July 2015 Bulletin
Our newsletter for the month of July is below:
We are happy to share with you the seventh issue of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) newsletter (July 2015). The past editions of the newsletter can be accessed at http://cis-india.org/about/newsletters.
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
- July 2015 Report (Suman Dogra; July 31, 2015).
The training programmes were held in June and the reports were published in July:
- Tamil Computing with NVDA Training Workshop (Organized by NVDA team: Anne Jane Ask with Higher Secondary School for the Visually Impaired, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli; June 3 – 7, 2015).
- Training in eSpeak Marathi (Organized by NVDA team; SIES College, Sion, Mumbai; June 28, 2015).
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.
Submission / Comment
- Statement by the Centre for Internet and Society on the Broadcast Treaty at SCCR 30 (Nehaa Chaudhari; July 2, 2015).
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).
- Reading Devanagari Script based sites like Konkani Wikipedia in Kannada Script (Dr. U.B. Pavanaja; July 13, 2015).
- Konkani Wikipedia Goes Live After 'Nine Years' of Incubation (Subhashish Panigrahi; July 18, 2015).
- Christ University Undergraduate Programme (Organized by CIS-A2K; Bangalore; July 1 - 8, 2015). Students were initiated into the Wikimedia activities with hands on sessions of typing on Wikisource. Faculty of the Christ University helped the A2K team in deciding on the texts that were to be typed. These texts will provide much needed impetus for Wikisource related activities in Indian Languages. Wikipedia Education Programme at Christ University received support from Ravishankar.A of the Tamil Wikimedia community and Sayant Mahato from Sanskrit Wikimedia community.
- Aloysius College (Organized by CIS-A2K; Mangalore; July 1 – 4, 2015). Tulu and Kannada Wikipedia workshops were conducted in St. Aloysis College, Mangalore. Tulu Wikipedia is in Incubator and a small community is growing in Mangalore. Pavanaja U.B. and Rahmanuddin Shaik participated in this events.
- Media Wiki Train the Trainer Program (Organized by CIS-A2K; Bangalore; June 24 – 27, 2015): A four-day long train-the-trainer program aimed at building leadership among technical contributors to Indic language Wikimedians in the areas of bugs, bots--Pywikipedia and Auto Wiki Browser, various MediaWiki tools, and translations. Ravishankar A. from Wikimedia India, MediaWiki developers Pavithra H., Yogesh Omshivaprakash H.L. and Harsh Kothari, and Tamil Wikimedian Dineshkumar Ponnusamy provided support for the event.
Participation in Events
- Wikimania 2015 (Organized by Wikimedia Foundation; Mexico City; July 15 - 19, 2015): A whole day was dedicated for evaluation of strategies and activities by various major stakeholders of the Wikimedia movement. Community members who lead major activities, Wikimedia chapters, affiliate organizations and Wikimedia Foundation itself took part in the discussions. There were several group activities, exchange of ideas focused on project and community level outreach and other activities, tools and techniques, and best practices. Subhashish Panigrahi participated in this event and gave a talk on How to do Guerrilla GLAM. Subhashish Panigrahi was a panelist along with Rohini Lakshané in the session “Edit-a-thons for Bridging the Gender Gap on Wikimedia: A Panel Discussion”. An Indic Meet-up was also organized. Wikimedians from India, Bangladesh and Nepal representing various language communities, Wikimedia India, Wikimedia Bangladesh, Wikimedia Nepal, and Access to Knowledge (CIS-A2K) gathered to discuss about various challenges, cross-community collaborative projects, organizing larger events, and strategies to grow the Wikimedia movement in South Asia.
- Classical Languages in the Digital Era Conference (Organized by Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore; July 17, 2015) Tanveer Hasan participated in this conference aimed at discussing about the future of Indian classical languages in the digital era.
- Not many contributors for Kannada-centric Wiki page (The Times of India, July 5, 2015)
- Upload More Kannada Articles on Wikipedia (Indian Express, July 5, 2015)
- Kannada Wikipedia Workshop in Mangaluru (Udayavani; July 5, 2015)
- Kannada Wikipedia Workshop in Mangaluru (Prajavani; July 5, 2015)
- Tito Dutta, Luis Gomes and Abhinav Garule have joined the CIS-A2K team as Programme Associates from March this year. Tito is working for internal documentation and resource building, and Luis and Abhinav are implementing the Konkani and Marathi work plan respectively along with community liaison.
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 government.
Free Speech and Expression
- Regulatory Perspectives on Net Neutrality (Pranesh Prakash; July 8, 2015). Vidushi Marda and Tarun Krishnakumar assisted Pranesh Prakash in this.
- Free Speech Policy in India: Community, Custom, Censorship, and the Future of Internet Regulation (Bhairav Acharya; July 13, 2015).
- Net Neutrality and the Law of Common Carriage (Bhairav Acharya; July 14, 2015).
- Freedom of Expression in a Digital Age (Geetha Hariharan and Jyoti Panday; July 14, 2015). CIS, the Observer Research Foundation, the Internet Policy Observatory, the Centre for Global Communication Studies and the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania organized this conference on April 21, 2015 in New Delhi. Elonnai Hickok edited the report.
- Clearing Misconceptions: What the DoT Panel Report on Net Neutrality Says (and Doesn't) (Pranesh Prakash; July 21, 2015).
- Role of Intermediaries in Countering Online Abuse (Jyoti Panday; July 31, 2015). This got published as two blog entries in the NALSAR Law Tech Blog. Part 1 can be accessed here and Part 2 here.
- A Public Discussion on Criminal Defamation in India (Organized by CIS, the Network of Women in Media, India; and Media Watch; Bangalore; July 29, 2015). The event was a public discussion about the continued criminalisation of defamation in India.
Participation in Event
- Roundtable discussion on WHOIS (Organized by Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY), Govt. of India; July 28, 2015; New Delhi). Sunil Abraham and Vidushi Marda participated in the discussion remotely. Aditya Garg attended in person.
- Anti-Spam Laws in Different Jurisdictions: A Comparative Analysis (Rakshanda Deka; July 2, 2015).
- A Dissent Note to the Expert Committee for DNA Profiling (Elonnai Hickok; July 17, 2015). Click for DNA Bill Functions, DNA List of Offences, and CIS Note on DNA Bill. A modified version was published by Citizen Matters Bangalore on July 28.
- Privacy, Autonomy, and Sexual Choice: The Common Law Recognition of Homosexuality (Bhairav Acharya; July 18, 2015).
- Aadhaar Number vs the Social Security Number (Elonnai Hickok; July 21, 2015).
Participation in Event
- 7th Best Practices Meet 2015 (Organized by Data Security Council of India; Bangalore; July 9 – 10, 2015). Sunil Abraham was a panelist in the session "Architecting Security for transformation to Digital India". Elonnai Hickok was a panelist in the session "Steering privacy in the age of extreme innovation technology & business models."
- Cyber Security Series Part 23 (Purba Sarkar; July 13, 2015). CIS interviews a Tibetan security researcher and information activist.
- Cyber Security Series Part 24 (Purba Sarkar; July 15, 2015). CIS interviews Shantanu Ghosh, Managing Director, Symantec Product Operations, India, as part of the Cybersecurity Series.
- Iron out contradictions in the Digital India programme (Sumandro Chattapadhyay; Hindustan Times; July 28, 2015).
- First draft of Technology Business Incubators: An Indian Perspective and Implementation Guidance Report (Sunil Abraham, Vidushi Marda, Udbhav Tiwari and Anumeha Karnatak; July 25, 2015).
CIS is involved in promoting access and accessibility to telecommunications services and resources and has provided inputs to ongoing policy discussions and consultation papers published by TRAI. It has prepared reports on unlicensed spectrum and accessibility of mobile phones for persons with disabilities and also works with the USOF to include funding projects for persons with disabilities in its mandate:
- The Centrality of Cash Flows (Shyam Ponappa; Business Standard; July 1, 2015 and Organizing India Blogspot; July 2, 2015).
- Funding of National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) - Who's Accountable? (Aditya Garg; July 17, 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:
- WhatsApp and the Creation of a Transnational Sociality (Maitrayee Deka; July 1, 2015).
- Users and the Internet (Purbasha Auddy; July 10, 2015).
- Effective Activism: The Internet, Social Media, and Hierarchical Activism in New Delhi (Sarah McKeever; July 16, 2015).
- Studying the Internet Discourse in India through the Prism of Human Rights (Deva Prasad M.; July 22, 2015).
- 'Originality,' 'Authenticity,' and 'Experimentation': Understanding Tagore’s Music on YouTube) (Ipsita Sengupta; July 27, 2015).
CIS gave its inputs to the following media coverage:
- 'IRCTC’s Aadhaar play can violate SC order and derail National Security' (Shubhra Rishi; CIO.IN; July 1, 2015).
- The Digital Divide: pros and cons of Modi's latest big initiative (Suhas Munshi; July 2, 2015).
- Corporate push to Modi’s Rs.4.5-billion digital dream (Rakesh Kumar; The Statesman; July 13, 2015).
- Criminal Defamation: The Urgent Cause That has United Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and Subramanian Swamy (Betwa Sharma; Huffington Post; July 15, 2015).
- Five Nations, One Future? (Bjorn Ludtke, Ellen Lee, Jaideep Sen, Gwendolyn Ledger, David Nicholson, and Jesko Johannsen; Voestalpine; July 18, 2015).
- The scariest bill in Parliament is getting no attention – here’s what you need to know about it (Nayantara Narayanan; Scroll.in; July 24, 2015)
- Regulation, misuse concerns still dog DNA profiling bill (Nikita Mehta; Livemint; July 29, 2015)
The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) is a non-profit organisation that undertakes interdisciplinary research on internet and digital technologies from policy and academic perspectives. The areas of focus include digital accessibility for persons with diverse abilities, access to knowledge, intellectual property rights, openness (including open data, free and open source software, open standards, open access, open educational resources, and open video), internet governance, telecommunication reform, digital privacy, and cyber-security. The academic research at CIS seeks to understand the mediation and reconfiguration of social and cultural processes and structures by the internet and digital media technologies.
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► Request for Collaboration
We invite researchers, practitioners, artists, and theoreticians, both organisationally and as individuals, to engage with us on topics related internet and society, and improve our collective understanding of this field. To discuss such possibilities, please write to Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org (for policy research), or Sumandro Chattapadhyay, Research Director, at email@example.com (for academic research), with an indication of the form and the content of the collaboration you might be interested in. To discuss collaborations on Indic language Wikipedia projects, write to Tanveer Hasan, Programme Officer, Access to Knowledge, at firstname.lastname@example.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.