May 2013 Bulletin
The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) welcomes you to the fifth issue of its newsletter for 2013. We bring you an overview of our research, report of events held by us and announcement of upcoming ones, events we participated in, and recent media coverage.
Celebrating 5 Years of CIS
CIS is now 5 years old and we just celebrated this by holding an open exhibition in our offices in Bangalore and Delhi from May 20 to 23, showcasing our work and accomplishments over the period. We had about 170 visitors from the general public coming in to our office. Renowned artists like Tara Kelton, Kiran Subbaiah, Navin Thomas, Abhishek Hazra and Sharath Chandra Ram exhibited their work. The four day event attracted press coverage: Bangalore Mirror (May 18, 2013), DNA (May 19, 2013), Hindu (May 22, 2013), Prajavani (May 23, 2013), Udayavani (May 25, 2013) and Bangalore Mirror (May 31, 2013). Download all posters that were part of the exhibition here.
Google Policy Fellowship
CIS is inviting applications for the Google Policy Fellowship programme. Google is providing a USD 7,500 stipend to the India fellow who will be selected by July 1, 2013. The Fellowship focus areas include Access to Knowledge, Openness in India, Freedom of Expression, Privacy, and Telecom. Send in your applications for the position by June 15, 2013.
CIS invites applications for the posts of Developer (NVDA Screen Reader Project), and Programme Officer (Internet Governance). To apply send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
CIS is doing two projects in partnership with the Hans Foundation. One 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 for developing a screen reader and text-to- speech synthesizer for Indian languages. CIS is also working with the World Blind Union and other similar 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 Sikkim and Odisha:
- The Sikkim Chapter (by Manojna Yeluri, May 30, 2013).
- The Odisha Chapter (by Anandhi Viswanathan, May 31, 2013).
Note: All of these are early drafts and will be reviewed and updated.
- Survey on Banking Accessibility (by Vrinda Maheshwari, May 30, 2013). G3ict is a survey on accessibility of financial services in banks for persons with disabilities around the world. The survey is available here.
- Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 9, 2013, TERI, Southern Regional Centre, Domlur, Bangalore).
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.
Access to Knowledge (Wikipedia)
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 three members based in Bangalore: T. Vishnu Vardhan, Dr. U.B. Pavanaja and Subhashish Panigrahi and one team member Nitika Tandon who is working from Delhi office. Noopur Raval, Programme Officer has left the organisation. April 24, 2013 was her last working day.
- Access to Knowledge Work Plan (April 2013 - June 2014): CIS has announced its detailed plan detailed plan with projection of outcomes and expected impact of the A2K programme activities. The document has been made in consultation with various stakeholders and keeping in mind the objectives, opportunities and challenges faced by each of the Indian language Wikimedia projects. Feel free to share any feedback.
- WMF-A2K Revised Budget (draft) and Utilization (Sept 2012 - Feb 2013): In our effort to increase transparency with the working of CIS-A2K programme, we are sharing with you the A2K Programme Budget along with the Utilization for the period Sept. 2012 to February 2013. The proposed revisions to the budget along with some notes are here.
- WMF-A2K Grant Budget and Utilization (Sept 2012 – February 2013): CIS has given an open disclosure of the Access to Knowledge budget to Wikimedia India and the global community.
- CIS Signs MOU with TISS, Mumbai: has signed a MoU with TISS as part of which we will collaboratively work towards building Digital Knowledge Partnerships with select higher education institutions.
- India Access to Knowledge IRC can be accessed here: May 13, 2013 (All Language Discussion) and May 26, 2013 (Odia Language Discussion).
- Odia Wikipedia: Needs Assessment (by Subhashish Panigrahi, May 11, 2013).
- Access to Knowledge Work Plan: Synopsis of Feedback by Wikipedians (by Nitika Tandon, May 20, 2013).
- Wikipedia Introductory Session organized for Data and India portal consultants (by Subhashish Panigrahi, May 30, 2013).
- Kannada Wikipedia Workshop (April 29, 2013, Govinda Pai Research Centre, MGM College Udupi). Dr. U.B. Pavanaja led the workshop and gave a talk on Kannada Wikipedia
Event Participated In
- Kannada IRC Meet (organised by the Wikipedia Community, May 7, 2013). Dr. U.B. Pavanaja participated in this.
- Digital Humanities for Indian Higher Education (co-organised in collaboration with HEIRA-CSCS, Tumkur University, CILHE-TISS and CCS (IISc), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, July 13, 2013).
- CIS Celebrates 5 Years: A Report in Prajavani (Prajavani, May 23, 2013). Prajavani published a report of Dr. U.B. Pavanja’s talk “From Palm Leaf to Tablet – Journey of Kannada”.
- CIS Celebrates 5 Years: A Report in Udayavani (Udayavani, May 25, 2013). Udayavani published a report of the evening programme hosted as part of the Centre for Internet and Society's 5 year celebrations in its Bangalore edition.
Access to Knowledge (Previously IP Reforms)
- On the Unfortunate Rise of the Indian SLAPP Suit (by Ujwala Uppaluri, May 27, 2013).
- Use of Open Access Journals by Indian Researchers (by Subbiah Gunasekharan and Prof. Subbiah Arunachalam, May 27, 2013).
- Use made of Open Access Journals by Indian Researchers to Publish their Findings (by Madhan Muthu and Prof. Subbiah Arunachalam, May 28, 2013).
- Draft ICAR Open Access Policy (by Nehaa Chaudhari, May 28, 2013). The comments were submitted to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.
- RHoK Global Event (Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, June 1 – 2, 2013). A report of the event would be published soon.
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. We began two new projects earlier this year. The first one, with Privacy International, London to facilitate research and events around surveillance, and freedom of speech and expression and the second one with Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto on mapping of cyber security actors in South Asia and South East Asia:
Cyber Stewards Project
Laird Brown, a strategic planner and writer with core competencies on brand analysis, public relations and resource management and Purba Sarkar who in the past worked as a strategic advisor in the field of SAP Retail are working in this project.
- An Interview with Christopher Soghoian (May 28, 2013).
- The Geopolitics of Information Controls: A Presentation by Masashi Crete-Nishihata (TERI, Bangalore, June 19, 2013).
- Comparative Analysis of DNA Profiling Legislations from Across the World (by Srinivas Atreya, May 23, 2013).
- 3rd Privacy Round Table meeting (co-organised with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Data Security Council of India, Chennai, May 18, 2013). Maria Xynou participated in this event and gives an overview of the discussions and recommendations.
- Consilience – 2013 (co-organised with the Law and Technology Committee of National Law School of India University, Bangalore, May 25, 2013).
Events Participated In
- ICT, Law and Innovation: Recent Developments, Challenges and Lessons Learned (organised by Bilgi University, Istanbul, May 2013). Chinmayi Arun was a speaker on the Internet Governance panel at Towards a Global Network of Internet and Society Centres.
- India’s Politics of Free Expression (co-sponsored by the Asian Studies Centre, Free Speech Debate, the Oxford India Society and Ideas for India Oxbridge Exchange, May 31, 2013 at Nissan Lecture Theatre, St. Antony’s College, Oxford). Chinmayi Arun was a speaker at the Bapsybanoo Marchioness of Winchester Lectures on 'India's Politics of Free Expression'.
- Privacy Round Table, Mumbai (Mayfair Banquets, Mumbai, June 15, 2013).
- The Surveillance Industry in India: At Least 76 Companies Aiding Our Watchers! (by Maria Xynou, May 2, 2013).
- Sex on-the-go (by Anand Holla, Mumbai Mirror, May 4, 2013). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- CIS anniversary (Hindu Business Line, May 5, 2013).
- Central Monitoring System to make government privy to phone calls, text messages and social media conversations (by Indu Nandakumar, May 7, 2013). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- Messaging apps find another foe in India’s market regulator (Quartz, May 8, 2013). Elonnai Hickok is quoted.
- India's Rs 400-crore Central Monitoring System to snoop on all communication (Tech 2, May 9, 2013). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- Is India's government becoming Big Brother? (by Talia Ralph and Jason Overdorf, May 9, 2013). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- Worldwide Playground (Telegraph, May 15, 2013). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- NGO invites public to peruse its accounts (by Vandana Kamath, May 18, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Online privacy should not come at the cost of security: Sunil Abraham (by Anirban Sen, May 19, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- A lifetime of five years on the internet (by Subir Ghosh, DNA, May 19, 2013). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- CIS highlights changes ushered in by the Internet (Hindu, May 22, 2013).
- Burma to host first Internet freedom forum (by Chan Myae Khine, Asian Correspondent, May 22, 2013).
- INET Bangkok to Explore Internet’s Impact on Thailand’s Economy and Society (BusinessWire, May 30, 2013). Sunil Abraham is participating in this conference.
- Shooting cyber cafes before they die (by Bangalore Mirror, May 31, 2013). CIS’s film on Cyber Cafes is mentioned in this article.
Knowledge Repository on Internet Access
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.
- Institute on Internet and Society (supported by Ford Foundation, Golden Palms Resort, Bangalore, June 8 – 14, 2013). The agenda for the event has been finalised.
The following unit was published recently:
- Network Connections and Modes of Access (by Srividya Vaidyanathan, May 30, 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:
- Configuring a 'Non-Toothless' Regulator (TRAI) (by Shyam Ponappa, Business Standard, May 9, 2013 and Organizing India Blogspot, May 10, 2013).
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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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Nishant Shah, Director – Research, at email@example.com
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.