September 2010 Bulletin
Greetings from the Centre for Internet and Society! In this bulletin we bring you updates of our research, news and media coverage and announcement of events organised in the month of September 2010.
- Conference: Internet at Liberty 2010: This conference is being held in Budapest from 20 to 22 September 2010. It is co-sponsored by Google and Central European University. Sunil Abraham and Anja Kovacs are attending the conference.
- INDIA Fears of Privacy Loss Pursue Ambitious ID Project: Fears about loss of privacy are being voiced as India gears up to launch an ambitious scheme to biometrically identify and number each of its 1.2 billion inhabitants.
- Innovate / Activate: The event will be held on 24 and 25 September 2010 at New York Law School. http://bit.ly/cbICFq
- Webinar: Closed for Business: A Global Panel Discusses International Copyright Laws and Their Impact on the Open Internet
- The madness of software patents
India’s patent law excludes software per se, yet over a thousand patents have been granted, writes Lata Jishnu in an article published in Down to Earth.
- Why piracy is tough to rein in
“Video market is being treated as a poor cousin of the film industry”
- Transparency and MDGs: the Role of the Media and Technology
Key quotes from sixth panel
- Copyright bill restricts Net access
Law to curb piracy may fetter creativity
- 科技改變社會 數位原生代計畫
The Chinese language press covered the Digital Natives workshop in Taipei.
The Chinese press published an article on Digital Natives.
- Information is Beautiful hacks in India with David Cameron
The Prime Minister took some of the UK's top hackers and data experts with him to India this week. David McCandless was with them.
- International Conference on Enabling Access to Education through ICT: ICT workshop in New Delhi from 27th to 29th October, 2010...Registrations open!
- A Talk by Philipp Schmidt: Philip Schmidt of Peer 2 Peer University will be giving a lecture at the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore on 6 October, 2010.
- On Talking Back: A Report on the Taiwan Workshop: What does it mean to Talk Back? Who do we Talk Back against? Are we alone in our attempts or a part of a larger community? How do we use digital technologies to find other peers and stake-holders? What is the language and vocabulary we use to successfully articulate our problems? How do we negotiate with structures of power to fight for our rights? These were the kind of questions that the Talking Back workshop held in the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica in Taiwan from 16 to 18 August 2010 posed.
- The Binary: City and Nature: A continuation of the last post wherein I am looking at various other representation of the city in both classical and popular medium, today I am writing my views on the analysis of certain Miniature paintings.
- Of the State and the Governments - The Abstract, the Concrete and the Responsive: This post examines the concepts of state and government to lay the ground for understanding responsiveness enforced through transparency discourses and the deployment of ICTs, the Internet and e-governance programmes. It also lays the context for understanding why and how ICTs. Internet and e-governance have been deployed in India for improving government-citizen interfaces, eliminating middlemen, delivering services electronically and for introducing a range of similar reforms to institute transparency and a responsive state.
- The Responsive State --- Introduction to the Series: This post is an introduction to a series of posts on the concept of the 'responsive state'. In this series, I try to explain the various meanings that the term responsiveness has come to acquire when it is used in relation with the discourses surrounding transparency and the deployment of ICTs and the Internet to enforce transparency and thereby create a responsive state. Understanding the notion of responsiveness requires us to revisit and analyze certain concepts and the relations that have been drawn between concepts such as state, government, politics, administration, transparency, effectiveness, government-citizen interface, ICTs and effectiveness, among others.
- Attentional Capital in Online Gaming: The Currency of Survival
This blog post by Arun Menon discusses the concepts of production, labour and race in virtual worlds and their influence on the production of attention as a currency. An attempt is made to locate attentional capital, attentional repositories and attention currencies within gaming to examine 'attention currencies and its trade and transactions in virtual worlds. A minimal collection of attention currencies are placed as central and as a pre-requisite for survival in MMOs in much the same way that real currency become a necessity for survival. The approach is to locate attentional capital through different perspectives as well as examine a few concepts around virtual worlds.
- What's in a Name? Or Why Clicktivism May Not Be Ruining Left Activism in India, At Least for Now: In a recent piece in the Guardian titled “Clicktivism Is Ruining Leftist Activism”, Micah White expressed severe concern that, in drawing on tactics of advertising and marketing research, digital activism is undermining “the passionate, ideological and total critique of consumer society”. His concerns are certainly shared by some in India: White's piece has been circulating on activist email lists where people noted with concern that e-activism may be replacing “the real thing” even in this country. But is the situation in India really this dire?
- Sexuality, Queerness and Internet technologies in Indian context: This blog post lays out the discursive construction of sexuality and queerness as intelligible domains in the Indian context while engaging with ideas of visibility, representation, exclusion, publicness, criminality, difference, tradition, experience, and community that have come into use with the critical responses to queer identities and practices in India.
Enabling Access to Education through ICT - A Conference in Delhi: The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), Bangalore in cooperation with the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICT (G3ICT), a flagship advocacy organization of the UN Global Alliance on ICT and Development (UN-GAID), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), UNESCO, Digital Empowerment Foundation, Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment and the Deafway Foundation is organizing an international conference, Enabling Access to Education through ICT in New Delhi from 27 to 29 October 2010. The event is sponsored by Hans Foundation. Registration for the conference has begun.
Access to Knowledge
- Pre-grant Opposition Filed for a Software Patent Application by Blackberry Manufacturers: A pre-grant opposition was filed against a software patent application filed in the patent office by Certicom, a wholly owned subsidiary of Research in Motion (RIM), manufacturers of Blackberry. The opposition was filed on August 31, 2010 by the Software Freedom Law Centre which has recently expanded its operations to India. This exciting development was announced by Mishi Choudhary from SFLC on the lines of the seminar on “Software Patents and the Commons” organised on 1 September 2010 in Delhi jointly by SFLC, the Centre for Internet and Society, the Society for Knowledge Commons and Red Hat. Filing more such oppositions to software patents in India was in the pipeline and this is just the beginning of a movement to take on monopolisation of knowledge and ideas through patenting software, the organisers said.
- First Post-Bilski Decision - Software Patent Rejected: In the first decision post-Bilski, the Board of Patents Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) rejected a software patent claimed by Hewlett-Packard. The ruling in this case has buttressed the fact that the Bilski decision furthered the cause of narrowing the patentability of software even though the Supreme Court of the United States totally avoided mentioning software patents or the applicability of the machine or transformation test for software patents in its decision.
- The Bilski Case - Impact on Software Patents: The Supreme Court of the United States gave its decision in Bilski v Kappos on 28 June, 2010. In this case the petitioners’ patent application sought protection for a claimed invention that explains how commodities buyers and sellers in the energy market can protect, or hedge, against the risk of price changes. The Court in affirming the rejection by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit also held that the machine- or-transformation test is not necessarily the sole test of patentability. The Court’s ruling of abstract ideas as unpatentable and its admission that patents do not necessarily promote innovation and may sometimes limit competition and stifle innovation have provided a ray of hope. In the light of the developments, the Bilski decision as far as patentability of software is concerned may not be totally insignificant, says Krithika Dutta Narayana.
- Free Access to Law—Is it here to Stay? An Environmental Scan Report: The following is a preliminary project report collaboratively collated by the researchers of the "Free Access to Law" research study. This report aims to highlight the trends, as well as the risks and opportunities, for the sustainability of Free Access to Law initiatives in each of the country examined.
- Open Access to Science and Scholarship - Why and What Should We Do?: The National Institute of Advanced Studies held the eighth NIAS-DST training programme on “Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Science, Technology and Society” from 26 July to 7 August, 2010. The theme of the project was ‘Knowledge Management’. Dr. MG Narasimhan and Dr. Sharada Srinivasan were the coordinators for the event. Professor Subbiah Arunachalam made a presentation on Open Access to Science and Scholarship.
- Moldova Online: An Interview with Victor Diaconu: In this interview for Russian Cyberspace, set up with the help of Sunil Abraham (Executive Director at the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore, India), computer software professional Victor Diaconu explains the nature of Internet use, state control and the development of blogging and social media platforms in Moldova. Victor works at Computaris in Chisinau. He is Moldova educated, and has travelled to several western countries (including lengthy stays to US, UK) to learn about and understand what there is to be done in Moldova. Sudha Rajagopalan interviewed Victor Diaconu.
- Presentation of the UID project by Ashok Dalwai – A Report: On Tuesday, 7 September 2010, Ashok Dalwai, the Deputy Director General of the Unique Identification of India (UIDAI), gave a lecture at the Indian Institute for Science in Bangalore. Representing the UID Authority, his presentation explained the vision of the project and focused on the challenges involved in demographic and biometric identification, the technology adopted, and the enrolment process. Elonnai Hickok gives a report of his presentation in this blog post.
- Beyond Access as Inclusion: On 13 September, the day before the fifth Internet Governance Forum opens, CIS is co-organised in Vilnius a meeting on Internet governance and human rights. One of the main aims of this meeting was to call attention to the crucial, yet in Internet governance often neglected, indivisibility of rights. In this blog post, Anja Kovacs uses this lens to illustrate how it can broaden as well reinvigorate our understanding of what remains one of the most pressing issues in Internet governance in developing countries to this day: that of access to the Internet.
- Summary of UID Public Meeting, August 25 2010: A summary of the "No UID" public meeting that took place on Aug. 25th at the Constitution Club, New Dehli.
- No UID Campaign in New Delhi - A Report: The Unique Identification (UID) Bill is not pro-citizen. The scheme is deeply undemocratic, expensive and fraught with unforseen consequences. A public meeting on UID was held at the Constitution Club, Rafi Marg in New Delhi on 25 August, 2010. The said Bill came under scrutiny at the meeting which was organised by civil society groups from Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi campaigning under the banner of "No UID". The speakers brought to light many concerns, unanswered questions and problems of the UID scheme.
- Wherever you are, whatever you do: Facebook recently launched a location-based service called Places. Privacy advocates are resenting to this new development. Sunil Abraham identifies the three prime reasons for this outcry against Facebook. The article was published in the Indian Express on 23 August, 2010.
- What a highway can do: Despite signs of transformational change, we need more - SOPs and quality http://bit.ly/deUbmU