February 2012 Bulletin
Welcome to the Centre for Internet and Society newsletter! In this issue we bring you the updates of our research, events, media coverage and videos of the events organized by us during the month of February 2012!
Around 70 million disabled persons in India are unable to participate in information societies as lack of compliance with accessibility standards make interfaces impossible to use, and retrograde copyright and patent policies make it impossible to access knowledge. Accessibility is denied in banking services, web and mobile interfaces, etc. Material for the disabled therefore needs to be converted into accessible formats. The programme has resulted in outputs such as Web Accessibility Policy Making, Making Mobile Phones and Services Accessible for Persons with Disabilities, Accessibility Policy Making: An International Perspective, e-Accessibility Policy Handbook for Persons with Disabilities, Universal Service for Persons with Disabilities: A Global Survey of Policy Interventions and Good Practices, etc.
- Web Accessibility Policy Making: An International Perspective: G3ict and the Centre for Internet and Society are pleased to announce the publication of a new, improved edition of the Web Accessibility Policy Making: An International Perspective. The report published in cooperation with the Hans Foundation provides an updated synopsis of the many policies that governments have implemented around the world to ensure that the Internet and websites are accessible to persons with disabilities.
- ITU Tutorial on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (India International Centre,New Delhi, March 14 to 15, 2012): At the invitation of the Centre for Internet and Society, in cooperation with the ITU-APT Foundation of India, International Telecommunication Union is organizing a two-day Tutorial on Audio Visual Media Accessibility. The Tutorial will be preceded by the fourth meeting of the Focus Group on Audio Visual Media Accessibility on March 13, 2012. The meeting will take place in the same venue and will be hosted by the Centre for Internet and Society in cooperation with the ITU-APT Foundation of India.
Access to Knowledge
With the emergence of digital technologies and the unprecedented growth of the Internet and other related technologies, intellectual property rights (IPRs) the questions of ownership and control of information have become crucial. The programme focuses on the inequitable distribution of IPR, royalty, outflows, and beneficiaries of intellectual property regimes, the lack of balance in current IPR regimes [local, national and international] between consumer rights and IPR-owners’/corporation’s rights. The programme has produced analyses such as WIPO Treaty for the Print Disabled, WIPO Broadcast Treaty, Copyright Amendment Bill and Parallel Importation of Books.
- Analysis of Copyright Expansion in the India-EU FTA (July 2010) by Snehashish Ghosh.
Recently, the Centre for Internet and Society organised a public lecture in its office, the video is now online.
- Gandhi, Freedom, and the Dilemmas of Copyright: (Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, January 30, 2012). Prof. Shyamkrishna Balganesh from the University of Pennsylvania gave a lecture on Gandhi, Freedom, and the Dilemmas of Copyright.
The advent of the Internet has radically defined what it means to be open and collaborative. Even the Internet is built upon open standards and free/libre/open source software. The broad rubric of the ‘Openness’ programme focuses to provide evidence based research that will help inform policy and practice of the local, national, regional, bilateral and international policies and practices around Open Government Data, Open Access to Scholarly Literature, Open Access to Law, Open Content, Open Video, Open Standards and Free/Libre/Open Source Software. The programme has resulted in reports such as Open Government Data Study, Online Video Environment in India, a reader on the Wikipedia titled Critical Point of View: A Wikipedia Reader and a film titled People are Knowledge – Experimenting with Oral Citations on Wikipedia.
- Comments on Technical Standards for Interoperability Framework for E-Governance in India (Phase II), submitted to the e-Governance Standards Division.
- Francis Bags EPT Award for Open Access in Developing World, (Sambasivan Auditorium, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, February 14, 2012). The award function was organized by the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development and the Centre for Internet and Society. Prof. Subbiah Arunachalam gave the welcome address. View the video of the award function.
- An Interview with Dr. Francis Jayakanth: The Centre for Internet and Society conducted an email interview with Dr. Francis Jayakanth, recipient of the inaugural EPT Award for Open Access in Developing World.
- Free Arduino Workshop (For Beginners): (Centre for Internet and Society,Bangalore, March 3, 2012). The Centre for Internet and Society organised the Arduino workshop in Bangalore.
Governments and private corporations are engaging in human rights violations online. Many different rights are impacted by internet governance policy changes. The growing phenomenon of illegal electronic surveillance by state and non-state actors and censorship of speech online are some specific problems that the Internet Governance programme seeks to address by providing evidence based research that will help inform policy and practice of the local, national, regional, bilateral and international privacy regime in the interests of the public in sectors key to information societies with a particular focus on information technology, privacy and freedom of expression. The programme has resulted in outputs such as Banking, Telecommunications, Consumer Protection, IT Act, Limitations, Copyright, Internet Protocol, Media, Sexual Minorities, UID and policy submissions such as, NIA Bill, IT Act, National Policy on Electronics, Cyber Café Rules, Security Practices Rules, and Intermediary Due Diligence Rules.
Privacy India in partnership with Privacy International, UK, the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, and Society in Action Group, Gurgaon is pleased to bring you the draft chapters of its book on Privacy in India. These include the Country Report, Telecommunication and Internet Privacy, E-Governance Identity and Privacy, Finance and Privacy, Health and Privacy, Transparency and Privacy. The chapters are an early draft which is in the process of being reviewed and updated. We greatly appreciate your comments and feedback:
- Personal Data, Public Profile: “Whether we like it or not, we live in a world that is rapidly being Googlised”, writes Nishant Shah in the Financial Express, February 13, 2012.
- Do we need the Aadhar scheme?: “Decentralisation and privacy are preconditions for security. Digital signatures don’t require centralised storage and are much more resilient in terms of security”, writes Sunil Abraham in the Business Standard, February 1, 2012.
- The High Level Privacy Conclave (Paharpur Business Centre, Nehru Place Greens, New Delhi, February 3, 2012): India is in dire need of privacy law; experts say government is ironically creating huge national security risks in attempts to prevent crime and terrorism. The event was organized by Privacy India in partnership with the International Development Research Centre, Canada, Privacy International, UK and Society in Action Group, Gurgaon. Sunil Abraham was a Conclave Advisor and the moderator for the session on Internet and Privacy, Malavika Jayaram moderated in the panel on National Security and Privacy, and Elonnai Hickok spoke in the session "The Way Forward".
- All India Privacy Symposium: (India International Centre, New Delhi, February 4, 2012): Experts gathered in Delhi for a public symposium on privacy, transparency, e-governance and national security in India. The event was organized by Privacy India in partnership with the International Development Research Centre, Canada, Privacy International, UK, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Society in Action Group, Gurgaon. The webcast of the event is online. Sunil Abraham was a Symposium Advisor and moderated in the panel on Privacy and Transparency. Elonnai Hickok gave the welcome address and spoke in the session, “The Way Forward”. Prashant Iyengar was the moderator for the panel on Privacy and Banking. Malavika Jayaram spoke in this panel.
- GeekUp with Erica Hagen (Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, March 1, 2012). HasGeek organized a GeekUp with Erica Hagen of the GroundTruth Initiative. Erica gave a lecture on the theme: "From Information to Empowerment: Unpacking the Equation.
- Unique ID System: Pros and Cons, by Natasha Vaz.
- Cartonama Workshop (Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, March 2 and 3, 2012). HasGeek organized a hands-on training for managing and building location based services. The Centre for Internet and Society was a partner for this event.
- Climate Change and Controversy Mapping (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, March 19 to 21, 2012). The workshop is being organised in collaboration with the Devechia Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Bruno Latour, Dean for Research at Sciences Po, Paris will speak in this event.
- All India Privacy Symposium, (India International Centre, New Delhi, February 4, 2012). Privacy India in partnership with the International Development Research Centre, Canada, Privacy International, UK, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and Society in Action Group, Gurgaon, organized the event.
- Whose Data is it Anyway?, (Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, January 24, 2012). Centre for Internet and Society and Tactical Tech co-organised the second round of discussions of the Exposing Data series. Siddharth Hande and Hapee de Groot spoke in the event.
- Privacy Matters — Analyzing the "Right to Privacy Bill", (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay). Privacy India in partnership with International Development Research Centre, Canada, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, the Godrej Culture Lab, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and the Centre for Internet and Society organised this event.
- Free Speech Online in India under Attack?, (Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, December 22, 2011). The event was co-organised with the Internet Democracy Project. Achal Prabhala, Lawrence Liang and Anja Kovacs gave a lecture on freedom of expression online in India.
The growth in telecommunications in India has been impressive. While the potential for growth and returns exist, a range of issues need to be addressed for this potential to be realized. One aspect is more extensive rural coverage and the second aspect is a countrywide access to broadband which is low at about eight million subscriptions. Both require effective and efficient use of networks and resources, including spectrum. The programme has resulted in reports such as India's untapped potential: Are a billion people losing out because of spectrum?, India Study Tour - Report: The South African Telecommunications Sector: Poised for Change and the Unlicensed Spectrum-Policy Brief for Government of India NTP '11.
- Unlicensed Spectrum-Policy Brief for Government of India NTP '11 by Satyen Gupta, Sunil Abraham and Yelena Gyulkhandanyan: The research paper aims to recommend unlicensed spectrum policy to the Government of India based on recent developments in wireless technology, community needs and international best practices, and seeks to demonstrate the need for and importance of unlicensed spectrum as a medium for inexpensive connectivity in rural/remote areas, as well as catalyzing innovation by being a barrier-free and cost-effective platform for the testing and implementing of new technologies.
- An Interview with Stephen Song: Yelena Gyulkhandanyan interviewed Stephen Song, the founder of Village Telco, an initiative to bring practical and inexpensive communication network infrastructure to rural and remote areas. He spoke about factors that catalyzed the initiative, the benefits of the network, some challenges, and the Mesh Potato.
- Content Developers/Trainers: The Centre for Internet and Society is looking for a content developer/trainer to work on an upcoming project Building Knowledge and Capacity around Telecommunication Policies in India. This is a full-time position. To apply, please email your curriculum vitae along with three writing samples to [email protected].
Digital Natives with a Cause?
Digital Natives with a Cause? is a knowledge programme initiated by the Centre for Internet and Society, India 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. The programme has resulted in a four-book collective titled Digital AlterNatives with a Cause? and reports such as Digital Natives with a Cause? A Report and Digital Natives with a Cause? Thinkathon: Position Papers.
- Digital Natives Video Contest: Twenty-one candidates have been shortlisted, videos will be online soon. Voting begins from March 10, 2012. The Centre for Internet and Society is co-organising the video contest with Hivos, Netherlands.
- Essay Review: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause: The monthly essay review for the four book collective of Digital AlterNatives with a Cause? was held from February 17 to February 26, 2012. The Centre for Internet and Society co-organized the “Essay Review” with Hivos, Netherlands.
- How to Put Up a Facebook Resistance: “The current discussion about Facebook's timeline is only the tip of the iceberg, a symptom of a larger conflict that lurks behind it: how much direct marketing are Facebook users willing to take? How many drastic top-down changes of the user's Facebook experience are possible unless they understand that their presence on this site and what they do there is in tension with the company's goals that provides this digital environment?”, Oliver Leistert reviews Marc Stumpel’s essay, "Mapping the Politics of Web 2.0: Facebook Resistance", in Digital Alternatives with a Cause Book 2: To Think, pp.24-31.
- Privacy, Piracy and the Wiki Way of Web: “Privacy is about having more control over the personal information that we have disclosed. As we disclose more information online, we must ask who might access it and why.” Nishant Shah in the Digital Natives Newsletter, volume 9, issue 2.
News and Media Coverage
- What is Stewardship in Cyberspace?: The second annual Cyber Dialogue forum takes place March 18-19, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. Sunil Abraham is a panelist in the session on Plenary Panel and Discussions.
- Secure IT 2012 — Securing Citizens through Technology: The event was co-organised by DST and NSDI, Govt. of India in partnership with Elets Technomedia Pvt. Ltd. on March 1, 2012 at Claridges in New Delhi. Sunil Abraham was a panelist in the event.
- Digitisation is making e-learning simple: “Learning should not be restricted to the Internet and interactive classroom sessions but should be made available on mobile phones through audio files as mobile penetration is much higher compared to Internet reach”, Sunil Abraham in Deccan Herald, February 13, 2012. The article was written by Shayan Ghosh.
- India debates limits to freedom of expression: “The government’s proposals on Web censorship would kill the vibrancy of the Internet in India”, Sunil Abraham in the Washington Post, February 13, 2012. The article was written by Simon Denyer.
- Developing location-based services, Hindu, February 26, 2012.
- Grooming the geek: “Children have to learn fine motor and social skills; tablets and other technology hinder the development of these skills”, Sunil Abraham in LiveMint, February 24, 2012. The article was written by Gopal Sathe.
- FUEL Kannada - Workshop on Kannada Computing Terminology: A two days workshop on the standardization of Kannada computing terminologies was organized on January 28 and 29, 2012 at the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore under the FUEL project. The workshop was organised by Sanchaya and sponsored by Red Hat.
- Will open access replace costly commercial publishing models?: “Most scientists in India are forced to work in a situation of information poverty. Others are unable to access what Indian researchers are doing, leading to low visibility and low use of their work. Thus, Indian work is hardly cited. Both these handicaps can be overcome to a considerable extent if open access is adopted widely, both within and outside the country”, Subbiah Arunachalam in the Hindu, February 19, 2012. The article was written by Vasudha Venugopal.
- Research papers will be available in public domain: “A research produced by the Tuberculosis Research Centre in Chennai which would be of great relevance to researchers, say in a university in Maharashtra, may not be even noticed by the scientists there. Both groups receive funds from the same source - Government of India - and yet what one does is not easily accessible to the other. Open Access would bridge that gap and make information available to everyone”, Subbiah Arunachalam in the Hindu, February 15, 2012. The article was written by Vasudha Venugopal.
- OurSay: how India’s technology is cutting into corruption: “Print and cinema reflected the views of citizens and informed them of the visions and changes that the country was going through”, Nishant Shah in Crikey, February 17, 2012. The blog post was written by Gautam Raju, co-founder and creative director, OurSayAustralia.
- India won't censor social media: Telecom Minister: “Glad that Sibal does not believe in censorship and that companies operating in India should follow local laws.” “But on the other hand he has asked them to evolve new guidelines and actively monitor user content which is not legally sanctioned. This makes him look two-faced”, Pranesh Prakash in the Tribune. The article written by Salil Panchal was originally published by AFP and reproduced in the Tribune on February 14, 2012.
- Govt set to gain ‘back-door’ access to corporate email: “There are no allegations of terrorists using BES or any indication that any of the 5,000 enterprises have any links to terrorists or other banned outfits in India”, Pranesh Prakash in LiveMint, February 14, 2012. The article was written by Shauvik Ghosh.
- Indian law caught in web: “The Internet needs regulation but it cannot be treated as a gigantic newspaper or media channel”, Pranesh Prakash; “In liberal democracies like India and the US, information was taken for granted and not perceived as central to the understanding of society”, Nishant Shah. Nishant and Pranesh are quoted in an article by Moyna published by Down to Earth magazine.
- Prometheus bound and gagged: The article by Adarsh Matham was published in the New Indian Express on 20 January 2012. Pranesh Prakash is quoted in this article.
- Internet Curbs: Sunil Abraham’s article “The Quixotic Fight to Clean Up the Web” which was published in Tehelka is referred to by Rishi Majumder in this article also published in Tehelka, Vol. 9, Issue 07, February 18, 2012.
- Tweeple say it pithily with hash tags: “Our social networking sites and writing platforms are performances of a certain kind... they allow us to convert our everyday lives into games — with rewards, actions, punishments or rules”, Nishant Shah in the Hindu, February 11, 2012. The article was written by Deepa Kurup.
- New Bill to decide on individual’s right to privacy: “Tesco, a major retail chain in England, is now into E-banking… There are numerous examples of such private banking entities sharing customer information with insurance policy firms. These details are often used as markers for the kind of premium that will be set for a person”, Malavika Jayaram in Tehelka, February 6, 2012.
- A new domain name, but concerns remain the same: “The rhetoric is that the Internet is global, but we've been seeing [governments say] how this information has to be regulated”, Nishant Shah in the Hindu, February 5, 2012. The article was written by Karunya Keshav.
- Common man as crusader: “The movement targeted at the middle-class for whom corruption is a big issue was also the first middle-class movement in a long time.” Nishant Shah in the Hindustan Times, February 4, 2012.
- 5 things you need to know about online privacy policies: “India needs to have a broad and horizontal law that establishes online privacy as a right. Unlike in European countries, India doesn't have a privacy commissioner who can state the principles, interpret the data and question the online providers”, Sunil Abraham in the Economic Times on February 6, 2012. The article was written by Indu Nandakumar.
- India needs an independent privacy law, says NGO Privacy India: “India doesn't have a privacy law, but there are provisions for it in different laws. During the course of the research, we found that the Indian judiciary has not been very strict in overseeing the implementation of the privacy clauses in various laws,”, Prashant Iyengar in the Economic Times, February 2, 2012.
- Privacy, speech at stake in cyberspace: “The clampdown on online free speech and the roll-out of a multi-tiered blanket surveillance regime via the draconian IT Act and its associated rules in India is part of a global trend”, Sunil Abraham in LiveMint, February 3, 2012. The article was written by Leslie D’Monte.
- Freedom of Expression in Community Media and on the Internet Understanding Connections, Finding Common Ground: A meeting co-organised by the Internet Democracy Project (Delhi) and Maraa (Bangalore) with the support of the Community Radio Forum in New Delhi on 3 February 2012. Pranesh Prakash participated in this event. Anja Kovacs gave the welcome address and spoke in the session on “The Internet and Freedom of Expression.”
- Google move is not good for netizens, say experts: “Google is doing what is good for shareholders. This is not positive for netizens,” Sunil Abraham in the Hindu Business Line, January 31, 2012.
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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.