Centre for Internet & Society

Our newsletter for the month of October is below.

The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) is happy to share the tenth issue of CIS newsletter (October 2015). It has been a significant month for us. There have been crucial public debates on the violation of digital privacy of individuals and institutions, discussions on India’s national policy on access to knowledge rights, and re-examination of bans on access to internet services imposed by various state governments in India. CIS kept itself engaged with research on these topics from a public interest perspective. Previous editions of the newsletter can be accessed at http://cis-india.org/about/newsletters.

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Highlights
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    • NVDA team conducted a training programme in West Bengal in the month of September. Fourteen delegates attended the programme. Nirmal Verma was the trainer.
    • Nehaa Chaudhari authored an article that provides insights into the final draft of India’s National IPR Policy.
    • Odia Wikisource celebrated its first anniversary in Bhubaneswar. The event was prominently covered in various news channels. Subhashish Panigrahi wrote a blog post.
    • In 2013, the interview project “WikipediansSpeak” was launched in response to observations that many noteworthy Wikimedians were being underrepresented both locally and globally. For improving their visibility and reach, CIS-A2K interviewed Telugu Wikimedian Viswanadh B.K.
    • CIS initiated an effort to crowdsource incidents of violation of digital, online and telephonic privacy of persons and organizations in India and shared the full list of public incidents under CC-BY-SA international license.
    • Sunil Abraham wrote a column in the Week telling readers that internet of things phenomenon is based on a paradigm shift from thinking of the internet merely as a means to connect individuals, corporations and other institutions to an internet where all devices in (insulin pumps and pacemakers), on (wearable technology) and around (domestic appliances and vehicles) humans beings are connected.
    • Pranesh Prakash, Padmini Baruah and Jyoti Panday wrote a blog post that questions the division of the three IANA functions — names, numbers and protocols — given that there is no no real technical stability to be gained from a unified Post Transition IANA.
    • CIS analysed five main mailing lists where the IANA transition plan was formulated. The research found that the discussions around IANA transition have not been driven by the “global multi-stakeholder community”, but mostly by males from industry in North America and Western Europe.
    • In recent months, there was a spree of bans on access to Internet services in Indian states, for different reasons. State governments relied on Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code for imposing the bans. Geetha Hariharan and Padmini Baruah in a blog post argued that Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 should be evoked if necessary and not that of the Criminal Procedure Code.
    • Zero Draft of the UN General Assembly's Overall Review of implementation of WSIS Outcomes was released on October 9. CIS responded to the call with its comments.
    • Shyam Ponappa’s monthly column published in the Business Standard talks about Digital India and the Prime Minister’s visit to the Silicon Valley.

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    Accessibility and Inclusion
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    Under a grant from the Hans Foundation we are doing a project 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

    # Event Report

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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

    # Blog Entries

    # Participation in Event

    • IPEX 2015 (Organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry, APTDC and TDPC; September 25 - 26, 2015; Hotel Westin, Chennai). Rohini Lakshané attended the event.

    ►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).

    # Blog Entries

    # Op-ed

    # Media Coverage

    CIS gave its inputs to the following:

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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.

    ►Big Data

    # Article

    # Upcoming Event

    • Big Data in the Global South International Workshop (Organized by Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro; Hotel Windsor Florida, Rua Ferreira Viana, Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; November 16 – 17, 2015). Sunil Abraham and Vipul Kharbanda will be speaking at this event.

    ►Privacy

    # Blog Entries

    # Event Organized

    # Participation in Events

    ►Free Speech and Expression

    # Submission

    # Blog Entries

    # Event Organized

    # Participation in Events

    • Cyfy 2015: The India Conference on Cyber Security and Internet Governance (Organized by Observer Research Foundation; Hotel Tajmansingh; New Delhi; October 14 – 16, 2015). Sunil Abraham was a panelist in the session "Protection of Intellectual Property and Business Secrets in the Knowledge Economy".
    • ICANN 54 (Organized by ICANN; INEX - Ireland’s Internet Neutral Exchange, Dublin; October 18 – 22, 2015). Pranesh Prakash, Snehashish Ghosh, Jyoti Panday and Padmini Baruah participated in the event.

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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

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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:

    # Submission

    # Blog Entry

    # Upcoming Event

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

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    About CIS
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    The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) is a non-profit organisation that undertakes interdisciplinary research on internet and digital technologies from policy and academic perspectives. The areas of focus include digital accessibility for persons with diverse abilities, access to knowledge, intellectual property rights, openness (including open data, free and open source software, open standards, open access, open educational resources, and open video), internet governance, telecommunication reform, digital privacy, and cyber-security. The academic research at CIS seeks to understand the reconfigurations of social and cultural processes and structures as mediated through the internet and digital media technologies.

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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, artists, and theoreticians, both organisationally and as individuals, to engage with us on topics related internet and society, and improve our collective understanding of this field. To discuss such possibilities, please write to Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, at sunil@cis-india.org (for policy research), or Sumandro Chattapadhyay, Research Director, at sumandro@cis-india.org (for academic research), with an indication of the form and the content of the collaboration you might be interested in. To discuss collaborations on Indic language Wikipedia projects, 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, Hans Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and IDRC for funding its various projects.