July 2016 Newsletter
Welcome to the July 2016 newsletter of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS).
For us at CIS, July was filled with a a wonderful diversity of activities, opportunities, windows, and future gazing. We made a crucial intervention by bringing attention to the misrepresentation of India's position at the UNHRC meeting by global media, and continued our contribution to the drafting of the open data license by Government of India.
We made a submission to the Ministry of Home Affairs to reject the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, and also appealed to the MPs to re-examine the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). We contributed to the making of an open source typeface and input tools for the Santhali language. We were studying developmental initiatives driven by big data in three parts of India (more on that in the August newsletter), mapping the emerging global governance frameworks for big data in development, and planning our future steps in this field. We initiated a study of digital transitions in Indian newspapers with support from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at University of Oxford, and also produced a series of analysis of industrial policy engagements by NASSCOM and iSPIRT.
We also kept pushing digital and new media research in India through our annual call for essays (abstracts have been accepted), and a brilliant talk on game studies and storytelling by Dr. Souvik Mukherjee. We were busy, and happily so.
- Sumandro Chattapadhyay
Previous issues of the newsletters can be accessed here.
CIS in the News
CIS gave inputs to the following media coverage:
- FB & Google have already monopolised Indian cyberspace (Asad Ali; Catch News; July 3, 2016)
- Cyberstalkers, the new bullies in town (S. Poorvaja; Hindu; July 4, 2016).
- TRAI Free Data paper: Paytm to Hike, the responses from other companies (Indian Express; July 5, 2016).
- India No Haven For Net Freedom But It Did Not Oppose UN Move on Internet Rights (Anuj Srinivas; The Wire; July 6, 2016).
- India may not be guilty of opposing UN move to save internet rights (Ciol; July 7, 2016).
- Flashpoint #TrollControl: Maneka versus NCW (Times Now Television, July 8, 2016).
- Place for a safety net (The Telegraph; July 10, 2016).
- Tamil Nadu likely to hold Facebook accountable for suicide case (V. Prem Shanker; Economic Times, July 13, 2016).
- Belling the trolls (Bishakha Datta; India Today; July 13, 2016).
- Mandatory Aadhaar card for govt scholarships violates SC order (Neelam Pandey and Aloke Tikku; Hindustan Times, July 15, 2016).
- It's That Eavesdrop Endemic (Arindam Mukherjee; Outlook; July 25, 2016).
- Facebook is censoring some posts on Indian Kashmir (Rama Lakshmi; Washington Post; July 27, 2016).
- Art, Science and Open Electromagnetic Spectrum Culture [ENG] (Creative Disturbance Platform; July 31, 2016).
CIS members wrote the following articles:
- The Gay Pride Charade (Nishant Shah; Indian Express; July 3, 2016).
- How are Indian Newspapers Adapting to the Rise of Digital Media? (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism; Sumandro Chattapadhyay; July 5, 2016).
- One Pokémon to Rule Them All (Nishant Shah; Indian Express; July 17, 2016).
- No, India did NOT oppose the United Nations move to “make internet access a human right” (Pranesh Prakash and Japreet Grewal; Factordaily; July 13, 2016).
- New Approaches to Information Privacy – Revisiting the Purpose Limitation Principle (Amber Sinha; Digital Policy Portal; July 13, 2016).
-------------------------------------India has an estimated 70 million persons with disabilities who don't have access to read printed materials due to some form of physical, sensory, cognitive or other disability. As part of our endeavour to make available accessible content for persons with disabilities, we are developing a text-to-speech software in 15 languages with support from the Hans Foundation. The progress made so far in the project can be accessed here.
►NVDA and eSpeak
- July 2016 Report (Suman Dogra; July 31, 2016).
Our Access to Knowledge programme currently consists of two projects. The Pervasive Technologies project, conducted under a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), aims to conduct research on the complex interplay between low-cost pervasive technologies and intellectual property, in order to encourage the proliferation and development of such technologies as a social good. The Wikipedia project, which is 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.
►Copyright and Patent
- Letter to MPs on Concerns on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (Anubha Sinha; July 27, 2016).
- USTR elaborates the Two Dozen Digital Rules of Club TPP (Anubha Sinha; July 29, 2016).
Participation in Events
- Mapping & Mobility (Organized by Carnegie India; June 28, 2016). Anubha Sinha attended the event.
- Workshop on Declaration on Patents Protection: Regulatory Sovereignty under TRIPS (Organized by the Inter-University Centre for IPR Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development; Institute for Studies in Industrial Development, Institutional Area, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; July 12 - 13, 2016). Sunil Abraham was a speaker.
- 3rd International Conference on Management of Intellectual Property Rights and Strategy (Organized by Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, at IIT Bombay, through the MHRD IPR Chair; July 15-16, 2016). Anubha Sinha was a speaker on the 'Negotiating India's IP Policy" panel.
- India and Regional Mega-Trade Agreements (Organized by Observer Research Foundation; New Delhi; July 25, 2016). Anubha Sinha participated in a panel discussion on "India and Regional Mega-Trade Agreements" with Ambassador Robert Holleyman, Deputy US Trade Representative and Ambassador Shyam Saran, Chairman, Research and Information System for Developing Countries.
- Live Webinar on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (Organized by RCEP; New Delhi; July 27, 2016).
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).
- ತರಬೇತಿ ಮಾಡಲು ತರಬೇತಿಗೊಂಡಾಗ.... CIS-A2K TTT 2016 (Dhanalakshmi; July 3, 2016).
Participation in Event
- Architectures of Knowledge (Organized by Columbia's Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities; Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; July 4, 2016). Rohini Lakshané was a speaker.
- The Digital Oxygen for Odia Language (My City Links; July 4, 2016).
- Open Source Effort gives Indigenous Language an Official Typeface (Subhashish Panigrahi; Opensource.com; July 8, 2016).
- Comments on the 'Government Open Data Use License - India' (Anubha Sinha, Pranesh Prakash, and Sumandro Chattapadhyay; July 26, 2016).
- Open Data Charter Lead Stewards In-Person Meeting (Organized by Open Data Charter; Mexico; July 4 and 5, 2016). Sunil Abraham participated remotely.
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 IDRC) is on surveillance and freedom of expression (SAFEGUARDS). The second one (under a grant from MacArthur Foundation) is on restrictions that the Indian government has placed on freedom of expression online.
- Analysis of the Report of the Group of Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security and Implications for India (Elonnai Hickok and Vipul Kharbanda; July 30, 2016)
- Trans Pacific Partnership and Digital 2 Dozen: Implications for Data Protection and Digital Privacy (Shubhangi Heda; July 12, 2016).
- Stand up for Digital Rights (CIS, New Delhi; July 29, 2016).
Participation in Event
- Privacy Law and impact of emergent technology (National Law School of India University; Bangalore; July 12, 2016). Amber Sinha taught an elective full credit course for final year undergraduate students.
- Big Data Governance Frameworks for 'Data Revolution for Sustainable Development' (Meera Manoj; July 5, 2016).
►Freedom of Expression
- Perumal Murugan and the Law on Obscenity (Japreet Grewal; July 21, 2016).
CIS sought a series of information from ICANN on various topics. The DIDP Requests and the responses solicited were compiled and published by Asvatha Babu:
- Exactly how involved is ICANN in the NETmundial Initiative?
- ICANN does not know how much each RIR contributes to its Budget
- Keeping track of ICANN’s contracted parties: Registries
- Keeping track of ICANN’s contracted parties: Registrars
- What is going on between Verisign and ICANN?
- ICANN has no Documentation on Registrars’ “Abuse Contacts”
- How ICANN Chooses their Contractual Compliance Auditors
- ICANN’s Internal Website will Stay Internal
- ICANN’s role in the Postponement of the IANA Transition
- Is Presumptive Renewal of Verisign’s Contracts a Good Thing?
- ICANN’s Relationship with the RIRs
- Reconsideration Requests from Parties affected by ICANN Action
- ICANN does not Know how Diverse its Comment Section Is
- Curbing Sexual Harassment at ICANN
- On ICANN’s support to new gTLD Applicants
- ICANN renews Verisign’s RZM Contract?
Participation in Events
- Safety Net (Organized by APC and Point of View; Mumbai; July 11, 2016). Rohini Lakshané was a trainer.
- Meeting on Net Neutrality and Related Issues (Organized by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India; July 15, 2016; New Delhi). Sunil Abraham attended the meeting.
- Digital in South Asia (Organized by World Economic Forum; July 19, 2016; Bangalore). Sunil Abraham attended this event.
- Roundtable: Identifying and Limiting Hate Speech and Harassment Online (Organized by SFLC; New Delhi; July 28, 2016). Japreet Grewal attended the event.
The Researchers at Work (RAW) programme is an interdisciplinary research initiative driven by an emerging need to understand the reconfigurations of social practices and structures through the Internet and digital media technologies, and vice versa. It aims to produce local and contextual accounts of interactions, negotiations, and resolutions between the Internet, and socio-material and geo-political processes:
- How are Indian Newspapers Adapting to the Rise of Digital Media? (Sumandro Chattapadhyay; July 6, 2016).
- Digital Transition in Newspapers in India: A Pilot Study (Zeenab Aneez; July 19, 2016).
- Policy Shaping in the Indian IT Industry: Recommendations by NASSCOM, 2006-2012 (Pavishka Mittal; July 1, 2016).
- Policy Shaping in the Indian IT Industry: Comparative Analysis of Recommendations by NASSCOM and iSPIRT, 2013-2016 (Pavishka Mittal; July 4, 2016).
- Policy Shaping in the Indian IT Industry: Recommendations by NASSCOM on Transfer Pricing, 2014-2016 (Pavishka Mittal; July 27, 2016).
- RBI and Regulation of Digital Financial Services in India, 2012-2016 (Shivalik Chandan; July 11, 2016).
- Studying Internet in India (2016): Selected Abstracts (Sumandro Chattapadhyay; July 5, 2016).
Participated in Event
- The Data Explosion – How the Internet of Things will Affect Media Freedom and Communication Systems? (Sumandro Chattapadhyay was a panelist at this session organised by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the Deutsche Welle's Global Media Forum 2016, held in Bonn, Germany; June 13-15, 2016.
- Game Studies: A Talk by Dr. Souvik Mukherjee (CIS, Bangalore, July 28, 2016). Dr. Souvik Mukherjee, Assistant Professor, Presidency University, Calcutta gave a talk on game studies, digital media, internet cultures and traditional humanities.
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 reconfigurations of social and cultural processes and structures as mediated through the internet and digital media technologies.
► Follow us elsewhere
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/cis_india
- Twitter - Access to Knowledge: https://twitter.com/CISA2K
- Twitter - Information Policy: https://twitter.com/CIS_InfoPolicy
- Facebook - Access to Knowledge: https://www.facebook.com/cisa2k
- E-Mail - Access to Knowledge: [email protected]
- E-Mail - Researchers at Work: [email protected]
- List - Researchers at Work: https://lists.ghserv.net/mailman/listinfo/researchers
► Support Us
► 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 [email protected] (for policy research), or Sumandro Chattapadhyay, Research Director, at [email protected] (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, at [email protected].