February 2015 Bulletin
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
- 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.
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
- February 2015 Report (Suman Dogra; February 28, 2015).
- Joint Report on Training of the Use of eSpeak in Hindi with NVDA (Organized by NVDA team; National Association for the Blind, New Delhi, February 5 - 6, 2015 and Blind Relief Association, Delhi, February 13 - 14, 2015).
- Report on Training in the use of eSpeak Oriya with NVDA (Organized by NVDA team; Orissa Association for the Blind, Bhubaneswar; February 8 - 10, 2015). Thirty six delegates attended the workshop.
- Training of the use of eSpeak Punjabi with NVDA (Organized by NVDA team; Asha Kiran Training Institute, Chandigarh; February 20-21, 2015). The workshop was inaugurated by Shri Tilak Raj, Director, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of Punjab.
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.
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.
- National IPR Policy Series: CIS Comments to the First Draft of the National IP Policy (Nehaa Chaudhari, Pranesh Prakash and Anubha Sinha; February 4, 2015). Varnika Chawla assisted the team.
- RTI Requests - DIPP: Details on constitution and working of IPR Think Tank (Nehaa Chaudhari; February 9, 2015).
- Open Letter to Prime Minister Modi (Rohini Lakshané; February 10, 2015). Copies of the open letter were sent to various ministers.
- Academia and Civil Society submit critical comments to DIPP on draft National IPR Policy (Anubha Sinha; February 16, 2015).
Participation in Event
- India at Leisure: Media, Culture and Consumption in the New Economy (Organized by Jamia University; January 8 - 10, 2015). Maggie Huang attended the event and presented a paper titled "The Future of Music Streaming: Business Practices and Copyright Management in India". The paper was co-authored by Maggie and Amba Kak.
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).
- Our Endangered Languages (Subhashish Panigrahi; February 21, 2015).
- A Wikipedia Presentation at BITS, Goa (Radhakrishna Arvapally; February 9, 2015). Arvapally was a guest blogger.
- Developing Open Knowledge Digital Resources in Indian Languages (Tejaswini Niranjana; February 20, 2015).
- Telugu Wikipedia Winter Camp at Andhra Loyola College (Rahmanuddin Shaik; February 26, 2015).
- 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:
- More online free content in Telugu Wikipedia soon (A.D.Rangarajan; Hindu, February 16, 2015).
- Cultural knowledge needs to be more open (Jen Wike Huger; OpenSource.com; February 18, 2015).
- Online Free Content in Telugu Wikipedia (Andhra Jyothy; February 19, 2015).
- 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
- Hindi Wiki Community Baithak (Organized by Wikipedia Community; February 14 - 15, 2015). Subhashish Panigrahi attended the event.
- An International Conclave of Odia Language (Organized by the Intellects; February 20 - 21, 2015; Constitutional Club, Rafi Marg, New Delhi). Subhashish Panigrahi participated in the event.
Participation in Events
- Regional Open Data Agenda-Setting Workshop 2015 (Organized by Open Data Lab, Jakarta Web Foundation; Jakarta; February 4 - 6, 2015). Sunil Abraham was a speaker.
- Washington Meet on Open Data (Organized by World Bank; Washington; February 20 - 21, 2015). Sunil Abraham was a speaker and made a presentation on Open Data.
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.
- The Surveillance Industry in India - An Analysis of Indian Security Expos (Divij Joshi; February 19, 2015).
- Right to Information (RTI) Requests to BSNL and MTNL Regarding Security Equipment (Maria Xynou; February 25, 2015). CIS had sent RTI requests to MTNL and BSNL in July 2013. MTNL responded recently whereas BSNL has yet to reply.
- 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
- Requests to ICANN: CIS sent ICANN six requests to ICANN regarding ICANN's expenditure on travels and meetings, granular revenue, cyber-attacks on ICANN, ICANN's implementation of the NETmundial principles, complaints under the Ombudsman process, and information regarding revenues received from gTLD auctions. These were prepared by Geetha Hariharan: DIDP Request #1: ICANN's Expenditures on "Travel & Meetings" ; DIDP Request #2: Granular Revenue/Income Statements from ICANN; DIDP Request #3: Cyber-attacks on ICANN; DIDP Request #4: ICANN and the NETmundial Principles ; DIDP Request #5: The Ombudsman and ICANN's Misleading Response to Our Request ; and DIDP Request #6: Revenues from gTLD auction.
- Collection of Net Neutrality Definitions (Tarun Krishnakumar; February 8, 2015). The definitions were compiled by Manoj Kurbet, Maitreya Subramaniam and Tarun Krishnakumar under the guidance of Sunil Abraham.
- ICANN accountability, IANA transition and open questions (Geetha Hariharan; February 6, 2015).
- Where Does ICANN's Money Come From? We Asked; They Don't Know (Geetha Hariharan; February 9, 2015).
- Preliminary Submission on "Internet Governance Issues" to the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Geetha Hariharan; February 12, 2015).
- A Selection of Tweets on How to Make Crowdmaps Effectual for Mapping Violence against Women (Rohini Lakshané; February 19, 2015).
- Reply to RTI Applications filed with respect to Foreign Contractors and Vendors of IT and Telecommunication Enterprises (Lovisha Aggarwal; February 25, 2015).
- 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.
- Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (Organized by US Consulate Chennai, Cyber Security & Privacy Foundation and CIS; Hotel Atria, Palace Road, Bangalore; March 19, 2015).
Participation in Events
- Winter School on Privacy, Surveillance and Data Protection (Organized by the Centre for Communication Governance (CCG) in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair on Freedom of Communication and Information at the University of Hamburg and the Hans Bredow; Delhi; January 19 - 23, 2015). Bhairav Acharya was a facilitator. Errata: This was wrongly mentioned in the last newsletter. We have corrected this.
- NetGain: Working Together for a Stronger Digital Society (Organized by Ford Foundation; February 11 - 12, 2015).
News & Media Coverage
CIS gave its inputs to the following media coverage:
- Facebook offers free but limited access to the Internet in India (PC World; February 10, 2015).
- Govt may turn to supercomputing for better use of Aadhaar database (Moulishree Srivastava; Livemint; February 10, 2015).
- Analytics to help govt read public mood online (Surabhi Talwar; Business Standard; February 10, 2015).
- Facebook launches Internet.org in India (Lalatendu Mishra and Sriram Srinivasan; Hindu; February 11, 2015).
- Google's war on nude photos goes against user rights (Sahil Mohan Gupta; India Today; February 25, 2015).
- Hacking of SIM card by spy agencies raises fears of sensitive documents being leaked (PK Jayadevan and Neha Alawadhi; Economic Times; February 25, 2015).
- Delhi government in consultation with Centre to block Uber's Internet address (Harsimran Julka; Economic Times; February 25, 2015).
- SC reserves judgement in cases against Section 66A (Shreeja Sen; Livemint; February 26, 2015).
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:
- 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.
- Figures of Learning: The Pornographer (Namita A. Malhotra; February 28, 2015).
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
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/CISA2K
- Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/cisa2k
- Visit us at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Access_To_Knowledge
- E-mail: email@example.com
► 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To discuss collaborations on Indic language Wikipedia, write to T. Vishnu Vardhan, Programme Director, A2K, at email@example.com.
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.