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US State Dept. Sponsors International Game Of Tag With Cash Prize | Arts & Culture

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US State Dept. Sponsors International Game Of Tag With Cash Prize
US State Dept. Sponsors International Game Of Tag With Cash Prize

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 2012 Tag Challenge calls on technology enthusiasts from several nations to set their sleuthing skills loose on a mock gang of jewel thieves in an international search contest to take place Saturday, March 31.

The social gaming contest will have participants use technological and social resources to locate and photograph five “suspects” in five different cities—Washington, D.C., New York City, London, Stockholm, and Bratislava—based only on a picture and a short description of each one.

The first person to upload pictures of all five suspects to the Tag Challenge website will earn international bragging rights—and a cash prize of $5,000.

The contest, organized by graduate students from six different countries and sponsored by the US Department of State, the US Embassy in Prague, and the Institute of International Education, is part of an ongoing assessment of the value of social networks as tools for international cooperation and public safety.

“It has become increasingly obvious over the past few years that open source information, especially in an age of social networking, can be at least as valuable as classified information,” said Marion Bowman, formerly a Deputy Director in the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy.

“This exercise demonstrates the globalization of open source,” he continued.

A similar feeling was echoed by Gary Anderson, who served as the first Director of the Marine Corps' Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities and then directed the National Center for Unconventional Thought at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

"This experiment could give us new insights on tracking terrorists and finding missing children,” Anderson said. “It is ‘out of the box’ thinking at its best."

Since the advent of social networks, various branches of the US government have launched similar initiatives to research their utility in the public sector.

Most notably, the 2009 DARPA Network Challenge awarded $40,000 to a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for being the first to send in the coordinates of ten red weather balloons stationed across the United States.

For more information about the details and rules of the Tag Challenge, visit the official website, www.tag-challenge.com, or email tagchallenge@gmail.com.

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