Centre for Internet & Society

Newsletter for the month of May can be accessed below.

Editor’s Note: After seven years of having used Inigo Tech headed by Khairil Yousuf for its email server, CIS shifted recently to Greenhost Projects, founded in 2001 by Mart van Santen and Sacha van Geffen. Greenhost offers a fresh approach to ICT and sustainability and also supports various projects in the fields of education, culture and journalism. While being grateful to Inigo Tech for providing secure services over the years, CIS takes this opportunity to welcome Greenhost on board. During this migration there was a total disruption of service and CIS couldn’t send its monthly bulletins earlier. CIS further apologises for the delay in the June newsletter which will also be sent shortly. From July onwards we will be back on track.

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Highlights
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  • CIS has prepared an analysis of the commonalities in big-ticket patent infringement lawsuits pertaining to mobile devices.
  • The first public draft of the International Open Data Charter was released at the International Open Data Conference in Ottawa in May. CIS had contributed comments to a previous version of the draft, and also took part in the pre-release meeting of potential stewards of the Charter on May 26 in Ottawa.
  • An abstract for a proposed chapter on 'making' in the humanities has been accepted for publication in a volume titled 'Making Humanities Matter'. This is part of a new book series titled 'Debates in the Digital Humanities 2015' to be published by University of Minnesota Press.
  • Chinmayi Arun has authored a research paper titled Paper-thin Safeguards and Mass Surveillance in India that tells readers of Indian government’s new mass surveillance systems and the threats it has on right to privacy.
  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), in March 2015 invited comments on its Consultation Paper for the regulation of over-the-top (OTT) services. In an unprecedented wave of public participation, TRAI received over a million e-mails in support of net neutrality. CIS has prepared a note which sets out the law in relation to the unauthorized disclosure of personal information.

► Vacancies at CIS

CIS is seeking applications for:

  • Intern (Pervasive Technologies Project)
  • Interns (Other Projects) for its offices in Bangalore and Delhi.

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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 project was completed, books in English and Hindi were printed and are being sent to ministries, departments, panchayats and NGOs around the country. The publication 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

Training Programmes

  • eSpeak Tamil Computing with NVDA (Centre for Differently-abled Persons, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli; May 4 – 8, 2015). Seventeen delegates attended.
  • Tamil Language (Differently Abled Children Section, District Central Library, Coimbatore; May 25 – 29, 2015). Twenty-one delegates attended.

# Blog Entry

►Other

White Paper

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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.

Blog Entries

Media Coverage
CIS gave inputs for the following:

►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).

Articles

►Openness

Blog Entry

Participation in Events

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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.

►Privacy

Blog Entry

► Other

Participation in Events

  • The Transformative Power of Online Activism (Organized by Hertie School of Governance; Berlin; May 4, 2015). Rohini Lakshané was a panelist. The event was part of the re:thinking tomorrow series.
  • Consilience (Organized by National Law School of India University, Bangalore; May 9 – 10, 2015).

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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:

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 had worked with the USOF to include funding projects for persons with disabilities in its mandate:

Comments

Op-ed

Participation in Event

  • 5G Technologies Workshop (Organized by IEEE Communications Society Bangalore Chapter; The Capitol Hotel, Bangalore; May 22 – 23, 2015). Rohini Lakshané attended the workshop.

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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.

► Follow us elsewhere

► 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 Tanveer Hasan, Programme Officer, at tanveer@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, The Hans Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and IDRC for funding its various projects.