Centre for Internet & Society

It is my distinct pleasure to share with you the second issue of the CIS newsletter (February 2015).

Earlier this year, I joined the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) as the Research Director. I have been fortunate to periodically work with CIS in various capacities since mid-2012, mostly focusing on the topics of open data, open access, and visual exploration of data. Most importantly perhaps for my present responsibilities, for the last year or so, I have been in communication with various projects teams at CIS and supported their efforts through workshops on research methodologies, and by discussing and co-designing their research questions and approaches.

As the Research Director, I look forward to take these works forward, along with leading the Researchers at Work (RAW) programme, which has been shaped by Prof. Nishant Shah to host an exciting range of critical research initiatives into how the Internet and digital technologies reconfigure social processes and structures, and vice versa. Please keep an eye on the newsletter for further updates from the RAW programme.

Our sincere apologies for the delay in sending out this month's newsletter. We will soon be back in our usual rhythm. The past editions of the newsletter can be accessed at http://cis-india.org/about/newsletters

Sumandro Chattapadhyay
Email: sumandro@cis-india.org


Highlights

  • Forbes India in an article titled " Minds that (should) matter" names Sunil Abraham as one of the Thinkers who best explain a rapidly-changing India to the world (and the world to India). Errata: This story was shared in the last newsletter but with an error, which is now rectified.
  • NVDA team organized three workshops during the month for training participants on using eSpeak with NVDA software. The languages covered werePunjabi,Oriya and Hindi.
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Government of India invited comments on the First Draft of India's National IPR Policy. CIS sent its comments . CIS commended the DIPP for this initiative and appreciated the opportunity to provide comments on the National IPR Policy.
  • CIS sent out three different Right to Information (RTI) requests to find out more details about the constitution and working of the IPR Think Tank to draft the first national IPR Policy.
  • Anubha Sinha analyses the submission to the DIPP by Academia and Civil Society on the draft National IPR Policy from a public interest perspective.
  • In an Open Letter to the Prime Minister of India, CIS requests the Government of India to initiate the formation of a patent pool of critical mobile technologies and a five per cent compulsory license.
  • CIS's Access to Knowledge team (CIS-A2K) in collaboration with the Centre for Indian Languages (CILHE) at TISS, Mumbai conducted a two-day workshop at English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) at Hyderabad on January 28 - 29, 2015. Tejaswini Niranjana captures the developments in a blog post.
  • Subhashish Panigrahi wrote an op-ed on the endangered languages in India. This was published by Odia daily Samaja on February 21 which is celebrated as the International Mother Language Day.
  • CIS-A2K team conducted the " Train the Trainer Program" (TTT 2015) at CEO Centre, Dodda Gubbi, Bangalore. About 25 delegates attended the programme.
  • CIS has joined an international campaign to allow anyone in the world to request whether Britain's intelligence agency GCHQ has illegally spied on them.
  • On January 30, 2015, Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) held a consultation on Internet governance. A committee was set up to draft a report on Internet governance, with a focus on issues relevant to India. CIS is represented on the committee, and has provided its preliminary comments to ASSOCHAM .
  • As part of CIS's inquiry into 'Network Neutrality' in the developing world a set of definitions of the term from different sources was collected and published as a blog post.
  • Namita A. Malhotra in a blog entry examines the figure of the pornographer, as a mixed media figure entrenched in various networks of knowledge production, circulation and consumption.

Accessibility and Inclusion

Under a grant from the Hans Foundation we are doing two projects. The first project is on creating a national resource kit of state-wise laws, policies and programmes on issues relating to persons with disabilities in India. CIS in partnership with CLPR (Centre for Law and Policy Research) compiled the National Compendium of Policies, Programmes and Schemes for Persons with Disabilities (29 states and 6 union territories). The publication has been finalised and is being printed. The draft chapters and the quarterly reports can be accessed on the project page. The second project is on developing text-to-speech software for 15 Indian languages. The progress made so far in the project can be accessed here.

►NVDA and eSpeak

Monthly Update

Events Organized

Access to Knowledge

As part of the Access to Knowledge programme we are doing two projects. The first one (Pervasive Technologies) under a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is for research on the complex interplay between pervasive technologies and intellectual property to support intellectual property norms that encourage the proliferation and development of such technologies as a social good. The second one (Wikipedia) 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.

►Pervasive Technologies

As part of the Pervasive Technologies project, Rohini Lakshané wrote an Open Letter to India's Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for creation of a patent pool of critical mobile technologies. And as part of broader Access to Knowledge work CIS submitted comments to DIPP on the National IP Policy.

Blog Entries

Participation in Event

►Wikipedia

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).

Op-ed

Blog Entries

Event Organized

  • Train the Trainer (Organized by CIS-A2K; CEO Centre, Dodda Gubbi, Bangalore; February 26 - March 1, 2015). Rohini Lakshané took a session on GLAM.

News and Media Coverage

CIS-A2K team gave its inputs to the following media coverage:

Announcements

  • 2015 Opensource.com Community Awards : Every year, Opensource.com awards people from our community who have excelled in contributing and sharing stories about open source. Subhashish Panigrahi from the CIS-A2K team won the award under the category 'People's Choice Awards'.
  • CIS-A2K team also published the Telugu Wikipedia Stats tables. Most metrics have been collected from a partial dump (aka stub dump), which contains all revisions of every article, meta data, but no page content.

Participation in Events

►Openness

Participation in Events

Internet Governance

As part of its research on privacy and free speech, CIS is engaged with two different projects. The first one (under a grant from Privacy International and International Development Research Centre (IDRC)) is on surveillance and freedom of expression (SAFEGUARDS). The second one (under a grant from MacArthur Foundation) is on studying the restrictions placed on freedom of expression online by the Indian goverTnment.

►Privacy

Blog Entries

Announcements

  • CIS joins Worldwide Campaign to Discover Depth of GCHQ's Illegal Spying (Elonnai Hickok; February 28, 2015). Individuals who wish to take part in this process can sign up at https://www.privacyinternational.org/illegalspying.
  • Prof. Peng Hwa Ang from Nanyang Technology University visited CIS recently. He had a series of interactions with several researchers at CIS and has prepared a brief visit report. Impressed with the research work of CIS he had discussions with CIS on possible collaborations including publication in more academic journals, collaboration with academic institutions in research projects in Privacy / Data Protection and other areas of Internet Governance. He also discussed on the possible areas where he could contribute to CIS including conduction of training session on writing for academic journals.

►Freedom of Expression

Blog Entries

►Miscellaneous

Event Co-organized

  • Digital Security Workshop for Journalists (Organized by CIS and Mumbai Press Club; Mumbai Press Club, Azad Maidan, Mumbai; February 7, 2015). Rohini Lakshané conducted the workshop as part of the Cyber Stewards project.

Upcoming Event

Participation in Events

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News & Media Coverage
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CIS gave its inputs to the following media coverage:

Researchers at Work

The Researchers at Work (RAW) programme is an interdisciplinary research initiative driven by contemporary concerns to understand the reconfigurations of social practices and structures through the Internet and digital media technologies, and vice versa. It is interested in producing local and contextual accounts of interactions, negotiations, and resolutions between the Internet, and socio-material and geo-political processes:

Event Organized

  • Innovative Infrastructures for Research and Pedagogy in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and Humanities (Co-organized by Centre for Study of Culture and Society and CIS, Bangalore): The RAW programme organized a consultation to discuss and conceptualise an upcoming project. The project will be hosted by the RAW programme.

Blog Entry

About CIS

The Centre for Internet and Society is a non-profit research organization that works on policy issues relating to freedom of expression, privacy, accessibility for persons with disabilities, access to knowledge and IPR reform, and openness (including open government, FOSS, open standards, etc.), and engages in academic research on digital natives and digital humanities.

► Follow us elsewhere

► Support Us

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 sunil@cis-india.org. To discuss collaborations on Indic language Wikipedia, write to T. Vishnu Vardhan, Programme Director, A2K, at vishnu@cis-india.org.

CIS is grateful to its primary donor the Kusuma Trust founded by Anurag Dikshit and Soma Pujari, philanthropists of Indian origin for its core funding and support for most of its projects. CIS is also grateful to its other donors, Wikimedia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Privacy International, UK, Hans Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and IDRC for funding its various projects.