September 2015 Bulletin
We are happy to share with you the ninth issue of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) newsletter (September 2015). It has been a significant month for public debates on the digital future of governance, citizenship, and economy in India, led by conversations around the draft National Encryption Policy, the Aadhaar number as a basis for provision of welfare services, the investigation of Google for potential abuse of market dominance by the Competition Commission of India, and the Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions released by the Indian Patents Office. We were busy engaging with these issues, and more.
The past editions of the newsletter can be accessed at http://cis-india.org/about/newsletters.
Sumandro Chattapadhyay, Research Director
Internet Researchers' Conference (IRC) 2016 - Studying Internet in India
With great excitement, we are announcing the beginning of an annual conference series titled Internet Researchers' Conference (IRC), the first edition of which is to take place in Delhi during February 25-27, 2016 (yet to be confirmed). We invite you to propose sessions for the conference by Sunday, November 15, 2015.
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
- September 2015 Report (Suman Dogra; September 30, 2015).
- Training in the use of eSpeak Hindi with NVDA (Organized by CIS and Lakshay for the Differently Abled; September 29 – 30, 2015; Ranchi). The event was conducted online by Dr. Homiyar over skype, with local support from Mritunjay Kumar and Zainab.
- 5 day TOT for Training in Use of eSpeak Kannada with NVDA (Organized by CIS, Mithra Jyoti, Enable India and NFB, Bangalore; September 21 – 25, 2015; Bangalore).
- eSpeak Training in Hindi Language (Organized by CIS and National Association for the Blind; Kullu; September 3 – 4, 2015).
- Training in eSpeak Marathi (Organized by CIS; Atmadepam Society; August 22 – 23, 2015). The report was published in the month of September.
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: Working Document Series - Research Questions and a Literature Review on the Actor-Network Theory (Nehaa Chaudhari; September 5, 2015).
- FAQ: CIS Proposal for Compulsory Licensing of Critical Mobile Technologies (Rohini Lakshané; September 25, 2015).
Other (Copyright and Patent)
- Comments on the Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs) (Anubha Sinha; September 21, 2015).
- Open Letter to PM Modi on Intellectual Property Rights issues on His Visit to the United States of America in September 2015 (Pranesh Prakash and Nehaa Chaudhari; September 23, 2015).
Participation in Events
- National Conference: WTO, FTAs and Investment Treaties: Implications for development policy space (Organized by Focus on the Global South, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), Madhyam, MSF Access Campaign, National Working Group on Patent Laws and WTO (NWGPL), Public Services International (PSI) – South Asia, South Solidarity Initiative – ActionAid, Third Word Network (TWN), and Forum against FTAs; September 22 – 23, 2015; Institute for Studies in Industrial Development, New Delhi). Nehaa Chaudhari made a presentation on Copyright: Access to Knowledge in Free Trade Agreements?
- IPEX 2015 (Organized by Confederation of Indian Industry, APTDC and TDPC; September 25 - 26, 2015; Chennai). Rohini Lakshané attended the event.
- Open letter from CIS to PM Modi on Intellectual Property Rights issues on his Visit to US (Apoorva Mandhani; LiveLaw; September 23, 2015).
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).
- CIS brings Nadustunna Charithra magazine under CC BY SA licence (Tanveer Hasan; September 2, 2015).
- OCR and OER – update (Subhashish Panigrahi; Open Education Working Group; September 25, 2015).
- As Odia Wikipedia turns 13, what happens next? (Subhashish Panigrahi; September 26, 2015). This was originally published on the Wikimedia Blog on August 21. The post was shared on Wikipedia's official Facebook page, and on Twitter handles [1 and 2].
- Google's Optical Character Recognition Software Now Works with All South Asian Languages (Subhashish Panigrahi; September 26, 2015).
- Wikimedia contributor shares his Linux story (Subhashish Panigrahi; September 27, 2015). This article is part of a series called My Linux Story. To participate and share your Linux story, contact us at: [email protected]. Read the original published by Opensource.com on September 3, 2015.
- Annamaya Library edit-a-thon (Organized by CIS-A2K and Telugu Wikipedia Community; August 6, 2015; Andhra Loyola College; Vijaywada).
- International Workshop on Digitization and Archiving (Organized by CIS-A2K and Wikipedia Community; August 19 – 21, 2015). Rahmanuddin Shaik was one of the trainers.
CIS gave its inputs to the following:
- Unable to read Odia on your android device? Don’t fret! (Ruby Nanda; Odisha Sun Times; September 28, 2015).
The advent of the Internet has radically redefined what it means to be open and collaborative. The Internet itself is built upon open standards and free/libre/open source software. Our work in the Openness programme focuses on open data, especially open government data, open access, open education resources, open knowledge in Indic languages, open media, and open technologies and standards - hardware and software. We approach openness as a cross-cutting principle for knowledge production and distribution, and not as a thing-in-itself.
- As one of the general stewards of the process, CIS was invited to take part in the final drafting meeting of the International Open Data Charter held before Con Datos 2015 in Santiago, Chile, but we could not take part in it. Apart from organising two public consultations on the draft Charter in Bengaluru and Delhi, we also submitted our detailed comments on the document. The final version of the Charter document has been launched at the United Nation General Assembly meeting, on September 27.
- Software Freedom Pledge (Pranesh Prakash; September 25, 2015).
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.
- Hits and Misses With the Draft Encryption Policy (Sunil Abraham; The Wire; September 26, 2015).
- Data Flow in the Unique Identification Scheme of India (Vidushi Marda; September 3, 2015).
- Human DNA Profiling Bill 2012 v/s 2015 Bill (Vanya Rakesh; September 6, 2015).
- Open Governance and Privacy in a Post-Snowden World: Webinar (Vanya Rakesh; September 26, 2015).
Participation in Event
- The Changing Landscape of ICT Governance and Practice - Convergence and Big Data (Co-organized by Innovation Center for Big Data and Digital Convergence, Yuan Ze University, Taiwan; August 24 – 25, 2015). Sharat Chandra Ram was granted the Young Scholar Award 2015 to attend the Young Scholar Workshop followed by main CPRSouth2015 conference (Communication Policy Research South) conference.
Free Speech and Expression
- CIS Submission on CCWG-Accountability 2nd Draft Proposal on Work Stream 1 Recommendations (Pranesh Prakash; September 13, 2015).
- DIDP Request #11: NETmundial Principles (Aditya Garg; September 14, 2015).
- DIDP Request #12: Revenues (Aditya Garg; September 14, 2015).
- Peering behind the veil of ICANN’s DIDP (Padmini Baruah; September 21, 2015).
Participation in Event
- Asian Regional Consultation on the WSIS+10 Review (Organized by The Internet Democracy Project, Bytes for All, APNIC, the Association for Progressive Communications, ISOC, Global Partners Digital and ICT Watch; September 3 – 5, 2015). Jyoti Panday attended the event.
The tenth annual IGF meeting will be held in João Pessoa, Brazil, on November 10 - 13, 2015. IGF's MAG has decided to retain the title “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development” as the overarching theme. Sunil Abraham will be a panelist for the following workshops:
- Understanding and Mitigating Online Hate Speech and Youth Radicalisation (Organized by Council of Europe, Oxford University, OHCHR, Google and ISOC; November 2015).
- Transnational Due Process: A Case Study in Multi-stakeholder Cooperation (Organized by the United Nations; November 2015).
- Bangalore Chapter Meet of DSCI (Co-organized by DSCI and CIS; September 26, 2015). Melissa Hathaway, Commissioner, Global Commission for Internet Governance and Sunil Abraham gave a talk at this event.
- Sustainable Smart Cities India Conference 2015, Bangalore (Vanya Rakesh; September 21, 2015).
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:
- Comments on the DoT Panel Report via MyGov (Pranesh Prakash; September 26, 2015).
- More on those Dropped Calls (Shyam Ponappa; Business Standard; September 2, 2015 and Organizing India Blogspot; September 3, 2015).
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:
- Where's My Data? Submission for Knight News Challenge 2015 (Sumandro Chattapadhyay; September 30, 2015). The text of the proposal was prepared by Nisha Thompson of DataMeet, Meera K of Oorvani, and Sumandro Chattapadhyay.
- The Internet in the Indian Judicial Imagination (Divij Joshi; September 9, 2015).
- The Many Lives and Sites of Internet in Bhubaneswar (Sailen Routray; September 21, 2015).
CIS gave its inputs to the following media coverage:
- Does this click with you? (Parshathy J. Nath; The Hindu; September 1, 2015).
- Government may tieup with global police, Interpol to fight child pornography (Surabhi Agarwal; September 3, 2015).
- Hiding behind rules on naming sites it banned, govt reveals fears (Harjeet Inder Singh Sahi; September 3, 2015).
- Outrage before sharing (Nikhil Verma; The Hindu; September 9, 2015).
- Faking a stand (Shweta T. Nanda; The Week; September 20, 2015).
- Some Key Words Are Missing (Arindam Mukherjee; Outlook; September 21, 2015).
- Open sesame (The Hindu; September 22, 2015).
- India encryption policy draft faces backlash (Moulishree Srivastava; September 22, 2015)
- Online outcry forces government to withdraw draft encryption policy (Naina Khedekar; First Post; September 23, 2015).
- Encryption policy would have affected emails, operating systems, WiFi (Amrita Madhukalya; DNA; September 23, 2015).
- Govt presses 'undo' button on draft encryption policy (Business Standard; September 23; 2015).
- Huge outcry forces India to backtrack on social media data proposal (Today; September 24, 2015).
- Facebook’s Free Internet Access Program in Developing Countries Provokes Backlash (Newley Purnell and Resty Woro Uniar; The Wall Street Journal; September 24, 2015).
- Ahead of hosting Modi, Facebook rebrands internet.org as Free Basics (Business Standard; September 26, 2015).
- ‘By weakening our security, govt is putting us at risk of espionage’ (S. Raghotham and Mayukh Mukherjee; Asian Age; September 27, 2015).
- ভারতে পাঁচশোরও বেশি স্টেশনে ফ্রি ওয়াই-ফাই চালু হবে (BBC; September 28, 2015).
- Do you agree with our fee hike? Press 1 to answer Yes; or 2 for Yes (Kieren McCarthy; The Register; September 29, 2015).
- Indian PM Narendra Modi’s digital dream gets bad reception (Amanda Hodge; September 29, 2015).
- What Bengaluru Thinks of the Big Tech Announcements in Silicon Valley (Maya Sharma; NDTV; September 29, 2015).
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 mediation and reconfiguration of social and cultural processes and structures by the internet and digital media technologies.
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► 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 [email protected] (for policy research), or Sumandro Chattapadhyay, Research Director, at [email protected] (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, Access to Knowledge, at [email protected].
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.