Centre for Internet & Society

The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) wishes you a great year ahead and welcomes you to the second issue of its newsletter for the year 2013. In this issue we bring you an overview of our research programs, updates of events organised by us, events we participated in, news and media coverage, and videos of some of our recent events.


Rahul Cherian, an expert and policy activist in disability law, intellectual property and technology law passed away due to an illness while on a visit to Goa on February 7, 2013. Rahul was the founder of the Inclusive Planet Centre for Disability and Policy, and a fellow at CIS. He was also a partner at IndoJuris Law Offices in Chennai and was one of the experts who drafted the Treaty for the Visually Impaired currently being negotiated at the World Intellectual Property Organization. The Hindu (February 8, 2013), First Post (February 8, 2013), Legally India (February 7, 2013), and Bar & Bench (February 8, 2013) covered this story. Lawrence Liang wrote an obituary page, A Lightness of Spirit (The Hindu, February 9, 2013) and Nishant Shah wrote a column One For All (Indian Express, February 17, 2013).

CIS organised a memorial function for Rahul Cherian at the TERI, Southern Regional Centre in Bangalore on February 28, 2013.

CIS invites applications for the posts of Developer (NVDA Screen Reader Project), Programme Officer (Access to Knowledge and Openness), and Programme Officer (Internet Governance). To apply send your resume to [email protected] and [email protected].


CIS is doing two projects in partnership with the Hans Foundation. One of this is to create a national resource kit of state-wise laws, policies and programmes on issues relating to persons with disabilities in India and another is for developing a screen reader and text-to- speech synthesizer for Indian languages. CIS is also working with the World Blind Union and many other organisations to develop a Treaty for the Visually Impaired helped by the WIPO:

National Resource Kit for Persons with Disabilities

Anandhi Viswanathan from CIS and Manojna Yeluri from the Centre for Law and Policy Research are working in this project. Draft chapters have been published. Feedback and comments are invited from readers for the chapters on Bihar and West Bengal:

  • The Bihar Chapter (by Manojna Yeluri, February 14, 2013): The state of Bihar is in the process of formulating a comprehensive state policy on disability. The Bihar State Policy on Disability is an extension of the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities and is currently in a draft form awaiting government approval and notification.
  • The West Bengal Chapter (by Anandhi Viswanathan, February 28, 2013): The state of West Bengal has issued the West Bengal Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Rules, 1999 to implement the provisions under the central Persons with Disabilities (Protection of Rights, Equal Opportunities and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

Media Coverage

Access to Knowledge

The Wikimedia Foundation awarded CIS a two year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop the growth of Indic language communities and projects by community collaborations and partnerships. This is being carried out by the Access to Knowledge team based in Delhi. CIS is also doing a project (Pervasive Technologies) on examining the relationship between production of pervasive technologies and intellectual property. The project researches upon the noteworthy opportunities of the new types of low cost mobile devices, content and services as available in the market.


Beginning from September 1, 2012, Wikimedia Foundation awarded CIS a two-year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop free knowledge in India. The A2K team consists of four members based in Delhi: T. Vishnu Vardhan, Nitika Tandon, Subhashish Panigrahi and Noopur Raval, and one new team member Dr. U.B. Pavanaja who works from Bangalore office.

New Team Member

  • Dr. U.B. Pavanaja joined the A2K team as Programme Officer, India Language Initiatives on February 19, 2013. Dr. Pavanaja holds a Master’s degree from Mysore University and Ph.D. from Mumbai University. He was a scientist at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, for about 15 years. He is one of the earliest editors of Kannada Wikipedia.  He has to his credit many firsts, viz., first Kannada website, first Kannada online magazine, first Indian language (Kannada) website to receive Golden Web Award, first Indian language (Kannada) editor for Palm OS, first Indian language (Kannada) editor for WinCE device (HP Jornado 720), first Indian language version (Kannada) of universally popular Logo (programming language for children) software, etc. His Kannada logo won the Manthan Award for the year 2006. He was a member of the technical advisory committee setup by the Govt. of Karnataka for Standardization of Kannada on Computers (2000). He is also a member of the Kannada Software Committee of Govt. of Karnataka (2008-current).

Events Organised

Blog Entries

Event Reports
CIS organised one Wiki workshop in the month of February 2013. We also bring you the report from an event organised in the month of January:

Media Coverage

Ongoing Events


Pervasive Technologies

Event Participated In

Other Openness Updates

Announcements from Other Organizations

  • Iryna Kuchma wins the second EPT award: The Electronic Publishing Trust for Development announced the winner of its 2nd Annual Award in recognition of the effort made by individuals working in the developing and emerging countries in the furtherance of Open Access (OA) to scholarly publications. Dr. Francis Jayakanth won the inaugural award last year.


HasGeek creates discussion spaces for geeks and has organised conferences like the Fifth Elephant, Droidcon India 2011, Android Camp, etc. HasGeek is supported by CIS and works from the CIS office in Bengaluru.

Event Report & Video

  • Report of Aaron Swartz Memorial Hacknight (by Zainab Bawa, February 6, 2013). On January 19 and 20, 2013, HasGeek organized a hacknight to commemorate the life and work of Aaron Swartz. Zainab Bawa shares the developments.

Internet Governance

CIS has an agreement with Privacy International, London to facilitate the implementation of activities related to surveillance and freedom of speech and expression. We are also doing a project on examining the indicators of female economic empowerment in the IT industry in India.


Free Speech & Expression

Media Coverage

Events Participated In


Events Organized

Event Participated In

  • The Omnishambles of UID, shrouded in its RTI opacity: CIS sponsored Colonel Mathew Thomas to hold a workshop at the fourth National Right to Information (RTI) organized by the National Campaign for People's Right to Information, held in Hyderabad from February 15 to 18, 2013.

Upcoming Event

  • DML Conference 2013 (co-organised by CIS and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub Central, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers - Chicago, Illinois, March 14 – 16, 2013).

Internet Access – Knowledge Repository

CIS in partnership with the Ford Foundation was executing the telecom knowledge repository project which included producing and disseminating modules on various aspects of telecommunications including policy, regulations, infrastructure and market. However, from November 2012 there was a change in the mandate of the project. The new repository will cover the history of the internet, technologies involved, principle and values of internet access, broadband market and universal access. It will also touch upon various polices and regulations which has an impact on internet access and bodies and mechanism which are responsible for formulation policies related to internet access. The blog posts and modules will be published in a new website: www.internet-institute.in.

Upcoming Event

We are hosting an “Institute on Internet and Society” in collaboration with the Ford Foundation India, which is to be held from June 8, 2013 to June 14, 2013. Call for registration and relevant details will be announced soon on our website.


While the potential for growth and returns exist for telecommunications in India, a range of issues need to be addressed. One aspect is more extensive rural coverage and the other is a countrywide access to broadband which is low. Both require effective and efficient use of networks and resources, including spectrum:

Newspaper Column

Blog Entry

Digital Natives

Digital Natives with a Cause? examines the changing landscape of social change and political participation in light of the role that young people play through digital and Internet technologies, in emerging information societies. Consolidating knowledge from Asia, Africa and Latin America, it builds a global network of knowledge partners who critically engage with discourse on youth, technology and social change, and look at alternative practices and ideas in the Global South:

Events Participated In

Digital Humanities

From 2012 to 2015, the Researchers At Work series is focusing on building research clusters in the field of Digital Humanities. We organised the first Habits of Living workshops in Bangalore last year. The next workshop is being held in Brown University.

Upcoming Event

About CIS

CIS was registered as a society in Bangalore in 2008. As an independent, non-profit research organisation, it runs different policy research programmes such as Accessibility, Access to Knowledge, Openness, Internet Governance, and Telecom. The policy research programmes have resulted in outputs such as the e-Accessibility Policy Handbook for Persons with Disabilities with ITU and G3ict, and Digital Alternatives with a Cause?, Thinkathon Position Papers and the Digital Natives with a Cause? Report with Hivos, etc. We have conducted policy research for the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, etc., on WIPO Treaties, Copyright Bill, NIA Bill, etc.

CIS is accredited as an observer at WIPO. CIS staff participates in the Standing Committee for Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) meetings regularly held in Geneva, and participate in the discussions and comments on them from a public interest perspective. Our Policy Director, Nirmita Narasimhan won the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities from the Government of India and also received the NIVH Excellence Award.

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Support Us

Please help us defend consumer / 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.

Request for Collaboration

We invite researchers, practitioners, and theoreticians, both organisationally and as individuals, to collaboratively engage with Internet and society and improve our understanding of this new field. To discuss the research collaborations, write to Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, at [email protected] or Nishant Shah, Director – Research, at [email protected]

CIS is grateful to its donors, Wikimedia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Privacy International, UK, Hans Foundation and the Kusuma Trust which was founded by Anurag Dikshit and Soma Pujari, philanthropists of Indian origin, for its core funding and support for most of its projects.