April 2016 Newsletter
Welcome to the CIS newsletter for April 2016. The key issues we worked on this month included the Aadhaar Act 2016, Standard Essential Patents, cyber security of smart grids, and involvement of international agencies in the smart cities project in India.
Early last year, thanks to the fund raising efforts of a friend of CIS - Suhail Kazi, we received Rs. 1.9 lakhs as donations from 19 individuals. In January this year, we set up an online giving feature on our website which would ease the donation process, but we haven’t got a single donation so far! This could be because many of you may be under a false impression that CIS is very wealthy and does not need more support. Unfortunately, this is no longer true. Today, we are unable to find a single donor who is interested in our Accessibility, Telecom, or RAW programmes. In other words, we need your support. Would you to consider making a small donation to CIS? Click here to donate.
Previous issues of the newsletters can be accessed here: http://cis-india.org/about/newsletters.
CIS in the News
CIS gave inputs to the following media coverage:
- India's biometric database crosses billion-member mark (AFP and Daily Mail, UK; April 4, 2016).
- The Panama Papers and the question of privacy (Big News Network; April 6, 2016). This was originally published by Privacyinternational.org.
- Daunting task ahead for investigative agencies with WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption (Neha Alawadhi; Economic Times; April 8, 2016).
- PMO’s no to smart cards, insists on Aadhaar (Somesh Jha; Hindu; April 10, 2016).
- 2014 showed the power of Twitter, now every Indian politician wants a handle (T.V. Jayan, Smitha Verma,Sonia Sarkar and V. Kumara Swamy; Telegraph; April 10, 2016).
- Why is the UIDAI cracking down on individuals that hoard Aadhaar data? (Alnoor Peermohamed; Business Standard; April 13, 2016).
- You will need a license to create a WhatsApp group in Kashmir (Governance Now; April 19, 2016).
- Will Facebook, Twitter relocate servers to India? (Taru Bhatia; Governance Now; April 23, 2016).
- Government keeps experts out of cyber security discussions (Amrita Madhukalya; DNA; April 23, 2016).
- CCTV plays Sherlock (Raj Shekhar, Arun Dev, V Narayan & A Selvaraj with inputs from Sindhu Kannan and Somreet Bhattacharya; The Times of India; April 24, 2016).
CIS members wrote the following pieces:
- Sunil Abraham wrote an article in the July 15 edition of Frontline arguing that the Aadhaar project’s technological design and architecture is an unmitigated disaster and no amount of legal fixes in the Act will make it any better.
- Amber Sinha wrote an article in The Wire arguing that the Aaddhaar Act is not a money bill, and the Supreme Court may very well question the decision by the Lok Sabha speaker to classify it as such.
- Sumandro Chattapadhyay also wrote on The Wire arguing that "the last chance for a welfare state doesn’t rest in the Aadhaar system."
- Subhashish Panigrahi's article on the 8 challenges that Indian language Wikipedias have to overcome was published by Global Voices. The article had earlier been published in the Wire.
- Elonnai Hickok and Vanya Rakesh co-authored an article on Cyber Security of Smart Grids in India that was published by Dataquest.
- Shyam Ponappa in his monthly column published in the Business Standard tell us that it's time the government accepts that current policies are not enough to bring about Digital India.
Accessibility & Inclusion
India has an estimated 70 million persons with disabilities who don't have access to read printed materials due to some form of physical, sensory, cognitive or other disability. As part of our endeavour to make available accessible content for persons with disabilities, we are developing a text-to-speech software in 15 languages with support from the Hans Foundation. The progress made so far in the project can be accessed here.
►NVDA and eSpeak
Access to Knowledge
Our Access to Knowledge programme currently consists of two projects. The Pervasive Technologies project, conducted under a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), aims to conduct research on the complex interplay between low-cost pervasive technologies and intellectual property, in order to encourage the proliferation and development of such technologies as a social good. The Wikipedia project, which is under a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation, is for the growth of Indic language communities and projects by designing community collaborations and partnerships that recruit and cultivate new editors and explore innovative approaches to building projects.
- Comments on Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Discussion Paper on Standard Essential Patents and their Availability on Frand Terms (Anubha Sinha, Nehaa Chaudhari and Rohini Lakshané; April 23, 2016).
- Responses to the DIPP's Discussion Paper on SEPs and their Availability on FRAND Terms (Anubha Sinha, Nehaa Chaudhari and Rohini Lakshané; April 23, 2016).
Summary of CIS Comments to DIPP’s Discussion Paper on SEPs and their availability on FRAND terms (Anubha Sinha; April 26, 2016).
- Global Congress 2015 - A Collection of Resources (Pervasive Technologies Team; April 1, 2016).
- Compilation of Mobile Phone Patent Litigation Cases in India (Rohini Lakshané; updated on April 15, 2016).
- Joining the Dots in India's Big-Ticket Mobile Phone Patent Litigation (Rohini Lakshané; updated on April 29, 2016).
- MHRD IPR Chair Series: Information Received from Tezpur University (Karan Tripathi; April 26, 2016).
- National IPR Policy Series : Sectoral Innovation Councils on Intellectual Property Rights – RTI Requests + DIPP Responses (Nehaa Chaudhari and Saahil Dama; April 30, 2016). Nisha S. Kumar assisted in compilation of the document.
Participation in Events
- Fifth Annual IP Teaching Workshop (Organised by the Centre for Innovation, Intellectual Property and Competition at National Law University Delhi in association with National Academy of Law Teaching, NLU-D; Delhi; March 31 and April 1, 2016). Nehaa Chaudhari was a speaker.
- First Round-table on Innovation, IP and Competition (Organized by the Centre for Innovation, Intellectual Property & Competition (CIIPC) at the National Law University, Delhi; India Habitat Centre; New Delhi; April 1-2, 2016). Nehaa Chaudhari and Anubha Sinha attended the round-table.
- Brainstorming Workshop on PG Programme on Media Studies for UGC E-Pathshala Programme (Organized by Jamia Milla Islamia; New Delhi; April 5, 2016).
- Sensitization Seminar on IPR for Electronics & ICT Sectors (Organized by Andhra Pradesh Technology Development & Promotion Centre (APTDC) of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in association with Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY); Vishakhapatnam; April 21, 2016).
As part of the project grant from the Wikimedia Foundation we have reached out to more than 3500 people across India by organizing more than 100 outreach events and catalysed the release of encyclopaedic and other content under the Creative Commons (CC-BY-3.0) license in four Indian languages (21 books in Telugu, 13 in Odia, 4 volumes of encyclopaedia in Konkani and 6 volumes in Kannada, and 1 book on Odia language history in English).
- CIS - A2K Work Plan: July 2016 - June 2017 (CIS-A2K Team; April 2, 2016): We have revised the work plan template taking into account the changed proposal plan sent out by WMF and in light of the feedback that we have received from FDC assessment during last proposal application. The FDC feedback is taken into account at the level of design, RoI and ensuring quality for all our activities.
- Eight Challenges Indian-Language Wikipedias Need to Overcome (Subhashish Panigrahi; Global Voices; April 21, 2016). A version of this post was previously published on The Wire.
- Odia gets more space in e-world (Anwesha Ambaly; The Telegraph; April 7, 2016).
- Exercise to Correct articles in Tulu Wikipedia begins (Raviprasad Kamila; The Hindu; April 28, 2016).
- Tulu Wikipedia Editathon to Improve Quality of Articles in Tulu Wikipedia (Shri Ramakrishna PU College; Mangaluru; April 26 - 30, 2016).
- Monitoring Sustainable Development Goals in India: Availability and Openness of Data (Part II) (Kiran A.B.; April 12, 2016).
- Cyber Security of Smart Grids in India (Elonnai Hickok and Vanya Rakesh; April 25, 2016).
- RTI regarding Smart Cities Mission in India (Paul Thottan; April 21, 2016).
- FAQ on the Aadhaar Project and the Bill (Elonnai Hickok, Vanya Rakesh, and Vipul Kharbanda; April 13, 2016).
- Aadhaar Act and its Non-compliance with Data Protection Law in India (Vanya Rakesh; April 14, 2016).
- Can the Matters Dealt with in the Aadhaar Act be the Objects of a Money Bill? (Pooja Saxena; April 24, 2016).
- Will Aadhaar Act Address India’s Dire Need For a Privacy Law? (Nehaa Chaudhari; Quint; March 31, 2016).
- The Last Chance for a Welfare State Doesn’t Rest in the Aadhaar System (Sumandro Chattapadhyay; April 19, 2016).
- The Aadhaar Act is Not a Money Bill (Amber Sinha; April 25, 2016).
Participation in Events
- RightsCon Silicon Valley 2016 (Organized by RightsCon; March 31 and April 1, 2016). Elonnai Hickok attended the event.
- Panel Discussion on UID/ Aadhar act 2016 and its impact on Social, Security (Organized by Students Christian Movement of India at SCM House; Bangalore; April 25, 2016). Sunil Abraham was a panelist.
- The Centre for the Study of Law and Governance (CSLG), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), organised a roundtable discussion on Tuesday, April 26, to discuss the Aadhaar project and Act. Along with Prasanna S, Apar Gupta, and Dr. Chirashree Dasgupta, Sumandro Chattapadhyay was one of the discussants.
- Aadhaar by Numbers (Organized by National Institute of Public Finance and Policy; New Delhi; April 29, 2016). Sunil Abraham was a speaker.
CIS is involved in promoting access and accessibility to telecommunications services and resources, and has provided inputs to ongoing policy discussions and consultation papers published by TRAI. It has prepared reports on unlicensed spectrum and accessibility of mobile phones for persons with disabilities and also works with the USOF to include funding projects for persons with disabilities in its mandate:
- Breakthroughs Needed For Digital India (Shyam Ponappa; Business Standard; April 6, 2016 and Organizing India BlogSpot; April 7, 2016).
Researchers at Work
The Researchers at Work (RAW) programme is an interdisciplinary research initiative driven by an emerging need to understand the reconfigurations of social practices and structures through the Internet and digital media technologies, and vice versa. It aims to produce local and contextual accounts of interactions, negotiations, and resolutions between the Internet, and socio-material and geo-political processes:
- Buying into the Aakash Dream - A Tablet’s Tale of Mass Education (Sumandro Chattapadhyay and Jahnavi Phalkey; Economic & Political Weekly; April 23, 2016).
- Call for Proposal: Big Data for Development – Initial Field Studies (Sumandro Chattapadhyay; April 29, 2016).
The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) is a non-profit organisation that undertakes interdisciplinary research on internet and digital technologies from policy and academic perspectives. The areas of focus include digital accessibility for persons with diverse abilities, access to knowledge, intellectual property rights, openness (including open data, free and open source software, open standards, open access, open educational resources, and open video), internet governance, telecommunication reform, digital privacy, and cyber-security. The academic research at CIS seeks to understand the reconfigurations of social and cultural processes and structures as mediated through the internet and digital media technologies.
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