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AUSTRAC hosting ASEAN-Australia Codeathon to find innovative digital solutions for fighting terrorism financing

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Australia’s financial intelligence agency, is hosting the inaugural ASEAN-Australia Codeathon in Sydney from 14 to 16 March 2018 seeking innovative digital solutions to fight terrorism financing.

Rapid integration in the region has created the need for greater cooperation to deal with increasingly complex challenges like terrorism. Deep transnational links between terrorist groups in different geographical locations necessitates enhanced cooperation and information sharing between countries. The Codeathon has been described as one tangible way that Australia and its ASEAN partners can share challenges and resolve joint issues in innovative ways.

This event, being held in the run-up to the March 2018 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, builds on the strong regional partnerships between financial intelligence units (FIUs) and industry, bringing together technology and innovation specialists to tackle regional challenges in the fight against terrorism. Subject-matter experts in CTF (counter-terrorism financing), financial institutions, software developers, programmers, analysts, designers, engineers and other skilled individuals from FIUs, and FinTech and RegTech communities, from ASEAN as well as Australia, are expected to participate. AUSTRAC is encouraging them to register by February 2, 2018.

In November 2017, Bank Negara Malaysia and AUSTRAC hosted the first International FIU Codeathon at the Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 2017 CTF Summit winning team created a program that provided cryptocurrency users and platforms with an artificial intelligence-enabled service to red-flag blockchain addresses that have been directly involved in, or linked to, suspicious activity.

AUSTRAC CEO, Nicole Rose PSM, said, “We saw great success with the first Codeathon event of this kind held in Kuala Lumpur in November 2017, and are looking forward to seeing similar outcomes from Sydney”.

“Countering terrorism financing is a challenge that crosses regional borders, technical expertise and business sectors. A collaborative approach to national security innovation is required to disrupt and dismantle all means of terrorism financing in our region,” she added.

The Codeathon contributes to innovation in national security and is very closely tied to the Prime Minister’s counter-terrorism (CT) agenda for Australia and ASEAN. It draws on the alliances between public and private partnerships and leverages them to deliver CT outcomes.

At the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, senior officials will convene at a dedicated CT Conference to discuss how Australia and its ASEAN partners can work together more effectively to combat this shared and rapidly evolving threat.

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