August 2011 Bulletin
Greetings from the Centre for Internet and Society! In this issue we are pleased to present you the latest updates about our research, upcoming events, and news and media coverage:
RAW is a multidisciplinary research initiative. To build original research knowledge base, the RAW programme has been collaborating with different organisations and individuals to focus on its three year thematic of Histories of the Internets in India. Five monographs: Re: Wiring Bodies by Asha Achuthan, Archive and Access by Aparna Balachandran and Rochelle Pinto, Porn: Law, Video, Technology by Namita Malhotra, The Last Cultural Mile by Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Internet, Society and Space in Indian Cities by Pratyush Shankar were officially launched at the Locating Internets: Histories of the Internet(s) in India — Research Training and Curriculum Workshop in Ahmedabad.
Workshop organised in CEPT, Ahmedabad
- Locating Internets: Histories of the Internet(s) in India — Research Training and Curriculum Workshop: Call for Participation [19 to 22 August 2011]
Digital Natives with a Cause?
Digital Natives with a Cause? is a knowledge programme initiated by CIS and Hivos, Netherlands. It is a research inquiry that seeks to look at the changing landscape of social change and political participation and the role that young people play through digital and Internet technologies, in emerging information societies. Consolidating knowledge from Asia, Africa and Latin America, it builds a global network of knowledge partners who want to critically engage with the dominant discourse on youth, technology and social change, in order to look at the alternative practices and ideas in the Global South. It also aims at building new ecologies that amplify and augment the interventions and actions of the digitally young as they shape our futures.
- Between the Stirrup and the Ground: Relocating Digital Activism (This paper by Nishant Shah and Fieke Jansen was published in Democracy & Society, a publication of the Center for Democracy and Civil Society, Volume 8, Issue 2, Summer 2011).
Estimates of the percentage of the world's population that is disabled vary considerably. But what is certain is that if we count functional disability, then a large proportion of the world's population is disabled in one way or another. At CIS we work to ensure that the digital technologies, which empower disabled people and provide them with independence, are allowed to do so in practice and by the law. To this end, we support web accessibility guidelines, and change in copyright laws that currently disempower the persons with disabilities.
- An Interview with David Baines (Maureen Agena interviewed David Baines of Mada Centre for Assistive Technology in Khattar).
Access to Knowledge
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CIS believes that innovation and creativity should be fostered through openness and collaboration and is committed towards promotion of open standards, open access, and free/libre/open source software.
- Call for Comments on Draft Report on Open Government Data in India (v2) (Nisha Thompson has updated the Open Government Data Report prepared by CIS last year including additional case studies and the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy).
- Open Access to Scholarly Literature in India: A Status Report: Call for Comments (The report has been prepared by Prof. Subbiah Arunachalam and Madhan Muthu. It surveys the field of scholarly and scientific publication in India and provides a detailed history of the open access movement in India).
Although there may not be one centralized authority that rules the Internet, the Internet does not just run by its own volition: for it to operate in a stable and reliable manner, there needs to be in place infrastructure, a functional domain name system, ways to curtail cyber crime across borders, etc. The Tunis Agenda of the second World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), paragraph 34 defined Internet governance as “the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.” Its latest endeavour has resulted into these:
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- Bye Bye email? (Email might be the default method of communication for most of us, but could it be going the telegram way, writes Nishant Shah. The article was published in the Indian Express on August 21, 2011).
- The Mirror in the Enigma: How Germany lost World War II to a Mathematical Theorem (Rohit Gupta gave a lecture at CIS on August 12, 2011).
CIS is doing a project, ‘Privacy in Asia’. It is funded by Privacy International (PI), UK and the International Development Research Centre, Canada and is being administered in collaboration with the Society and Action Group, Gurgaon. The two-year project commenced on 24 March 2010 and will be completed as agreed to by the stakeholders. It was set up with the objective of raising awareness, sparking civil action and promoting democratic dialogue around challenges and violations of privacy in India. In furtherance of these goals it aims to draft and promote over-arching privacy legislation in India by drawing upon legal and academic resources and consultations with the public.
- IP Addresses and Expeditious Disclosure of Identity in India (Prashant Iyengar reviews the statutory mechanism regulating the retention and disclosure of IP addresses by Internet companies in India and provides a compilation of anecdotes on how law enforcement authorities in India have used IP address information to trace individuals responsible for particular crimes).
New Blog Entries
- Whole Body Imaging and Privacy Concerns that Follow (by Elonnai Hickok)
- Financial Inclusion and the UID (by Elonnai Hickok)
- CCTV in Universities (by Merlin Oommen)
- Re-thinking Key Escrow (by Natasha Vaz)
- Privacy Matters, Chennai – the event was organised by IDRC, Society in Action Group, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Consumer and Civic Action Group, Privacy India and CIS on August 6, 2011.
News & Media Coverage
- Net Gain [The Telegraph, 24 August 2011]
- IISc students boycott UID, don’t want Big Brother to keep watch [Bangalore Mirror, 23 August 2011]
- In the Right Circle [Indian Express, 24 July 2011]
- The Siege of Android: How Google Lost The OS War [Business.in, 17 August 2011]
- The Unsocial Network [Mail Today, 14 August 2011]
- Hazare 'clicks' with city techies [India, 18 August 2011]
- Govt wants to monitor Facebook, Twitter [Times of India, 8 August 2011]
- Nothing unique about this identity [Deccan Chronicle, 5 August 2011]
- Tired of tele-marketing calls? Act on privacy right: Experts [Times of India, 7 August 2011]
- When Knowledge Isn’t Written, Does It Still Count? [New York Times, 7 August 2011]
- Indian super-cops now patrol the www highway [Hindustan Times, 6 August 2011]
- Better Understanding of the Idea of Privacy Sought [Hindu, 7 August 2011]
- Converting Indian Slacktivists Takes (Offline) Time [Wall Street Journal, 2 August 2011]
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CIS is grateful to Kusuma Trust which was founded by Anurag Dikshit and Soma Pujari, philanthropists of Indian origin, for its core funding and support for most of its projects.