March 2011 Bulletin
Greetings from the Centre for Internet and Society! In this issue we are pleased to present you the latest updates about our research, upcoming events, and news and media coverage.
RAW is a multidisciplinary research initiative. CIS believes that in order to understand the contemporary concerns in the field of Internet and society, it is necessary to produce local and contextual accounts of the interaction between the Internet and socio-cultural and geo-political structures. To build original research knowledge base, the RAW programme has been collaborating with different organisations and individuals to focus on its three year thematic of Histories of the Internets in India. Monographs finalised from these projects are online for peer review.
New Blog Entry by Zainab Bawa in Transparency and Politics
Digital Natives with a Cause?
Digital Natives with a Cause? is a knowledge programme initiated by CIS and Hivos, Netherlands. It is a research inquiry that seeks to look at the changing landscape of social change and political participation and 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 want to critically engage with the dominant discourse on youth, technology and social change, in order to look at the alternative practices and ideas in the Global South. It also aims at building new ecologies that amplify and augment the interventions and actions of the digitally young as they shape our futures.
Column on Digital Natives
A fortnightly column on ‘Digital Natives’ authored by Nishant Shah is featured in the Sunday Eye, the national edition of Indian Express, Delhi, from 19 September 2010 onwards. The following was published recently:
- Watson knows the Question [Indian Express, March 6, 2011]
Blog Entries by Maesey Angelina
Maesey Angelina works as a programme officer at Hivos, Jakarta on gender, women and development while exploring research initiatives on Digital Natives in Indonesia. She spent one month in CIS, working on her dissertation, exploring the Blank Noise project under the Digital Natives with a Cause framework. She writes a series of blog entries. The new ones are:
Blog Entries by Samuel Tettner
Samuel Tettner is a Digital Natives Coordinator in CIS. He has written the following blog entries:
- I Believe that .......... should be a Right in the Digital Age
- Science, Technology and Society International Conference – Some Afterthoughts
Estimates of the percentage of the world's population that is disabled vary considerably. But what is certain is that if we count functional disability, then a large proportion of the world's population is disabled in one way or another. At CIS we work to ensure that the digital technologies, which empower disabled people and provide them with independence, are allowed to do so in practice and by the law. To this end, we support web accessibility guidelines, and change in copyright laws that currently disempower the persons with disabilities.
- Note on the Authorities under the Working Draft of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2011 (9th February 2011)
CIS believes that access to knowledge and culture is essential as it promotes creativity and innovation and bridges the gaps between the developed and developing world positively. Hence, the campaigns for an international treaty on copyright exceptions for print-impaired, advocating against PUPFIP Bill, calls for the WIPO Broadcast Treaty to be restricted to broadcast, questioning the demonization of 'pirates', and supporting endeavours that explore and question the current copyright regime. Its latest endeavour has resulted into these:
- Pirates, Plagiarisers, Publishers [ Written by Prashant Iyengar and originally published in the Economic & Political Weekly, February 26, 2011, Vol XLVI No 9]
- Comments to the Ministry on WIPO Broadcast Treaty (March 2011)
- Design!publiC [Taj Vivanta, New Delhi, March 18, 2011]
- Open Access to Scientific Information Indian International Centre [New Delhi, March 16, 2011]
Although there may not be one centralized authority that rules the Internet, the Internet does not just run by its own volition: for it to operate in a stable and reliable manner, there needs to be in place infrastructure, a functional domain name system, ways to curtail cyber crime across borders, etc. The Tunis Agenda of the second World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), paragraph 34 defined Internet governance as “the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.” CIS involvement in the field of Internet governance has taken the following shape:
- The Draft Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, 2011 – Comments by CIS
- Policy for Government's Presence in Social Media - Recommendations
- RTI Applications on Blocking of Websites
CIS is doing a project, ‘Privacy in Asia’. It is funded by Privacy International (PI), UK and the International Development Research Centre, Canada and is being administered in collaboration with the Society and Action Group, Gurgaon. The two-year project commenced on 24 March 2010 and will be completed as agreed to by the stakeholders. It was set up with the objective of raising awareness, sparking civil action and promoting democratic dialogue around challenges and violations of privacy in India. In furtherance of these goals it aims to draft and promote over-arching privacy legislation in India by drawing upon legal and academic resources and consultations with the public.
- Privacy Matters - A Public Conference in Ahmedabad [Ahmedabad, March 26, 2011]
- Public Talk by Dr. Ian Brown on Privacy, Trust and Biometrics [Centre for Contemporary Studies, IISc, Bangalore, March 21, 2011]
- Electronication: Ragas and the Future [Jaaga, Bangalore, March 6, 2011]
- Role of the Internet in Fostering Freedom of Expression and Strengthening Activism in India - A Workshop in Delhi [Constitution Club, New Delhi, March 4, 2011]
- Global Challenges to Freedom of Expression [Constitution Club, New Delhi, March 4, 2011]
The growth in telecommunications in India has been impressive. While the potential for growth and returns exist, a range of issues need to be addressed for this potential to be realized. One aspect is more extensive rural coverage and the second aspect is a countrywide access to broadband which is low at about eight million subscriptions. Both require effective and efficient use of networks and resources, including spectrum. It is imperative to resolve these issues in the common interest of users and service providers. CIS campaigns to facilitate this:
Shyam Ponappa is a Distinguished Fellow at CIS. He writes regularly on Telecom issues in the Business Standard and these articles are mirrored on the CIS website as well.
- Big-Bang Budgets? [published in the Business Standard on March 3, 2011]
CIS is organising some conferences/workshops in the month of March/April:
- Web Sites Accessibility Evaluation Methodologies: A New Imperative for State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities[Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad]
- Shadow Search Project (SSP) in CIS [CIS, Bangalore]
- Facebook Resistance Workshop [CIS, Bangalore]
News & Media Coverage
- Networking its way to better governance (Hindu, March 28, 2011]
- ‘Learn from failed UK NIR project’ (Deccan Chronicle, March 22, 2011]
- Design!publiC - News from Livemint (Livemint, March 18, 2011)
- Muzzling the Internet (Outlook, March 17, 2011)
- Battle for the Internet (Down to Earth, Issue: March 15, 2011)
- Cause and effect Facebook-style (Hindustan Times, March 13, 2011)
- Catch-all approach to Net freedom draws activist ire (Sunday Guardian, March 13, 2011)
- Lives suspended in the Web (Indian Express, March 11, 2011)
- Draft IT guidelines may gag internet freedom (Times of India, March 11, 2011)
- Govt proposal to muzzle bloggers sparks outcry (Times of India, March 10, 2011)
- New Indian Rules May Make Online Censorship Easier (Yahoo News, March 7, 2011)
- Anti-Social Network (Mail Today, February 27, 2011)
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CIS is grateful to 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.