February 2013 Bulletin
The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) wishes you a great year ahead and welcomes you to the second issue of its newsletter for the year 2013. In this issue we bring you an overview of our research programs, updates of events organised by us, events we participated in, news and media coverage, and videos of some of our recent events.
Rahul Cherian, an expert and policy activist in disability law, intellectual property and technology law passed away due to an illness while on a visit to Goa on February 7, 2013. Rahul was the founder of the Inclusive Planet Centre for Disability and Policy, and a fellow at CIS. He was also a partner at IndoJuris Law Offices in Chennai and was one of the experts who drafted the Treaty for the Visually Impaired currently being negotiated at the World Intellectual Property Organization. The Hindu (February 8, 2013), First Post (February 8, 2013), Legally India (February 7, 2013), and Bar & Bench (February 8, 2013) covered this story. Lawrence Liang wrote an obituary page, A Lightness of Spirit (The Hindu, February 9, 2013) and Nishant Shah wrote a column One For All (Indian Express, February 17, 2013).
CIS organised a memorial function for Rahul Cherian at the TERI, Southern Regional Centre in Bangalore on February 28, 2013.
CIS invites applications for the posts of Developer (NVDA Screen Reader Project), Programme Officer (Access to Knowledge and Openness), and Programme Officer (Internet Governance). To apply send your resume to [email protected] and [email protected].
CIS is doing two projects in partnership with the Hans Foundation. One of this is to create a national resource kit of state-wise laws, policies and programmes on issues relating to persons with disabilities in India and another is for developing a screen reader and text-to- speech synthesizer for Indian languages. CIS is also working with the World Blind Union and many other organisations to develop a Treaty for the Visually Impaired helped by the WIPO:
National Resource Kit for Persons with Disabilities
Anandhi Viswanathan from CIS and Manojna Yeluri from the Centre for Law and Policy Research are working in this project. Draft chapters have been published. Feedback and comments are invited from readers for the chapters on Bihar and West Bengal:
- The Bihar Chapter (by Manojna Yeluri, February 14, 2013): The state of Bihar is in the process of formulating a comprehensive state policy on disability. The Bihar State Policy on Disability is an extension of the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities and is currently in a draft form awaiting government approval and notification.
- The West Bengal Chapter (by Anandhi Viswanathan, February 28, 2013): The state of West Bengal has issued the West Bengal Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Rules, 1999 to implement the provisions under the central Persons with Disabilities (Protection of Rights, Equal Opportunities and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
- Indian Users’ Perspective On WIPO Negotiations On Treaty For Visually Impaired (by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch, February 16, 2013). Nirmita Narasimhan is quoted.
The Wikimedia Foundation awarded CIS a two year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop the growth of Indic language communities and projects by community collaborations and partnerships. This is being carried out by the Access to Knowledge team based in Delhi. CIS is also doing a project (Pervasive Technologies) on examining the relationship between production of pervasive technologies and intellectual property. The project researches upon the noteworthy opportunities of the new types of low cost mobile devices, content and services as available in the market.
Beginning from September 1, 2012, Wikimedia Foundation awarded CIS a two-year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop free knowledge in India. The A2K team consists of four members based in Delhi: T. Vishnu Vardhan, Nitika Tandon, Subhashish Panigrahi and Noopur Raval, and one new team member Dr. U.B. Pavanaja who works from Bangalore office.
New Team Member
- Dr. U.B. Pavanaja joined the A2K team as Programme Officer, India Language Initiatives on February 19, 2013. Dr. Pavanaja holds a Master’s degree from Mysore University and Ph.D. from Mumbai University. He was a scientist at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, for about 15 years. He is one of the earliest editors of Kannada Wikipedia. He has to his credit many firsts, viz., first Kannada website, first Kannada online magazine, first Indian language (Kannada) website to receive Golden Web Award, first Indian language (Kannada) editor for Palm OS, first Indian language (Kannada) editor for WinCE device (HP Jornado 720), first Indian language version (Kannada) of universally popular Logo (programming language for children) software, etc. His Kannada logo won the Manthan Award for the year 2006. He was a member of the technical advisory committee setup by the Govt. of Karnataka for Standardization of Kannada on Computers (2000). He is also a member of the Kannada Software Committee of Govt. of Karnataka (2008-current).
- Knowledge Sharing through GLAM at Bangalore (Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad, Kumara Krupa Road, Bangalore, February 25, 2013). Dr. U.B. Pavanaja, Subhashish Panigrahi and Nitika Tandon participated in this event.
- Wikimedia Bangalore Meetup @ Indian Institute of Management (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (organized in partnership with Wikispeed and NASSCOM). Vishnu Vardhan spoke on the Access to Knowledge project. Noopur Raval participated in the event.
- Creative Commons comes to India (by Subhashish Panigrahi, February 28, 2013).
- Fifty-fourth Bangalore Wikimedia Meet-up at IIM, Bangalore (by Noopur Raval, February 28, 2013).
- Odia Wikipedia Community Brings Wikipedia Education Program to IIMC, Dhenkanal (by Subhashish Panigrahi, February 28, 2013).
- FOSS, Wikimedia and Mozilla Under One Roof at GNUnify 2013, Pune (by Subhashish Panigrahi, February 28, 2013).
CIS organised one Wiki workshop in the month of February 2013. We also bring you the report from an event organised in the month of January:
- Celebrating Odia Wikipedia's Ninth Anniversary (organized by the Odia Wiki Community with support from CIS and Academy for Media Learning, January 29, 2013, Bhubaneswar). Few glimpses of the event are available as audio podcasts.
- Digital Literacy Workshop at Department of Arts, Delhi University (by Nitika Tandon, February 5, 2013).
- ଓଡ଼ିଆ ଉଇକିପିଡ଼ିଆର ନବମ ଜନ୍ମତିଥି ଅବସରରେ କର୍ମଶାଳା: ଇମିଡ଼ିଆରେ ଓଡ଼ିଆ ଭାଷାର ପ୍ରୟୋଗ (Odishan.com, February 4, 2013).
- ସମ୍ବାଦ: ଲିପି ବ୍ୟାକରଣ ଓ ମାନକ ଭାଷାର ପ୍ରୟୋଗ ଜରୁରୀ. (Sambad, February, 2013).
- Odisha: Workshop organized on 9th Anniversary of Odia language: Application of Odia language in e-media (e India Bureau, March 2, 2013).
- Odia Wikipedia’s 9th anniversary (fullOrissa News, February 13, 2013).
- Odisha: Workshop organized on 9th Anniversary of Odia language: Application of Odia language in e-media (India Education Diary.com, March 2, 2013). Subhashish Panigrahi is quoted.
- Odia language workshop organized on 9th Anniversary of Odia Wikipedia: Application of Odia language in e-media (Odishaviews.com, February 5, 2013). Subhashish Panigrahi is quoted.
- Wikipedia Workshop @ BITS Goa (BITS Pilani K K Birla Goa Campus, March 7, 2013, 5.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.).
- A Wikipedia Editing Workshop in Goa (Nirmala Institute of Education, Goa, March 8, 2013, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
- Sanskrit Wikiquote — Now Available: The Access to Knowledge team at CIS is happy to announce the availability of Sanskrit Wikiquote. Shiju Alex, an ex-team member played an active role in bringing this out. For more info see http://bit.ly/Y9OY9R.
Event Participated In
- International Conference on Contours of Media Governance: Teaching, Disciplinarity, Methodology (organised by Jamia Millia Islamia University with support from Ford Foundation and ICSSR, Centre for Culture, Media & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, February 25 – 27, 2013). Sunil Abraham presented preliminary findings from the Pervasive Technologies project.
Other Openness Updates
Announcements from Other Organizations
- Iryna Kuchma wins the second EPT award: The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development announced the winner of its 2nd Annual Award in recognition of the effort made by individuals working in the developing and emerging countries in the furtherance of Open Access (OA) to scholarly publications. Dr. Francis Jayakanth won the inaugural award last year.
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 from the CIS office in Bengaluru.
Event Report & Video
- Report of Aaron Swartz Memorial Hacknight (by Zainab Bawa, February 6, 2013). On January 19 and 20, 2013, HasGeek organized a hacknight to commemorate the life and work of Aaron Swartz. Zainab Bawa shares the developments.
CIS has an agreement with Privacy International, London to facilitate the implementation of activities related to surveillance and freedom of speech and expression. We are also doing a project on examining the indicators of female economic empowerment in the IT industry in India.
- Women in India’s IT Industry (by Jadine Lannon, February 27, 2013)
- Women in the IT Industry: Request for Data (by Jadine Lannon, February 28, 2013).
Free Speech & Expression
- Analyzing the Latest List of Blocked URLs by Department of Telecommunications (IIPM Edition) (by Snehashish Ghosh, February 14, 2013). The analysis was quoted in FirstPost.
- Don’t SLAPP free speech (by Sunil Abraham with inputs from Snehashish Ghosh, Tehelka, February 3, 2013, Issue 9, Volume 10).
- Freedom of Expression Gagged (by Chinmayi Arun, Hindu Business Line, February 15, 2013).
- Hate speech: ban or ignore? (NDTV, February 5, 2013). Pranesh Prakash, Shivam Vij, and Sanjay Rajoura gave their expert views on the impact of hate speech.
- Censorship and sensibility in India (by Samanth Subramanian, February 6, 2013). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- Online Abuse of Teen Girls in Kashmir Leads to Arrests (by Betwa Sharma, New York Times, February 8, 2013). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- Indian net service providers too play censorship tricks (by T Ramachandran, The Hindu, February 9, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Anonymous joins protests against Internet shutdown in Kashmir (by Indu Nandakumar, Economic Times, February 12, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Why was the Gwalior court in such a hurry to block IIPM URLs? (by Danish Raza, FirstPost, February 19, 2013). Snehashish Ghosh’s analysis on blocked website is quoted.
- Stop Press Carousel (by Arindham Mukherjee, Outlook, February 22, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- "All Indian Enterprises should Be Very Worried": Centre for Internet and Society (by Shubhra Rishi, Computer World, February 25, 2013). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
Events Participated In
- Freedom of expression online: identifying and addressing challenges and developing a shared vision and a working partnership: (organized by Wilton Park, Wiston House, Sussex, UK, February 13 – 15, 2013). Pranesh Prakash participated in the event.
- 9th International Asian Conference (organized by ITech Law, Bangalore, February 14 -15, 2013). Sunil Abraham was a panelist in the session on Censorship of Online Content.
- 2012: Privacy Highlights in India (by Elonnai Hickok, February 12, 2013): Elonnai summarizes the top privacy moments of 2012 in India.
- Surveillance Camp IV: Disproportionate State Surveillance - A Violation of Privacy (by Elonnai Hickok and Katitza Rodriguez of Electronic Frontier Foundation February 19, 2013).
- BigDog is Watching You! The Sci-fi Future of Animal and Insect Drones (by Maria Xynou, February 25, 2013).
- Analyzing the Draft Human DNA Profiling Bill 2012 (March 1, 2013, CIS, Bangalore).
- Unique Identity Number (UID), National Population Register (NPR), and Governance (March 2, 2013, TERI Southern Regional Centre, Bangalore).
Event Participated In
- The Omnishambles of UID, shrouded in its RTI opacity: CIS sponsored Colonel Mathew Thomas to hold a workshop at the fourth National Right to Information (RTI) organized by the National Campaign for People's Right to Information, held in Hyderabad from February 15 to 18, 2013.
- DML Conference 2013 (co-organised by CIS and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub Central, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers - Chicago, Illinois, March 14 – 16, 2013).
Internet Access – Knowledge Repository
CIS in partnership with the Ford Foundation was executing the telecom knowledge repository project which included producing and disseminating modules on various aspects of telecommunications including policy, regulations, infrastructure and market. However, from November 2012 there was a change in the mandate of the project. The new repository will cover the history of the internet, technologies involved, principle and values of internet access, broadband market and universal access. It will also touch upon various polices and regulations which has an impact on internet access and bodies and mechanism which are responsible for formulation policies related to internet access. The blog posts and modules will be published in a new website: www.internet-institute.in.
We are hosting an “Institute on Internet and Society” in collaboration with the Ford Foundation India, which is to be held from June 8, 2013 to June 14, 2013. Call for registration and relevant details will be announced soon on our website.
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:
- The Supreme Court & Spectrum Management (by Shyam Ponappa, Organizing India Blogspot, February 14, 2013, originally published in the Business Standard, February 6, 2013).
- Who Minds the Maxwell's Demon: Revisiting Communication Networks through the Lens of the Intermediary (by Sharath Chandra Ram, February 28, 2013).
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:
Events Participated In
- D:coding Digital Natives - Seminar with Nishant Shah (organized by HUMlab, February 26, 2013). Nishant Shah gave a talk on D:coding Digital Natives at Samhällsvetarhuset.
- Video Vortex # 9 Re:assemblies of Video (organized by the Institute of Network Cultures, Post Media Lab, Moving Image Lab, Leuphana, et.al, February 28 – March 2, 2013). Nishant Shah delivered a key note at this event.
From 2012 to 2015, the Researchers At Work series is focusing on building research clusters in the field of Digital Humanities. We organised the first Habits of Living workshops in Bangalore last year. The next workshop is being held in Brown University.
- Habits of Living: Networked Affects, Glocal Effects (organised by CIS and Brown University, March 21 – 23, 2013, Brown University, Rhode Island). Nishant Shah will be speaking at this event.
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 have 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. CIS staff participates in the Standing Committee for Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) meetings regularly held in Geneva, and participate in the discussions and comments on them from a public interest perspective. Our Policy Director, 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.