Oblivious Seeking Applications from Ireland for UN PET Lab’s First Global Hackathon

Dublin, Ireland, 20 October 2022, Oblivious, an Irish privacy data start-up, today announced that it is seeking applications from Ireland for the UN PET Lab’s first global 3-day hackathon which will run from 8th to 11th November.

Further details and to register available via

The UN PET (Privacy Enhancing Technologies) Lab was launched earlier this year at the Dubai EXPO 2020 by the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics. The UN PET Lab brings together national statistics bureaus, researchers and PET providers, such as Oblivious, to work through the challenges in safely utilising the world’s most important information.

PETs help data providers and data users to safely share information by using encryption and protocols that allow someone to produce useful output data without “seeing” the input data. They also typically ensure that data will be protected throughout its lifecycle, and that outputs cannot be used to ‘reverse engineer’ the original data. 

The purpose of this first-of-its-kind 3-day PETs Data Science Hackathon is for participants to learn more about privacy enhancing technologies and popular frameworks, and to propose potential solutions to balance the utility/privacy tradeoff, a major challenge for the next generation of data scientists.

Oblivious has developed pioneering PETs to help organisations keep sensitive data safe while creating insight opportunities for the data owners. The NovaUCD-headquartered company was co-founded in 2020 by Robert Pisarczyk and Jack Fitzsimons.

Jack Fitzsimons, co-founder, Oblivious said, “Oblivious is delighted to be part of the team organising this first of its kind 3-day hackathon which is open to everyone and is absolutely free to enter.”

“As an Irish start-up we are especially encouraging participants from Ireland to register to attend. Students, mentors, industry professionals, or anyone passionate about enhancing PETs and using data for good are all welcome to take part, grow networks and collectively foster ideas about privacy technology. Participants are welcome to compete remotely, but there is financial support for small, on-site events all over the world, with locations confirmed so far in Boston, Toronto and Zürich.”

Robert Pisarcyzk, CEO, Oblivious added, “This Hackathon differs from the typical Kaggle or DrivenData competitions because it focuses on the use of PETs to access and learn from the data. Over the course of the Hackathon, participants will interact with secure enclaves, differential privacy and synthetic data and become familiar with some of the leading privacy data science libraries like OpenDP (Harvard), SmartNoise (Microsoft) and DiffPrivLib (IBM Research).”

At the end of the Hackathon the participating teams’ scores will be calculated by the core developers of the PET Frameworks and the winning team will be flown to the next major UN Conference to present their approach and learnings, with the top few teams winning swag and electronic gadgets.

Oblivious is partnering with OpenMined, OpenDP, IBM Research and Microsoft to organise the Hackathon.