March 2013 Bulletin
The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) welcomes you to the third issue of its newsletter for the year 2013. In this issue we bring you an overview of our research programs, updates of events organised by us, events we participated in, news and media coverage, and videos of some of our recent events.
CIS invites applications for the posts of Developer (NVDA Screen Reader Project), Programme Officer (Access to Knowledge and Openness), and Programme Officer (Internet Governance). To apply send your resume to [email protected] and [email protected].
CIS is doing two projects in partnership with the Hans Foundation. One of this is to create a national resource kit of state-wise laws, policies and programmes on issues relating to persons with disabilities in India and another is for developing a screen reader and text-to- speech synthesizer for Indian languages. CIS is also working with the World Blind Union and many other organisations to develop a Treaty for the Visually Impaired helped by the WIPO:
National Resource Kit for Persons with Disabilities
Anandhi Viswanathan from CIS and Manojna Yeluri from the Centre for Law and Policy Research are working in this project. Draft chapters have been published. Feedback and comments are invited from readers for the chapters on Lakshadweep, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh:
- The Lakshadweep Chapter (by Anandhi Viswanathan, March 25, 2013): The union territory of Lakshadweep has not passed any legislation for persons with disabilities, but implements the provisions under the central laws. The benefits currently available to persons with disabilities in Lakshadweep include disability pension, unemployment allowance and grant for setting up kiosks.
- The Meghalaya Chapter (by Manojna Yeluri, March 25, 2013): Meghalaya is one of the few north-eastern states, which has appointed a Commissioner for Disabilities. Most of the schemes and benefits given to persons with disabilities in Meghalaya are under centrally sponsored schemes. Very few schemes are initiated by the state government.
- The Uttar Pradesh Chapter (by Manojna Yeluri, March 31, 2013): The Government of Uttar Pradesh has established shelter homes and vocational training centres in several parts of the states — most recently in Meerut, Bareilly and Gorakhpur. It has also undertaken to finance nearly 4340 corrective surgeries for polio across nine cities of Uttar Pradesh. It also intends to start several projects in 2013. These include the establishment of a Braille Press in order to produce Braille books, magazines and other study material.
We now have a new section on our website which contains all government notifications, RTI applications, and accessibility related resources: cases, statutes, etc. The following were published earlier this month:
- Information about Schemes for Disabled Persons in Haryana We received this notification on schemes and policies for persons with disabilities from the Government of Haryana.
- Haryana Government Notification (Hindi version): The notification that we received from the state government was in Hindi. We will put up the English translation soon.
- West Bengal (Govt) Notifications: We received a series of notifications from the West Bengal Government from its various departments such as finance, higher education, transport, health and family welfare, labour, land and land reforms, panchayats and rural development, etc. OCR versions of the same have been published.
- Lakshadweep (Govt) Notifications: Notifications received from the Lakshadweep Government including guidelines for functioning of KIOSKS, grant of unemployment allowance and special jobs to persons with disabilities, issuing identity card to persons with disabilities for availing government benefits, etc., are published. OCR versions have also been put up.
Event Participated In
- A Discussion on Intercept between UNCRPD & CEDAW (organized by the Shanta Memorial Institute of Rehabilitation – Odisha, CBR Network and Mitra Jyoti, Bangalore, Karnataka, February 4, 2013): Anandhi Viswanathan participated in this event.
The Wikimedia Foundation awarded CIS a two year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop the growth of Indic language communities and projects by community collaborations and partnerships. This is being carried out by the Access to Knowledge team based in Delhi. CIS is also doing a project (Pervasive Technologies) on examining the relationship between production of pervasive technologies and intellectual property. CIS also promotes openness including open government data, open standards, open access, and free/libre/open source software through its Openness programme.
Beginning from September 1, 2012, Wikimedia Foundation awarded CIS a two-year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop free knowledge in India. The A2K team consists of four members based in Delhi: T. Vishnu Vardhan, Nitika Tandon, Subhashish Panigrahi and Noopur Raval, and one team member Dr. U.B. Pavanaja who is working from Bangalore office.
Indic Wikipedia Visualisation Project
- Visualising Basic Parameters (by Sajjad Anwar and Sumandro Chattapadhyay, March 26, 2013): Sajjad and Sumandro bring you a visualisation of the growth of Indic Wikipedia in this first post on Indic Wikipedia Visualisation project. They look into the different aspects of the past and present activities of Indic Wikipedias, and divide the visualisation into three different focus areas: (1) basic parameters, (2) geographic patterns of edits, and (3) exploring the topics that receives the greatest number of edits.
- Introductory Wikipedia session at BITS Goa (organised by CIS, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, Goa, March 7, 2013). The Access to Knowledge team was invited by Nikhil Dixit from BITS to organise a Wikipedia editing session. Nitika Tandon led the session on IP editing.
- Kannada Wikipedia Workshop (organised by CIS, Institution of Engineers, JLB Road, Mysore, March 24, 2013). Dr. U.B. Pavanaja led this workshop.
- Wiki Women's Day in Goa (organised by the Wikimedia India Chapter and CIS, Nirmala Institute of Education, Panaji, Goa, March 8, 2013). Nitika Tandon participated in this workshop held on International Working Women's Day, and shares the developments in this report.
- Wikipedia Workshop for Kannada Science Writers (organised by Wikimedia India Chapter, Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishath and CIS, Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishath Conference Hall, Banashankari 2nd Stage, Bangalore, March 17, 2013). Dr. U.B. Pavanaja participated in the event.
- Telugu Wiki Mahotsavam 2013 (co-organised with the Telegu Wikipedia community, Hyderabad, April 9 to 11, 2013). Vishnu Vardhan is participating in this event as a speaker. A public event will be held on April 11 from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. at Golden Threshold (Sarojini Naidu's house) in Hyderabad.
- Wikipedia Women's Workshop Bangalore 2013 (organised by Wikimedia India, Servelots Infotech, Jayanagar, Bangalore, March 8, 2013). The event was covered by Kannada Prabha on March 9, 2013. Dr. U.B. Pavanaja participated in the event.
- Wikipedia at Avenir (organised by the Wikipedia community, Netaji Subhash Engineering College, Kolkata, West Bengal, March 11, 2013). CIS supported this event.
Event Report from Other Organisations
Wikipedia Community members helped the Higher Education Innovation and Research Applications Programme (HEIRA) of CSCS Bangalore to organize a day-long workshop on ‘Digital Literacy’ at Ahmednagar College, Ahmednagar, Maharasthra on January 17, 2013. Tanveer Hasan of HEIRA shares with us the developments in this report.
Other Openness Updates
- Iraqi Public Data Scenario Workshop: A Summary (by Sumandro Chattapadhyay, March 26, 2013): A workshop on public data was conducted by Sunil Abraham and Sumandro Chattapadhyay for the officials of the Government of Iraq. It was organized by UNDP Iraq in Amman, Jordan from October 18 to 23, 2012. Sumandro Chattapadhyay shares with us the developments from the workshop held over five days.
- Open DataCamp - 2013 (organized by Open Data Camp, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (inside Christ University Campus), Dairy Circle, Bangalore, March 2 and 3, 2013): Sunil Abraham was a panelist.
HasGeek creates discussion spaces for geeks and has organised conferences like the Fifth Elephant, Droidcon India 2011, Android Camp, etc. HasGeek is supported by CIS and works from the CIS office in Bengaluru.
- Pig Workshop (organized by HasGeek, Alchemy Solutions, Domlur, Bangalore, 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.): A workshop on how to use Pig for mining useful information from data. It is open to programmers who have a background in Java programming, some familiarity with Hadoop and MapReduce algorithms, and have worked with large chunks of data.
- The Fifth Elephant 2013 (organized by HasGeek, July 11 to 13, 2013, NIMHANS Convention Centre, Bangalore).
The Internet Governance programme conducts research around the various social, technical, and political underpinnings of global and national Internet governance, and includes online privacy, freedom of speech, and Internet governance mechanisms and processes. Currently, CIS is doing a project with Privacy International, London to facilitate research and events around surveillance, and freedom of speech and expression.
- Draft Human DNA Profiling Bill (April 2012): High Level Concerns (by Elonnai Hickok, March 12, 2013). The post examines the high level concerns that CIS has with the April 2012 draft of the Bill.
- Human DNA Profiling Bill 2012 Analysis (by Jeremy Gruber, Council for Responsible Genetics, US, March 19, 2013). Jeremy provides an analysis of the Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2012. He says that India’s updated 2012 Human DNA Profiling Bill offers largely superficial changes from its predecessor, the Draft DNA Profiling Bill, 2007.
- The Privacy (Protection) Bill 2013: A Citizen's Draft (by Bhairav Acharya, March 26, 2013). Bhairav Acharya has drafted the Privacy (Protection) Bill 2013. It contains provisions that speak to data protection, interception, and surveillance and also establishes the powers and functions of the Privacy Commissioner, and lays out offenses and penalties for contravention of the Bill. The Bill represents a citizen's version of possible privacy legislation for India, and will be shared with key stakeholders including civil society, industry, and government.
- A Privacy Round Table in Delhi (organized by CIS and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, FICCI Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi, April 3, 2013).
- A Privacy Round Table in Bangalore (organized by CIS and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Jayamahal Palace, Jayamahal Road, Bangalore, April 20, 2013).
- Analyzing the Draft Human DNA Profiling Bill 2012 (organized by the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, March 1, 2013): Maria Xynou shares a summary of the workshop in this report.
Events Participated In
- Global Partners Meeting @ London (organized by Privacy International, London School of Economics and Political Science, March 22 – 25, 2013). Sunil Abraham and Malavika Jayaram participated in the event.
- India’s Civil Liberties Crisis: Of Bans, Blocks, Bullying and Biometrics (organized by the Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, March 28, 2013). Malavika Jayaram participated as a speaker.
- Future of Privacy in India (organized by DSCI and ICOMP, Oberoi Hotel, New Delhi, April 5, 2013). Sunil Abraham is a speaker at this event.
- Hacking without borders: The future of artificial intelligence and surveillance (by Maria Xynou, March 15, 2013). In this post, Maria looks at some of DARPA´s artificial intelligence surveillance technologies in regards to the right to privacy and their potential future use in India.
- Driving in the Surveillance Society: Cameras, RFID tags and Black Boxes... (by Maria Xynou, March 26, 2013). Maria examines red light cameras, RFID tags and black boxes used to monitor vehicles in India.
- Microsoft Releases its First Report on Data Requests by Law Enforcement Agencies around the World (by Maria Xynou, March 27, 2013). CIS presents Microsoft´s report on law enforcement requests, with a focus on data requested by Indian law enforcement agencies.
- The Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2013 — Penalising 'Peeping Toms' and Other Privacy Issues (by Divij Joshi, March 31, 2013). The pending amendments to the Indian Penal Code, if passed in their current format, would be a huge boost for individual physical privacy by criminalising stalking and sexually-tinted voyeurism and removing the ambiguities in Indian law which threaten the privacy and dignity of individuals.
Featured Blog Post
- CIS Welcomes Standing Committee Report on IT Rules (by Pranesh Prakash, March 27, 2013). CIS welcomes the report by the Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation, in which it has lambasted the government and has recommended that the government amend the Rules it passed in April 2011 under section 79 of the Information Technology Act. The post was quoted in: The Times of India (March 28, 2013), The Statesman (March 28, 2013), Economic Times (March 28, 2013), Data Quest (March 28, 2013), and The Hindu (April 1, 2013).
Bhairav Acharya, on behalf of CIS submitted comments to the Committee on Subordinate Legislation of the 15th Lok Sabha for the following rules:
- Comments on the Information Technology (Electronic Service Delivery) Rules, 2011. The Rules were notified by the Central Government in the Gazette of India vide Notification GSR 316(E) on April 11, 2011.
- Comments on the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011. The Rules were notified by the Central Government in the Gazette of India vide Notification GSR 313(E) on April 11, 2011.
- Comments on the Information Technology (Guidelines for Cyber Cafe) Rules, 2011. The Rules were notified by the Central Government in the Gazette of India vide Notification GSR 315(E) on April 11, 2011.
Note: The above rules were submitted earlier but published on our website only recently.
Unique ID Project
- Unique Identity Number (UID), National Population Register (NPR), and Governance (organized by CIS and Say No to UID Campaign, TERI, Bangalore, March 2, 2013): CIS interviewed Usha Ramanathan and Anant Maringanti. Watch the videos uploaded in this blog post by Maria Xynou. This was covered in newzfirst on March 3, 2013 and in the Hindu on March 3, 2013.
- Unique Identification Scheme (UID) & National Population Register (NPR), and Governance (by Elonnai Hickok, March 14, 2013). The post examines the UID, NPR and Governance as it exists in India. A video on the UID interview Questions and Answers is published.
News and Media
- Indian ID crisis unveils Aadhaar doubts (ZDNet, March 14, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- New $1 Billion RIC Project Casts Doubts on Aadhaar (AEG India, March 16, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- India's Biometric Identification Programs and Privacy Concerns (by Divij Joshi, March 31, 2013).
Free Speech and Expression
News and Media
- Foreign Funding of NGOs (by Prashant Reddy, Open Magazine, March 2, 2013).
- Iceland’s proposed porn ban ‘like repression in Iran, N. Korea’ – activists (RT, March 1, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Chidambaram to Talk Budget on Google+ Hangout (by Dhanya Ann Thoppil, Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Responding to govt requests is a challenge for online firms: Colin Maclay (LiveMint, March 13, 2013). Colin M. Maclay, managing director of Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard mentioned CIS.
- Indian police set up lab to monitor social media (originally published by AFP, March 18, 2013, and also carried in Global Post on the same day). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Namaste, Mr. Eric Schmidt (by R. Jai Krishna, Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Parliament panel blasts govt over ambiguous internet laws (by Ishan Srivastava, The Times of India, March 28, 2013). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- What if the Net shut down for a few days (by Atul Sethi, The Times of India, March 30, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Press controls ‘send wrong message to rest of world’ (by Jerome Starkey from Johannesburg, Francis Elliott from Delhi and David Brown, The Times, UK).
- Freedom Song: Film Screening and Discussion (IIHS Bangalore City Campus, March 21, 2013). Freedom Song, a documentary film produced by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust and directed by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Subi Chaturvedi was screened.
Events Participated In
- Is Social Media Incredible? (organized by Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore, March 2, 2013). Snehashish Ghosh participated in a panel discussion. The New Indian Express published a post-event report.
- Rethinking the Internet: The Way Forward (organized by Telecom Italia and Financial iTimes, Telecom Italia Future Centre, Italy, March 21 – 22, 2013). Pranesh Prakash participated in this event.
- DML 2013: Fourth Annual Conference (co-organised by CIS and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub Central, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers - Chicago, Illinois, March 14 – 16, 2013). We had a special track that ran through the conference on "Whose Change Is It Anyway? Futures, Youth, Technology And Citizen Action In The Global South (And The Rest Of The World)". Noopur Raval was one of the 16 presenters that we had selected on the tracks. Nishant Shah was one of the members in the Conference Committee.
- WGIG+8: Stock-Taking, Mapping, and Going Forward (Fontenoy Building, conference room # 7, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, February 27, 2013). Pranesh Prakash was the moderator for the session. A summary of the discussion has been published.
- What’s In a Name? — DNS Singularity of ICANN and the Gold Rush (by Sharath Chandra Ram, March 31, 2013). March 2013 being the 28th birthday of the first ever registered Internet domain as well as the exigent launch of the Trademark Clearing House disguised as a milestone in rights protection by ICANN for its new gTLD program, Sharath Chandra Ram, dissects the transitory role of ICANN from being a technical outfit to the Boardroom Big Brother of Internet Governance.
- An Introduction to Bitfilm & Bitcoin in Bangalore, India (by Benson Samuel, March 12, 2013). Video of the event organized by CIS on January 23, 2013 is published in this blog post.
CIS in partnership with the Ford Foundation is executing a project on Internet Access. It covers the history of the internet, technologies involved, principle and values of internet access, broadband market and universal access and will touch upon various polices and regulations which has an impact on internet access and bodies and mechanism which are responsible for formulation policies related to internet access. The blog posts and modules will be published in a new website: www.internet-institute.in.
We are hosting an “Institute on Internet and Society” in collaboration with the Ford Foundation India, which is to be held from June 8, 2013 to June 14, 2013. Call for registration and relevant details will be announced soon on our website.
The following units have been published:
- Internet Protocols (by Srividya Vaidyanathan, March 18, 2013).
- How email works, how do you get your email? Email Protocols (SMTP, POP, IMAP), SPAM/Phishing (by Srividya Vaidyanathan, March 19, 2013).
- Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (by Snehashish Ghosh, March 19, 2013).
- ITU sectors — ITU-R, ITU-T, ITU-D, etc. (by Snehashish Ghosh, March 27, 2013).
- World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 (by Snehashish Ghosh, March 29, 2013).
CIS is involved in promoting access and accessibility of 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:
- Are India's Glory Days Over? (by Shyam Ponappa, Organizing India Blogspot, March 8, 2013, originally published in the Business Standard, March 6, 2013).
Digital Natives with a Cause? examines the changing landscape of social change and political participation in light of 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 critically engage with discourse on youth, technology and social change, and look at alternative practices and ideas in the Global South:
Events Participated In
- Video Vortex # 9 Re:assemblies of Video (organized by the Institute of Network Cultures, Post Media Lab, Moving Image Lab, Leuphana, et.al, February 28 – March 2, 2013). Nishant Shah gave the key note. Videos of the event are published.
From 2012 to 2015, the Researchers @ Work series is focusing on building research clusters in the field of Digital Humanities. We organised the first Habits of Living workshops in Bangalore last year. The next workshop is being held in Brown University
- Habits of Living: Networked Affects, Glocal Effects (co-organised with Brown University, March 21 – 23, 2013, Brown University, Rhode Island). Nishant Shah was a speaker at this event. He made a presentation on network ontologies.
- Korean Trans Cine-Media in Global Contexts: Asia and the World (organized by Trans-Asia Screen Culture Institute, Cinema Studies, Korean National University of Arts, Korean Film Archive and Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University, Seoul, March 27 – 29, 2013). Nishant Shah was a speaker at this event. He spoke on "The Asian Intercourse: Reimagining the Inter-Asia moment through ‘net-porn’ in networks".
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.
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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 [email protected] or Nishant Shah, Director – Research, at [email protected]
CIS is grateful to its donors, Wikimedia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Privacy International, UK, Hans Foundation and the 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.