Centre for Internet & Society

The Tunis Agenda of the second World Summit on the Information Society has defined internet governance as the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles of shared principles, norms, rules, decision making procedures and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet. As part of internet governance work we work on policy issues relating to freedom of expression primarily focusing on the Information Technology Act and issues of liability of intermediaries for unlawful speech and simultaneously ensuring that the right to privacy is safeguarded as well. We have worked with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and helped him in the preparation of his 2011 report on freedom of speech on the Internet by organizing South Asia-wide consultations.

Note: The two year project with Privacy International and Society in Action Group was for 2010-2012.

Key Research

  1. Our partnership with Privacy International, UK and Society in Action Group, Gurgaon for a two-year research project on Privacy in Asia has produced outputs in these areas: 
    Banking, Telecommunications, Consumer Protection, IT Act, Limitations, Copyright, Internet Protocol, Media, Sexual Minorities, UID
  2. Submitted seven open letters to the Parliamentary Finance Committee on the UID covering the following aspects:
    SCOSTA standardCentralized Database, Biometrics, BudgetOperational DesignTransactionsDeduplication
  3. Government of India through its various departments sought feedback on the policies listed below. We sent our feedback:
    Privacy Approach Paper (22 November 2010), NIA Bill, (13 July 2010), IT Act (28 July 2009), National Policy on Electronics (1 November 2011),  Cyber Café Rules (25 February 2011), Security Practices Rules (25 February 2011), Intermediary Due Diligence Rules (25 February 2011).
  4. Peer reviewed essays by Nishant Shah:
    Material Cyborgs; Asserted Boundaries (European Journal of English Studies, Volume 12, Issue 2, 2008), Internet and Society in Asia: Challenges and Next Steps (Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Number 1, March 2010)


From 2013 to 2015 CIS is working with Privacy International on the Surveillance and Freedom: Global Understandings and Rights Development (SAFEGUARD) project. The SAFEGUARD project is directed at enhancing respect for the right to privacy in developing countries through research and engagement in national, regional and international policy dialogues by developing country researchers.

The specific objectives of the project are to:

  • Generate evidence and analysis on national and regional-level privacy issues;
  • Identify policy and legislative gaps and obstacles in targeted developing countries;
  • Enable engagement in policy-making for greater protection and promotion of the right to privacy in the developing world;
  • Engage with national, regional and international governmental bodies to promote research findings, and raise the profile of privacy issues in regional and international fora.

Key Research