Centre for Internet & Society

Centre for Internet & Society newsletter for the month of August 2019.

Highlights for August 2019
  • The Oxford Internet Institute and CIS are creating a State of the Internet’s Languages report, as baseline research with both numbers and stories, to demonstrate how far we are from making the internet multilingual. The call is available in ArabicBrazilian PortugueseEnglishIsiZuluSpanish, and Tamil. CIS invites friends and communities to translate the call into other languages.
  • CIS's Access to Knowledge (A2K) team is conducting a free knowledge movement and as part of this initiative it is inviting contributions from the Wikipedia community. Photos, media, content or archives donated by community members would be used worldwide to disseminate information. The content you are donating must be under Creative Commons Share-like content. You must have the copyright of the content under CC licenses.
  • Over the last few years, several digital identity schemes have been initiated in different countries across the world. There has been significant momentum on digital ID, especially after the adoption of UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.9, which calls for legal identity for all by 2030. Authors, Amber Sinha and Pooja Saxena, explore about the uses and design of digital identity systems and ask two core questions a) What are appropriate uses of ID?, and b) How should we think about the technological design of ID?
  • Together with the Institute of Technology & Society (ITS), Brazil, and the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law(CIPIT), Kenya, CIS participated at a side event in RightsCon 2019 held in Tunisia, titled Holding ID Issuers Accountable, What Works?, organised by the Omidyar Network. A report of the event is published here.
  • As governments across the globe implement new, foundational, digital identification systems (“Digital ID”), or modernize existing ID programs, there is dire need for greater research and discussion about appropriate uses of Digital ID systems. At RightsCon 2019 in Tunis, we presented working drafts on appropriate use of Digital ID by the partner organisations of this three-region research alliance - ITS from Brazil, CIPIT from Kenya, and CIS from India.
  • CIS gave its comments to the ID4D Practitioners’ Guide: Draft For Consultation released by ID4D in June, 2019. The submission is divided into three main parts. The first part (General Comments) contains the high-level comments on the Practitioners’ Guide, while the second part (Specific Comments) addresses individual sections in the Guide. The third and final part (Additional Comments) does not relate to particulars in the Practitioners' Guide but other documents that it relies upon.
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had released the National Digital Health Blueprint on 15 July 2019 for comments. CIS submitted its comments. CIS notes that the nature of data which would be subject to processing in the proposed digital framework pre-supposes a robust data protection regime in India, one which is currently absent. Accordingly, it urges the ministry to cease the implementation of the framework until the Personal Data Protection Bill is passed by the Parliament.
  • Aayush Rathi , Vedika Pareek , Divij Joshi and Pranav Bidare co-authored a research paper 'Future of Work in the ASEAN'. The authors reveal that the future of work will be mediated through region and country specific factors such as socioeconomic,geopolitical and demographic change. The report was edited by Elonnai Hickok and Ambika Tandon with research assistance by Sankalp Srivastava and Anjanaa Aravindan. The research is supported by Tides Foundation.

CIS and the News

The following articles were authored by CIS secretariat during the month:

CIS in the News

CIS secretariat was consulted for the following articles published during the month in various publications:

Access to Knowledge

Access to Knowledge is a campaign to promote the fundamental principles of justice, freedom, and economic development. It deals with issues like copyrights, patents and trademarks, which are an important part of the digital landscape.


Under a grant from Wikimedia Foundation we are doing a project 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.

Blog Entry

Internet Governance

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.

Freedom of Speech & Expression

Under a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, CIS is doing research on the restrictions placed on freedom of expression online by the Indian government and contribute studies, reports and policy briefs to feed into the ongoing debates at the national as well as international level. As part of the project we bring you the following outputs:

Participation in Events


Under a grant from Privacy International and IDRC we are doing a project on surveillance. CIS is researching the history of privacy in India and how it shapes the contemporary debates around technology mediated identity projects like Aadhar. As part of our ongoing research, we bring you the following outputs:


Participation in Events

  • Digital ID Forum 2019 (Organized by UNDP; Chulalongkorn University, Thailand; July 3, 2019). Sunil Abraham was one of the panelists at this event.
  • BIS LITD 17 meeting (Organized by Bureau of Indian Standards; New Delhi; July 3, 2019). Gurshabad Grover attended the sixteenth meeting of the Information Systems Security and Biometrics Section Committee (LITD17).
  • Facebook Data for Good in Bangalore (Organized by Facebook; Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; July 25, 2019).
  • Roundtable with the WhatsApp leadership (Organized by WhatsApp; Mountbatten, The Oberoi, New Delhi; July 26, 2019). Will Cathcart, WhatsApp's new global head, visited India and invited Sunil Abraham for a discussion.
  • Facebook Data for Good in New Delhi (Organized by Facebook; University of Chicago Center, New Delhi; July 29, 2019).

IT / Information Technology

A research on the usage of systems (computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving and sending information as well as the IT Act:

Research Paper

  • Future of Work in the ASEAN (Aayush Rathi , Vedika Pareek , Divij Joshi and Pranav Bidare; edited by Elonnai Hickok and Ambika Tandon with research assistance from Sankalp Srivastava and Anjanaa Aravindan; August 31, 2019).

Participation in Event

  • Cyber Policy 2.0 (Organized by National Law University; Bangalore; August 17, 2019). Arindrajit Basu was a speaker.

Artificial Intelligence

With origins dating back to the 1950s Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not necessarily new. However, interest in AI has been rekindled over the recent years due to advancements of technology and its applications to real-world scenarios. We conduct research on the existing legal and regulatory parameters:

Participation in Events

Digital Identity

Omidyar Network is investing in establishment of a three-region research alliance — to be co-led by the Institute for Technology & Society (ITS), Brazil, the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT) , Kenya, and CIS. As part of this Alliance, we at the CIS will look at the policy objectives of digital identity projects, how technological policy choices can be thought through to meet the objectives, and how legitimate uses of a digital identity framework may be evaluated.

Research Paper


Participation in Event


The researchers@work programme at CIS produces and supports pioneering and sustained trans-disciplinary research on key thematics at the intersections of internet and society; organise and incubate networks of and fora for researchers and practitioners studying and making internet in India; and contribute to development of critical digital pedagogy, research methodology, and creative practice.

Participation in Event

Blog Entries

About CIS

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 disabilities, 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 CIS:

Please help us defend consumer and 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.

Collaborate with CIS:

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, 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.