Centre for Internet & Society

Newsletter for the month of March.

We are happy to share with you the third issue of the CIS newsletter (March 2015). The past editions of the newsletter can be accessed at http://cis-india.org/about/newsletters.

Highlights

  • In a landmark judgement upholding the freedom of expression, the Supreme Court of India on March 24, 2015 struck down a provision (Section 66 A of the IT Act) which provided the power to arrest anyone for posting offensive comments online. Geetha Hariharan in her blog post captures the happenings which led to the court ruling.
  • CIS in partnership with Privacy International is doing the GSMA project that seeks to understand different legal and regulatory aspects of security and surveillance in India. The research outputs published thus far are now online in a consolidated blog post.
  • CIS as part of its RAW programme is inviting abstracts for essays that explore what it means to study Internet(s) in India today.
  • CIS is pleased to announce that the Researchers at Work (RAW) programme is supporting a new collaborative publishing project led by T.A.J. Residency / SKE Projects and or-bits.com. The first volume of the series titled 'Silicon Plateau' will feature contributions by a group of well-known artists, researchers, and writers.
  • Sumandro Chattapadhyay's paper titled 'Whose Open Data Community is it? Reflections on the Open Data Ecosystem in India' has been accepted for presentation at the Open Data Research Symposium to be held during the 3rd International Open Data Conference in Ottawa, Canada, on May 28-29 2015.
  • CIS has been invited to contribute two sections to the Asia Internet History - Third Decade (2001 - 2010) book edited by Dr. Kilnam Chon. The sections will discuss the activities and experiences of civil society organisations in Asia and India, respectively, in national, regional, and global Internet governance processes. Draft outlines of the sections are shared here . Comments and suggestions are invited.
  • In his monthly column published in the Business Standard on March 4, 2015, Shyam Ponappa writes "systems and methods for access through elements that provide connectivity - spectrum, fibre-optic cable, coaxial cable, or "twisted-pairs" for ADSL - must be devised in an integrated manner and made available at low cost.
  • NVDA team as part of its project on developing text-to-speech software in 15 Indian languages has published key updates ofBengali and Assamese language testing.
  • In the year 2013 Nehaa Chaudhari had worked on a module on IP Rights for UNESCO's Open Access Curriculum. The module was published recently and is available under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 IGO license.
  • Rohini Lakshané in a blog post chronicles information about big-ticket lawsuits pertaining to mobile technology patents filed in India.

► Vacancies at CIS

CIS is seeking applications for these posts:

  • Assistant Project Manager : To assist the Project Manager on all tasks relating to the organization of the Fourth Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, which will take place in New Delhi from December 15-17, 2015.
  • Internship : CIS is providing opportunities for students enrolled in graduate programmes to undertake internship at its offices in Bangalore and Delhi. Eligible candidates are welcome to participate in our internship programme.

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Accessibility and Inclusion

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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

Monthly Updates

Language Testing Reports

Event Organized

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Access to Knowledge
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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.

►Pervasive Technologies

As part of the Pervasive Technologies project, Rohini Lakshané has written a blog entry that chronicles information on big-ticket lawsuits pertaining to mobile technology patents filed in India. As part of broader Access to Knowledge work UNESCO published a module on Intellectual Property Rights, Copyright and Alternative to a Strict Copyright Regime.

Module Units

  • Intellectual Property Rights - Open Access for Researchers (Nehaa Chaudhari; March 19, 2015, UNESCO). Nehaa worked on a module on Intellectual Property Rights for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)'s Open Access Curriculum (Curriculum for Researchers) as part of a project for the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia. UNESCO published the module this year. Nehaa Chaudhari and Varun Baliga were among the Module preparation team. Nehaa Chaudhari was the writer for Units 1, 2 and 3: Understanding Intellectual Property Rights, Copyright and Alternative to a Strict Copyright Regime.

Blog Entries


Participation in Events

  • Conference on Standards Setting Organisations (SSOs) and FRAND (Organized by MHRD Chair on Intellectual Property Rights, Centre for Intellectual Property Rights and Advocacy (CIPRA), National Law School of India University, Bangalore, in association with Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd.; Bangalore; March 21-22, 2015). Rohini Lakshané participated in this event.
  • 4th IPR Researchers Confluence (Organized by Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai and National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai with support from Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi; March 27 - 28, 2015). Maggie Huang presented intermediary findings of the research entitled "India's Music Copyright Management in the Age of Music Streaming".

Media Coverage

►Wikipedia

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).

Announcements

  • Open Proposal for Funding : CIS has prepared an open proposal for funding for about USD 208,603 from the Wikimedia Foundation. CIS is inviting comments on the proposal. CIS is proposing to contribute to the qualitative and quantitative growth of 12 Wikimedia projects across 9 Indian languages and associated communities, in addition to providing need based support to other Indic communities.
  • Access to Knowledge Work Plan : CIS has prepared the India Access to Knowledge work plan (July 2015 to June 2016). The work plan consists of 18 programs across 6 verticals. These include eight programs in five language areas, two community strengthening initiatives, five stand-alone Wikimedia projects, creating movement resources, publicity, research and documentation, and general support and service to the movement.

Event Organized

Blog Entry

Participation in Event

  • 2nd National Language Conference, Bhubaneswar (Organized by Institute of Odia Studies and Research; Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar; March 30 - April 2, 2015). Subhashish Panigrahi presented a paper in Odia language in this conference as part of a panel discussion related to Odia language computing.

News and Media Coverage

CIS-A2K team gave its inputs to the following media coverage:

Events Co-organized

  • Women's History Month - India (Organized by CIS-A2K and Wikimedia India; India, March 2015). March 8 is International Women's Day, and to celebrate this women in India organized edit-a-thons and meetups to create and expand articles of importance to women in Wikipedia in English and various Indian languages. Online events were organized for these Wikipedias: Bengali , Punjabi , Odia , Marathi , Kannada and Malayalam .

►Openness

Media Coverage

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Internet Governance
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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.

►Freedom of Expression

India's Apex Court in a landmark decision struck down section 66A of the IT Act. The judgment provided great relief for advocates of freedom of speech on the Internet. The development attracted lots of media coverage to which CIS gave its inputs:

Articles

Blog Entries

· 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 #7: Globalisation Advisory Groups and DIDP Request #8: ICANN Organogram.

Participation in Events

  • Tech Law Form @ NALSAR (Organized by NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad; March 7 and 8, 2015). Geetha Hariharan participated as a speaker.
  • Roundtable on ICANN Accountability (Organized by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), National Internet Exchange of India and Centre for Communication Governance, National Law University, Delhi; March 13, 2015).

►Privacy

Research Outputs

CIS in collaboration with Privacy International, UK as part of GSMA project is conducting research to understand different legal and regulatory aspects of security and surveillance in India. The following outputs have been published: Indian Law and the Necessary Proportionate Principles (Elonnai Hickok), Security, Surveillance and Data Sharing Schemes and Bodies in India (Maria Xynou and Elonnai Hickok), Export and Import of Security Technologies in India: QA (Elonnai Hickok), Regulation of CCTV's in India (Elonnai Hickok), Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) and Cross Border Sharing of Information in India (Maria Xynou and Elonnai Hickok), Composition of Service Providers in India (Lovisha Aggarwal), The Surveillance and Security Industry in India - An Analysis of Indian Security Expos (Divij Joshi), An Analysis of News Items and Cases on Surveillance and Digital Evidence in India (Lovisha Aggarwal), Policy Recommendations for Surveillance Law in India and an Analysis of Legal Provisions on Surveillance in India and the Necessary & Proportionate Principles (Maria Xynou), The Surveillance Industry in India (Maria Xynou), and State of Cyber Security and Surveillance in India: A Review of the Legal Landscape (Elonnai Hickok).

Event Organized

Participation in Events

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News & Media Coverage
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CIS gave its inputs to the following media coverage:

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Researchers at Work
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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:

Announcements

  • Call for Essays: Studying Internet in India : CIS is inviting abstracts for essays that explore what it means to study Internet(s) in India today, the many experiences of Internet(s) in India; its histories and archaeologies; how we use it to read, write, create, relate, learn, and share. Please send abstracts (200 words) to raw@cis-india.org.
  • Announcing Silicon Plateau #01 : The RAW programme is supporting a new collaborative publishing project led by T.A.J. Residency / SKE Projects and or-bits.com. The first volume of the series titled 'Silicon Plateau' will feature contributions by a group of artists, researchers, and writers, including IOCOSE, Tara Kelton, Anil Menon, Sunita Prasad, Achal Prabhala and Sreshta Rit Premnath, along with contextual writing and documentation material. Here is an excerpt from the editorial note written by Marialaura Ghidini, the co-editor of the volume.
  • Whose Open Data Community is it? - Accepted Abstract (Sumandro Chattapadhyay; March 31, 2015). The paper 'Whose Open Data Community is it? Reflections on the Open Data Ecosystem in India' has been accepted for presentation at the Open Data Research Symposium to be held during the 3rd International Open Data Conference in Ottawa, Canada, on May 28-29 2015.

Event Organized

  • Digital Activism in Asia Reader (Organized by CIS; Bangalore; March 6-7, 2015). The project is a collaborative effort of CIS and the Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University, Germany, which aims to bring together local knowledge, debates and conversations around Digital Activism in Asia. The Digital Activism in Asia Reader is expected to be published by the Hybrid Publishing Lab in mid-2015.

Blog Entries

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Telecom
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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:

Op-ed

Blog Entry

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About CIS
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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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► 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 sunil@cis-india.org. To discuss collaborations on Indic language Wikipedia, write to T. Vishnu Vardhan, Programme Director, A2K, at vishnu@cis-india.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.