Centre for Internet & Society

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.

Jobs
CIS invites applications for the posts of Developer (NVDA Screen Reader Project), and Programme Officer (Internet Governance). To apply send your resume to sunil@cis-india.org and pranesh@cis-india.org.

Accessibility

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:

Note: All of these are early drafts and will be reviewed and updated.

Banking Accessibility

  • 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.

Event Organised

Access to Knowledge and Openness

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.

Announcements

  • 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).

Blog Entries

Event Organised

  • 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.

Upcoming Event

Press Coverage

Access to Knowledge (Previously IP Reforms)
Blog Entry

Openness
Research Papers

Comments

Event Hosted

  • RHoK Global Event (Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, June 1 – 2, 2013). A report of the event would be published soon.

Internet Governance

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.

Video Interview

Upcoming Event

Privacy

Events Co-organised

  • 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'.

Upcoming Event

Blog Entry

Media Coverage

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.

Ongoing Event

The following unit was published recently:

Telecom

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:

Newspaper Column

About CIS

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 or Nishant Shah, Director – Research, at nishant@cis-india.org

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.