The U.S. Department of State (DoS) will award cash to anyone who can figure out the best new way to enforce weapons nonproliferation treaties by using commonly used tools and devices. The DoS announced on Aug. 28 a guaranteed cash pool of $10,000 to be awarded to the best ideas.

The contest narrative says that through crowdsourcing and the small sensors built into personal electronic devices, society could conceivably detect trafficking of weapons of mass destruction and other arms control violations. the rationale is that if smartphones can help detect potholes and flu outbreaks, then why not hidden military activities?

“Can innovation bring about better ways to prevent 'loose nukes' from falling into the hands of terrorists?” a DoS press release reads. “Can smart phone and tablet applications be created for the purpose of aiding on-site inspectors in verifying and monitoring armaments and sensitive materials?”

Dubbed by the state as “Arms Control Transparency Efforts,” the government is looking to citizens to find methods of confirming whether states are complying with international weapons treaties, such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Winners will not be required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights, but they will be required to grant the DoS a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to any information found in their proposal.

Official challenge rules and conditions can be found here.