December 2012 Bulletin
We at the Centre for Internet & Society wish you all a great year ahead. In the December 2012 newsletter, we bring you the draft early chapters of our “National Resource Kit” project for persons with disabilities (covering four southern states); and accessibility-related comments on the Twelfth Five Year Plan; the draft research on pervasive technologies and access to knowledge that we presented at the Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest in Brazil; our comments on the privacy implications of including RFID tags in the proposed Rule 138A of the Motor Vehicle Rules, a report on the open access lectures delivered by Prof. Leslie Chan during his tour of India, reports of Wikipedia-related workshops conducted across three cities, and news and media coverage.
CIS is seeking applications for the posts of Programme Officer (Access to Knowledge — Indic Language Initiatives), Developer (NVDA Project), Research Manager (Digital Humanities project), and Policy Associate (Access to Knowledge and Openness) and Policy Associate (Internet Governance). To apply send your resume to [email protected] and [email protected].
India has an estimated 70 million disabled persons who are unable to read printed materials due to some form of physical, sensory, cognitive or other disability. The disabled need accessible content, devices and interfaces facilitated via copyright law and electronic accessibility policies:
National Resource Kit for Persons with Disabilities
CIS received a grant of INR 54,83,200 from the Hans Foundation for Creating a National Kit of Laws, Policies and Programs for Persons with Disabilities on August 16, 2012. Anandhi Vishwanathan from CIS and Shruti Ramakrishnan from the Centre for Law and Policy Research are the researchers presently working for this project. Early draft chapters have been published. Feedback and comments are invited from the readers:
- The Tamil Nadu Chapter (by Shruti Ramakrishnan, December 30, 2012).
- The Karnataka Chapter (by Shruti Ramakrishnan, December 30, 2012).
- The Kerala Chapter (by Anandi Vishwanathan, December 31, 2012).
- The Andhra Chapter (by Anandi Vishwanathan, December 31, 2012).
- Comments and Feedback on the Draft Twelfth Five Year Plan with respect to Persons with Disabilities (by Rahul Cherian, December 28, 2012).
- WIPO To Negotiate Treaty For The Blind In June; ‘Still Some Distance To Travel’ (by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch, December 18, 2012).
- Disability groups in India welcome progress on treaty for blind persons (by Madhavi Rajadhyaksha, December 20, 2012).
- WIPO to Convene a Diplomatic Conference in Morocco to Finalise TVI (by Rahul Cherian, December 24, 2012).
The Access to Knowledge programme addresses the harms caused to consumers, developing countries, human rights, and creativity/innovation from excessive regimes of copyright, patents, and other such monopolistic rights over knowledge:
- 2012 Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest (FGV Law School, Rio de Janeiro, December 15 – 17, 2012). The Second Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest was organized by Fundação Getulio Vargas, American University Washington College of Law, Columbia University, Open AIR, and ICSTD. Sunil Abraham and Pranesh Prakash participated in the event. Pranesh was one of the moderators in the Roundtable Discussion on Priority Policy Forums, Research and Analysis Needs and Commitments.
Research for the Global Congress
- For the 2012 Global Congress on Intellectual Property and Public Interest event, CIS conducted research. Jadine Lannon (based on research by Annapoornima and Rohan George and with help from Yogesh Kumar did research on documentation of phones and their patent, Amba Kak did research on copyright and mobile licensing, Vikrant Vasudev conducted research on patent pools and valuation methods, Hans Varghese Mathews did research on mathematical models of patent pools and Nehaa Chaudhuri did research on analysis of 3Gand 4G patent pools.
The 'Openness' programme critically examines alternatives to existing regimes of intellectual property rights, and transparency and accountability. Under this programme, we study Open Government Data, Open Access to Scholarly Literature, Open Access to Law, Open Content, Open Standards, and Free/Libre/Open Source Software:
- Random Hacks of Kindness Global December 2012 — A Report (by Yogesh Londhe, December 10, 2012). Event was hosted at CIS office in Bangalore. CIS, Amnesty International India Office, Greenpeace India Office, HasGeek, Yahoo Research & Development and SimpleTechLife sponsored the event held in CIS office in Bangalore on December 1 and 2, 2012.
- ‘Information & Networks’ Partners’ Meeting (organised by International Development Research Centre, Canada in Rio de Janeiro, December 11 – 12, 2013). Sunil Abraham spoke in session on Open Business and IP.
- Open Access Champion Leslie Chan Delivers Five Talks in India (Department of Library & Information Science, University of Kerala, National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science & Technology, CSIR, Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management – Kerala, Manasa Media Centre, Mysore University Library and SDM Institute for Management Development, December 17 – 20, 2012).
Access to Knowledge (Wikipedia Project)
Beginning from September 1, 2012, Wikimedia Foundation has awarded CIS a two-year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop free knowledge in India. The A2K team consists of three members based in Delhi: Nitika Tandon, Subhashish Panigrahi and Noopur Raval.
- Wikipedia Workshop at NMAIT (NMAIT, Karkala Taluk, December 21, 2012, co-organised in association with Metawings Institute).
- Wikipedia Workshop at SRM (SRM University, Chennai, December 17, 2012, co-organised in association with Metawings Institute).
- Marathi Wiki Workshop at TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, December 8, 2012).
- Non Unicode ISCII Text Can be Converted to Unicode Now! (by Subhashish Panigrahi, December 19, 2012).
- New Avenues: Media Wiki Groups (by Noopur Raval, December 28, 2012).
News / Media Coverage
- A Report of Odia Wikipedia Workshop at IIT, Kharagpur (Samaja, Odia daily, Kolkata edition, December 3, 2012).
- Wikipedia: State of Tech — A Talk by Erik Moeller (CIS, Bangalore, November 12, 2012). Erik Moeller, Vice President of Engineering and Product Development at the Wikimedia Foundation gave a talk.
- Art in the Open Source Age — A Talk by Gene Kogan (CIS, Bangalore, November 30, 2012). Gene Kogan, a programmer and digital artist gave a talk.
HasGeek creates discussion spaces for geeks and has organised conferences like the Fifth Elephant, Droidcon India 2011, Android Camp, etc. HasGeek is supported by CIS and works out from CIS office in Bengaluru.
- Meta Refresh (MLR Convention Centre, JP Nagar, Bangalore, February 22 and 23, 2013).
The Internet Governance programme conducts research around the various social, technical, and political underpinnings of global and national Internet governance, and includes online privacy, freedom of speech, and Internet governance mechanisms and processes:
Analysis of Central Motor Vehicle Rules
- Comments on the Proposed Rule 138A of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 Concerning Radio Frequency Identification Tags (by Bhairav Acharya, December 3, 2012).
- Online Censorship: How Government should Approach Regulation of Speech (by Sunil Abraham, Economic Times, December 5, 2012).
- The Worldwide Web of Concerns (by Pranesh Prakash, Deccan Chronicle, and Asian Age, December 10, 2012).
- The Trouble with Hurried Solutions (by Chinmayi Arun, The Hindu, December 15, 2012).
- Tomorrow, Today (Nishant Shah, The Indian Express, December 29, 2012).
- Meeting of the Network of Internet & Society Centers (organised by Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet & Society, Center for Technology & Society, KEIO University SFC, the MIT Media Lab, the MIT Center for Civic Media, NEXA Center for Internet & Society and CIS, Cambridge, Massachusetts, December 6 – 8, 2012).
- DML Conference 2013 (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers - Chicago, Illinois, March 14 – 16, 2012).
- Second International e-Governance Conference (organized by the National Committee for Corporate Governance Electronic Iraq and the United Nations Development Programme, Rashid Hotel, Baghdad, December 2, 2012). Sunil Abraham presented on "Review of the Legal Environment in Iraq for Effective e-Governance".
- Seminar/Artist Talks : "Outresourcing" with the Transmediale Collective (organised by the Berlin - Transmediale new media collective, December 3, 2012, Bangalore). Sharath Chandra Ram presented a White Paper.
- World Conference on International Telecommunications (organised by ITU, December 3 – 14). Chinmayi Arun participated as a civil society representative.
- Internet Driven Developments: Structural Changes and Tipping Points (organised by Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Cambridge, Massachusetts at Harvard University, December 6 – 8, 2012).
- Annual Conference on Human Rights 2012 (organised by Estonian Institute of Human Rights and Google). Malavika Jayaram participated as a panelist.
- State Surveillance and Human Rights Camp (Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort, Rio, Brazil, December 13 and 14, 2012). Elonnai Hickok made a presentation on MLATS and International Cooperation for Law Enforcement Purposes.
- Economic Impact of Internet in India (organised by Aspen Institute India, December 21, 2012). Chinmayi Arun attended this event.
- Transcripts from WCIT-12 (by Snehashish Ghosh, December 3, 2012).
- Section 66-A, Information Technology Act, 2000: Cases (by Snehashish Ghosh, December 3, 2012).
- Internet-driven Developments — Structural Changes and Tipping Points (by Elonnai Hickok, December 28, 2012).
- State Surveillance and Human Rights Camp: Summary (by Elonnai Hickok, December 31, 2012).
- Mining the Web Collective (by Sharath Chandra Ram, December 31, 2012).
- Technology Culture and Events in South East Asia — A Presentation by Preetam Rai (CIS, Bangalore, December 18, 2012). Preetam Rai gave a lecture.
- 66A ‘cut & paste job’ (by GS Mudur, Telegraph, December 3, 2012). Pranesh Prakash and Snehashish Ghosh are quoted.
- Ayodhya trending on Twitter sparks censorship concerns (by Surabhi Agarwal, December 6, 2012). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Debate on Section 66A rages on (Vasudha Venugopal, The Hindu, December 10, 2012). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- Hacktivists deface BSNL website (by Kim Arora, The Times of India, December 13, 2012).
- Govt likely to issue guidelines to clarify IT rules soon (by Surabhi Agarwal, LiveMint, December 16, 2012).
- The freedom of expression debate: The State must mend fences with The Web (by Rahul Jayaram, India Today, December 18, 2012).
- ‘The IT Act is fine, but its interpretation is not’ (DNA, December 19, 2012).
- No fear of losing internet freedom till Jan 15: Experts (by Kim Arora, The Times of India, December 22, 2012). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- UN agrees to review agencies governing Internet (by Surabhi Agarwal, LiveMint, December 27, 2012). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- Delhi gang rape: What Facebook, Twitter expose about govt (The Times of India, December 31, 2012). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- A note of dissent on cash transfers and UID (The Hindu, December 31, 2012). Sunil Abraham was one of the signatories.
- The year social media came of age in India (by Javed Anwer and Rukmini Shrinivasan, The Times of India, December 31, 2012). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
While the potential for growth and returns exist for telecommunications in India, a range of issues need to be addressed. One aspect is more extensive rural coverage and the other is a countrywide access to broadband which is low. Both require effective and efficient use of networks and resources, including spectrum:
- Inflation Control Through Structural Reforms (by Shyam Ponappa, Business Standard, December 11, 2012).
Building Knowledge and Capacity around Telecommunication Policy in India
Ford Foundation has given a grant of USD 2,00,000 to CIS to build expertise in the area of telecommunications in India. The knowledge repository deals with these modules: Introduction to Telecommunications, Telecommunications Infrastructure and Technologies, Government of India Regulatory Framework for Telecom, Telecommunication and the Market, Universal Access and Accessibility, The International Telecommunications Union and other international bodies, Broadcasting, Emerging Topics and Way Forward. Dr. Surendra Pal, Satya N Gupta, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Payal Malik, Dr. Rakesh Mehrotra and Dr. Nadeem Akhtar are the expert reviewers.
The following are the new outputs:
- Licensing Framework for Telecom: A Historical Overview (by Snehashish Ghosh, December 31, 2012).
- Market Structure in the Telecom Industry (by Snehashish Ghosh, December 31, 2012).
Digital Natives with a Cause? examines the changing landscape of social change and political participation in light of 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 critically engage with discourse on youth, technology and social change, and look at alternative practices and ideas in the Global South:
- Not Just Fancy Television (by Nishant Shah, Indian Express, December 8, 2012): Nishant Shah reviews Ben Hammersley's book "64 Things You Need to Know for Then: How to Face the Digital Future Without Fear ", published by Hodder & Stoughton.
- What does it mean to be a digital native? (by Oliver Joy, CNN, December 8, 2012).
CIS was registered as a society in Bangalore in 2008. As an independent, non-profit research organisation, it runs different policy research programmes such as Accessibility, Access to Knowledge, Openness, Internet Governance, and Telecom. The policy research programmes have resulted in outputs such as the e-Accessibility Policy Handbook for Persons with Disabilities with ITU and G3ict, and Digital Alternatives with a Cause?, Thinkathon Position Papers and the Digital Natives with a Cause? Report with Hivos, etc. We conducted policy research for the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, etc., on WIPO Treaties, Copyright Bill, NIA Bill, etc. CIS is accredited as an observer at WIPO, and has given policy briefs to delegations from various countries, our Programme Manager, Nirmita Narasimhan won the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities from the Government of India and also received the NIVH Excellence Award.
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Please help us defend consumer / citizen rights on the Internet! Write a cheque in favour of ‘The Centre for Internet and Society’ and mail it to us at No. 194, 2nd ‘C’ Cross, Domlur, 2nd Stage, Bengaluru – 5600 71.
Request for Collaboration
We invite researchers, practitioners, and theoreticians, both organisationally and as individuals, to collaboratively engage with Internet and society and improve our understanding of this new field. To discuss the research collaborations, write to Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, at [email protected] or Nishant Shah, Director – Research, at [email protected]
CIS is grateful to its donors, Wikimedia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Privacy International, UK, Hans Foundation and the 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.