Centre for Internet & Society

Greetings from the Centre for Internet and Society. We bring you news and media coverage, research and event updates for the month of August 2010

News Updates

RIM Offered Security Fixes
In India Talks, BlackBerry Maker Said It Could Share Metadata, Notes Show

New Project to Assess Potential of Creating Open Government Data Initiatives in Chile, Ghana and Turkey
Steve Bratt, CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation (founded in 2009 by Tim Berners-Lee) has made an announcement on moving forward with a project to assess the potential of creating open government data
initiatives in Chile, Ghana, and Turkey - the first step of what we hope to be a global initiative focusing on low- and middle-income countries.

Govt and BlackBerry firm wait for the other to hang up
Sunil Abraham speaks to Archna Shukla on the stand-off between the Government of India and RIM. The news was published in expressindia.com.

Call, text, email complaint against rogue auto driver
Harassed by an auto driver? Helplines give you no relief? Here's the people's way to help you out. Just report your issue online, call or even SMS sitting in a noisy restaurant, and be heard.

Call to increase awareness of intellectual property rights
We need more knowledge on IPR itself, says IT Secretary

Civil Society groups urge State Judicial Academy to restructure agenda for Judges' Roundtable meet
Some of the Civil Society groups in the country have urged the Maharashtra State Judicial Academy to restructure the agenda for the 'Judges Roundtable on Intellectual Property Rights Adjudication' being held in Mumbai on July 24 and 25 to promote public interest and a deeper understanding of intellectual property amongst judicial officers. FICCI is the joint organiser of the event.

More Debate on UID Project Needed
A press conference on UID was held at the Press Club in Bangalore on 26 July, 2010. It was co-organised by Citizen's Action Forum, Alternate Law Forum and the Centre for Internet and Society. Mathew Thomas and Vinay Baindur spoke about the UID. Proceedings from the conference was covered in the Hindu on 27 July, 2010.

UID coverage in Udayavani
A press conference was held at the Press Club in Bangalore on 26 July, 2010. It was co-organised by Citizen's Action Forum, Alternate Law Forum and the Centre for Internet and Society. Mathew Thomas and Vinay Baindur were the speakers. Leading Kannada newspaper Udayavani covered this event.

Open is the Future
The third Open World Forum will gather together decision-makers from the open digital world, in Paris. 1,500 participants from 40 countries will come together to analyze the technological, economic and social impact of Open Source, the invisible engine behind the digital revolution. The aim: to interpret future trends and cross-fertilize initiatives.

Upcoming Events

No UID till Complete Transparency, Accountability and People's Participation: A Public Campaign
An interactive meeting on UID's lack of a feasibility study, cost involved and dangers of abuse is being held in New Delhi at the Constitution Club Auditorium, Rafi Marg on 25 August, 2010. The meeting is jointly organised by INSAF, PEACE, Citizens' Action Forum, People's Union for Civil Liberties - Karnataka, Slum Janandolana - Karnataka, Alternate Law Forum, The Centre for Internet and Society and concerned individuals.

Internet Governance and Human Rights: Strategies and Collaborations for Empowerment
Leading up to the 2010 IGF, The Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Global Partners, the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) and the Dynamic Coalition on Internet Rights and Principles are hosting, on 13 September 2010 in Vilnius, an event on 'Internet Governance and Human Rights: Strategies and Collaborations for Empowerment'.

Freedom of Expression or Access to Knowledge: Are We Taking the Necessary Steps Towards an Open and Inclusive Internet?
The Centre for Internet and Society is co-organising a workshop on Freedom of Expression or Access to Knowledge: Are We Taking the Necessary Steps towards an Open and Inclusive Internet? at the Internet
Governance Forum on 14 September, 2010.

Sexual Rights, Openness and Regulatory Systems
The Centre for Internet and Society is co-organising a workshop on Sexual Rights, Openness and Regulatory Systems at the Internet Governance Forum on 14 September, 2010.

Data in the Cloud: Where Do Open Standards Fit In?
The Centre for Internet and Society is co-organising a workshop on Data in the Cloud: Where do Open Standards Fit In? on 16 September, 2010 at the Internet Governance Forum.

International Conference on Enabling Access to Education through ICT
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
27th to 29th October, 2010....Registrations to begin soon!


Political is as Political does
The Talking Back workshop has been an extraordinary experience for me. The questions that I posed for others attending the workshop have hounded me as they went through the course of discussion, analysis and dissection. Strange nuances have emerged, certain presumptions have been questioned, new legacies have been discovered, novel ideas are still playing ping-pong in my mind, and a strange restless excitement – the kind that keeps me awake till dawning morn – has taken over me, as I try and figure out the wherefore and howfore of things. I began the research project on Digital Natives in a condition of not knowing, almost two years ago. Since then, I have taken many detours, rambled on strange paths, discovered unknown territories and reached a mile-stone where I still don’t know, but don’t know what I don’t know, and that is a good beginning.

Digital Natives: Talking Back
One of the most significant transitions in the landscape of social and political movements, is how younger users of technology, in their interaction with new and innovative technologised platforms have taken up responsibility to respond to crises in their local and immediate environments, relying upon their digital networks, virtual communities and platforms. In the last decade or so, the digital natives, in universities as well as in work spaces, as they experimented with the potentials of internet technologies, have launched successful socio-political campaigns which have worked unexpectedly and often without precedent, in the way they mobilised local contexts and global outreach to address issues of deep political and social concern. But what do we really know about this Digital Natives revolution?

Beyond the Digital: Understanding Digital Natives with a Cause
Digital Natives with a cause: the future of activism or slacktivism? Maesy Angelina argues that the debate is premature given the obscured understanding on youth digital activism and contends that an effort to
understand this from the contextualized perspectives of the digital natives themselves is a crucial first step to make. This is the first out of a series of posts on her journey to explore new insights to understand youth digital activism through a research with The Blank Noise Project under the Hivos-CIS Digital Natives Knowledge Programme.


Access to Knowledge: Barriers and Solutions for Persons with Disabilities in India
Consumers International, Kuala Lumpur and Consumers Association of India in association with Madras Library Association organised a seminar on Access to Knowledge on 31st July, 2010 at the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Auditorium in Guindy, Chennai. The Principal Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu Department of Information Technology was the chief guest. Former Central Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal gave the keynote address. Prof Subbiah Arunachalam, Nirmita Narasimhan and Pranesh Prakash participated in the seminar. Nirmita and Pranesh made presentations on access to knowledge.

Intellectual Property

Privacy and the Indian Copyright Act, 1857 as Amended in 2010
In this post the author examines the issue of privacy in light of the Indian Copyright Act, 1857 as amended by the Copyright Amendment Bill in 2010. Four key questions are examined in detail and the author gives
suitable recommendations for each of the questions that arise.

Internet Governance

Does the Government want to enter our homes?
When rogue politicians and bureaucrats are granted unrestricted access to information then the very future of democracy and free media will be in jeopardy. In an article published in the Pune Mirror on 10 August,
2010, Sunil Abraham examines this in light of the BlackBerry-to-BlackBerry messenger service that the Government of India plans to block if its makers do not allow the monitoring of messages. He says that civil society should rather resist and insist on suitable checks and balances like governmental transparency and a fair judicial oversight instead of allowing the government to intrude into the privacy
and civil liberties of its citizens.

UID Project in India - Some Possible Ramifications
Having a standard for decentralized ID verification rather than a centralized database that would more often than not be misused by various authorities will solve ID problems, writes Liliyan in this blog entry. These blog posts to be published in a series will voice the expert opinions of researchers and critics on the UID project and present its unique shortcomings to the reader.

Civil Liberties and the amended Information Technology Act, 2000
This post examines certain limitations of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (as amended in 2008). Malavika Jayaram points out the fact that when most countries of the world are adopting plain English instead of the conventional legal terminology for better understanding, India seems to be stuck in the old-fashioned method thereby, struggling to maintain a balance between clarity and flexibility in drafting its laws. The present Act, she says, is although an improvement over the old Act and seeks to address and improve on certain areas in the right direction but still comes up short in making necessary changes when it comes to fundamental rights and personal liberties. The new Act retains elements from the previous one making it an abnormal document and this could have been averted if there had been some attention to detail.

Feedback to the NIA Bill
Malavika Jayaram and Elonnai Hickok introduce the formal submission of CIS to the proposed National Identification Authority of India (NIA) Bill, 2010, which would give every resident a unique identity. The submissions contain the detailed comments on the draft bill and the high level summary of concerns with the NIA Bill submitted to the UIDAI on 13 July, 2010.


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.

Civic Hacking Workshop
CIS, with the UK Government's Foreign Office and the Cabinet Office Team for Digital Engagement, and Google India, is organizing a workshop on open data (or the lack thereof) and 'civic hacking'.


'Containing Inflation' - A myth
We need problem-solving, not confused rhetoric or misguided action, says Shyam Ponappa. The article was published in Business Standard on 7 August, 2008.