developing the solution:
    • Innovative use of technology
    • Design and user experience
    • Impact on real world problems
  • Judges will weigh the criteria equally. These criteria will guide judges but ultimately judges are free to make decisions based on which projects they believe are most deserving.
  • Teams can be disqualified from the competition at the organizers’ discretion.
  • The decisions of the judges will be final in all instances.


Intellectual property and copyright

  • As a condition of entering into the Competition, the Competition participant agree that all intellectual property rights (including copyright, patent and other rights) in the Competition participant’s submission shall be owned by the Competition participant. The Competition participant’s involvement in the Competition shall not limit the rights with respect to the Competition participant’s submission or other material provided by the Competition participant that the Competition organizers, judge’s and representatives assisting in the Competition may have as a member of the general public.
  • In case teams use pre-existing material (such as open source) for their applications, they must guarantee that they have obtained all the necessary authorizations in order for such material to be used.
  • The project description (short description of the idea) submitted for the preselection will remain the property of the Competition participants and will not be made public (or disclosed), but will be accessible to the Competition judges and organizers.
  • The final proposals submitted for the final selection will remain the property of the Competition participants, but will be accessible to the Competition judges, organizers and all teams at the final conference.



  • The Cybersecurity Tech Accord privacy policy will apply to this Competition and to all information that we receive from your entry. Please read the Cybersecurity Tech Accord privacy policy before accepting the official rules and submitting your entry. Please note that by accepting the official rules you are also accepting the terms of the privacy policy.
  • The Competition organizers will not share your name, profile photo, email address, contact number or any other personal information we may collect from you with any third party that is not related to the Competition or its organizers. The information that we collect from you during the Competition is used for Competition purposes only. The only thing we reserve the right to share is the content of your submission. Your personal details will only be used for notifying and assessing winners, arranging prize collections and marketing winners in online and offline media.



  • In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of these rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Competition-related materials, including but not limited to the Competition’s television, print or online advertising, the terms and conditions of these rules shall prevail, govern and control.
  • No correspondence will be entered into regarding either this Competition or these Rules. The Cybersecurity Tech Accord reserves the right to amend, modify, cancel or withdraw this Competition at any time but only before the delivery of the prize(s), without notice.
  • Participants in this Competition agree that the Cybersecurity Tech Accord and UNODA will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, costs, damage, disappointment or losses of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in the Competition.
  • This Competition will be governed by the laws of the United States, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the United States for any disputes arising out of this Competition.