Centre for Internet & Society

In this month we announced the new clusters from Researchers at Work: Locating the Mobile, Interface Intimacies and Habits of Living.


New series from RAW, new Clusters now Online!

From 2012 to 2015, the RAW series will build research clusters in the field of Digital Humanities. The Digital will be used as a way of unpacking the debates in humanities and social sciences and look at the new frameworks, concepts and ideas that emerge in our engagement with the digital. We hope to build knowledge networks and production of new knowledge around questions of body, governance and cultural production in the digital times that we live in. Spearheaded by experts in the field of science, technology, society and culture the clusters aim to produce and document new conversations and debates that shape the contours of Digital Humanities in Asia.

  • Locating the Mobile: An Ethnographic Investigation into Locative Media in Melbourne, Bangalore and Shanghai
    Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University, Melbourne), Genevieve Bell (Intel, Shanghai)
    As yet we know little about the impact locative media is having, and will have upon people’s livelihoods and identity, or on public policy around privacy, identity, security and cultural production. Discourse in the field has opened up questions of art, innovation and experimentation. But there is a dearth of nuanced research on locative media that provides in-depth, contextual accounts of its socio-cultural and political dimensions. Not much work has been conducted into locative media as it migrates from art to the ‘messy’ area of everyday. The project seeks to address this knowledge gap by studying locative media in Bangalore, Melbourne and Shanghai.
  • Interface Intimacies
    Audrey Yue (Melbourne University) and Namita Malhotra (ALF)
    Users of technologies often express their engagement with technologies in affective terms. The interfaces that we see all around us constantly deflect our attention, emotions and desires on to different surfaces, creating flattened universes with the promises of deep immersion. Digging deep into interfaces, to examine peoples’ relationships with the digital interfaces around them the research cluster examines: What are the affective relationships that people have with their interfaces? What goes into anthropomorphising an interface? What are the larger politics of labour, performance and ownership that surround interface design? What are the ways in which people simulate presence and connections through their interfaces? How is the human presumed in computer-human interface design? What aesthetic and political moves are we witnessing with the rise of interface mediated publics? What and who is made opaque when interfaces become transparent? When interfaces get distributed, what are the possibilities and potential for art, theory and practice to move into new forms of politics?
  • Habits of Living: Global Networks, Local Affects
    Wendy Chun (Professor, Brown University), Kelly Dobson, (Chair, Digital + Media, RISD, Providence), Matthew Fuller, David Gee (Reader in Digital Media, Center for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London) and Eivind Rossaak, (Associate Professor, Department of Research, National Library of Norway, Oslo).
    This is a global collaborative project to renew the conceptual power of networks. It concentrates on changing the habits of living. The Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University will be an important locus. Habits are crucial to understanding networks not simply as broad organizational structures but also as structures created through constant actions that are both voluntary and involuntary.

Digital Natives

Video Contest

  • Who’s the Everyday Digital Native? A global video contest finds the answer!
    CIS and Hivos are excited to announce the top five videos. The finalists will each win EUR 500. According to Nishant Shah, the 12 video proposals show that the everyday digital native does not wake up in the morning and think, ‘today I will change the world’. Yet, in their everyday lives, when they see the possibility of producing a change in their immediate environments, they turn to the digital to find networks that can start a change.

Public Lectures

  • D:Coding Digital Natives (Nishant Shah, University of California, Los Angeles, March 9, 2012)
    "In the last three years of revolutions we have also now witnessed this extraordinary thing where lot of promises were made of different kinds of revolution but which never materialised in terms of what they intended to. Citizen action happens but it doesn’t lead into anything concrete." The lecture is featured in YouTube.

Column in Indian Express

  • Pinning the Badge
    Nishant Shah, March 18, 2012
    In a world of competition, badging provides a holistic way of grading and learning, where individual talents are realized and the knowledge of the group is used. A peer-2-peer system of badging, which enables learners to be critically aware not only of their own interaction with knowledge but also recognises the ways in which larger communities of knowledge — including the peers and teachers — opens up an extraordinary way of thinking about education.

Book Review...A Few Excerpts

  • An Experiment in Social Engineering: The Cultural Context of an Avatar
    ‘Engineering a cyber twin’ is an attempt to inventory the ontological features of an avatar... Ansher’s essay… eschews a simplistic binary of offline/online, preferring to focus on the domain of interaction between the two ‘personae’ of the same self
    Pramod K. Nayar reviews Nilofar Shamim Ansher’s essay ‘Engineering a Cyber Twin’ from Digital Alternatives with a Cause? Book One: To Be.



  • Analysis of Comments by WBU & IPA
    Rahul Cherian provides an analysis of the comments by the World Blind Union and the International Publishers Association after the 23rd session of the Standing Committee of Copyright and Related Rights.

Event Organised

  • ITU Tutorial on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (India International Centre, New Delhi, March 14 to 15, 2012): At the invitation of the Centre for Internet and Society, in cooperation with the ITU-APT Foundation of India, International Telecommunication Union organized a two-day Tutorial on Audio Visual Media Accessibility. The Tutorial was preceded by the fourth meeting of the Focus Group on Audio Visual Media Accessibility on March 13, 2012. Sunil Abraham participated in the event and was the Master of Ceremony on Day 1, March 14, 2012.

Access to Knowledge

Op-ed in Economic Times

  • Patented Games, Sunil Abraham, March 8, 2012
    Some prefer Steve Jobs, patron saint of perfection, others prefer Nicholas Negroponte, messiah of the masses. While Mr. Jobs may be guilty of contributing to the digital divide, Mr. Negroponte may have contributed to bridging it with his innovation: the One Laptop per Child, also known as the $100 laptop or XO.

Events Participated

  • Consumers International Global Meeting 2012 (Kuala Lumpur, March 8 and 9, 2012): Pranesh Prakash participated in the global meeting organised by Consumers International and spoke on UN Consumer Guidelines. Robin Brown, Tobias Schönwetter and Guilherme Varella were the other speakers in the session.
  • Expert Meeting on Freedom of Expression and Intellectual Property Rights (London, November 18, 2011): The meeting was organized by ARTICLE 19. Nineteen international scholars, experts and human rights activists met to explore the antagonistic relationship between Intellectual Property (IP) and the rights to freedom of expression and information. Pranesh Prakash was one of the participants.


Events Organised

  • Open DataCamp — 2012 (Google, Old Madras Road, Bangalore, March 24, 2012): This was a one-day unconference for people working with data from various sectors to come together and share their projects and ideas. It was organised by the DataMeet group. Pranesh Prakash participated in the event. Google, India Water Portal, Gramener, Microsoft Research, Akshara Foundation, DataMeet, HasGeek and CIS were the sponsors.
  • Free Arduino Workshop (For Beginners): (CIS, Bangalore, March 3, 2012). The workshop drew participants such as interaction designers, artists and those enthusiastic to get started with creative projects but didn’t have prior experience with electronics. About 20 people participated in the workshop.

Events Participated

  • Water Data Consultation (Evoma Hotel, Bangalore, March 23, 2012). Pranesh Prakash spoke on Policy Issues and Developments around Open Data. The event was organized by Arghyam.

Internet Governance

Column in FirstPost

  • Why your Facebook Stalker is Not the Real Problem, Nishant Shah, March 20, 2012:We live in networked conditions. This is a statement that can now be taken at face-value, and immediately explains our highly connected, inter-meshed environments…We need to start looking at larger invasive policies exercises by the different invisible actors like the ISP, ICT ministries, corporate policies, design choices and architecture of interception that sustain the networks we so gladly embrace.

Blog Entries

Events Organised

  • India Explores the Balance Points between Freedom of Expression, Privacy, National Security and Law Enforcement (New Delhi, March 5, 2012). Sunil Abraham participated in this closed-door meeting jointly organised with the Global Network Initiative. Issues relating to freedom of expression and privacy were discussed in the meeting.
  • Climate Change and Controversy Mapping (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, March 19 to 21, 2012). The Devechia Centre for Climate Change, the Indian Institute of Science and CIS organized a three-day workshop with Professor Bruno Latour. Doctorate students doing empirical work in various types of ecological crisis participated in the event and experimented with some of the digital tools and methods developed within the "mapping controversies" consortium.
  • GeekUp with Erica Hagen (CIS, Bangalore, March 1, 2012). HasGeek organized a GeekUp with Erica Hagen of the GroundTruth Initiative. Erica gave a lecture on the theme: "From Information to Empowerment: Unpacking the Equation.
  • Cartonama Workshop (CIS, Bangalore, March 2 and 3, 2012). HasGeek organized a hands-on training for managing and building location based services. Twenty-two participants attended the workshop.
  • Global Censorship Conference

Events Participated

The Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale Law School is holding a conference on global censorship from March 30 to April 1, 2012, at Yale Law School. The programme is sponsored by the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and Thomson Reuters. Rishabh Dara, Google Policy Fellow who worked at CIS office in Bangalore on freedom of expression and internet-related policy issues is participating in the event as a speaker in the panel on Case Studies of Censorship.

Media Coverage

  • Data protection experts slam state for sending mass SMSes
    "The state government's use of unsolicited SMS a “clear abuse of the powers afforded by elected office... elected representatives would be justified in such measures, and in utilising public funds, in the event of a disaster, or when public order, public health or national security are compromised."
    Sunil Abraham, The Statesman, March 25, 2012.
  • Open access to government data on the cards
    "Welcoming the approval for the NDSAP, Pranesh Prakash, said, “None of the criticisms ... CIS had sent in as part of the feedback requested on the draft have been addressed."
    Pranesh Prakash, The Hindu, March 25, 2012.
  • Is your facebook page your mini resume?
    "Background checks are common as some companies deal with sensitive information. So it’s not illegal, but intrusive. I think some power relationships can be abused if they cross the social networking barrier — like a boss-employee and teacher-student relationship."
    Sunil Abraham, IBN Live, March 26, 2012.
  • Click, Play, Watch
    "Earlier, creative artistes depended on intermediaries like studios, TV channels and theatres to screen their work and connect with viewers. Now, they are looking at the online medium to connect with the audience directly."
    Sunil Abraham, MidDay, March 18, 2012.
  • India’s Big Bet on Identity
    "There are obviously both privacy and security concerns when you’re collecting personal data from more than a billion people. “You can’t change your biometrics,”… so if they become compromised, it’s a difficult problem to fix."
    Ieeespectrum. March 2012 edition.


Columns in Business Standard

  • The 2G Supreme Court Judgment
    Shyam Ponappa, March 1 and March 4, 2012
    The Business Standard published Shyam Ponappa's two-part article deconstructing the assumptions in the Supreme Court's 2G judgment, and suggesting possible ways forward. The first one was published on March 1, 2012, and the second on March 4, 2012.

Blog Entry

  • Convergence India 2012
    Yelena Gyulkhandanyan
    Yelena attended an event organised by the Exhibitions India Group from March 21 to 23, 2012. She shares her experiences.

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. Over the last four years our policy research programmes have resulted in outputs such as the e-Accessibility Policy Handbook for Persons with Disabilities with International Telecommunications Union, and Digital Alternatives with a Cause?, Thinkathon Position Papers and the Digital Natives with a Cause? Report with Hivos. With foreign governments we worked on National Enterprise Architecture and Government Interoperability Framework for Govt. of Iraq; Open Standards Policy for Govt. of Moldova; Free and Open Software Centre of Excellence project plan for Saudi Arabia; eGovernance Strategy Document for Govt. of Tajikistan. With the Government of India we have done policy research for 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, Interoperability Framework in eGovernance, Privacy Bill, NIA Bill, National Policy on Electronics and IT Act.

CIS is an accredited NGO at WIPO and has given policy briefs to delegations from various countries, our Programme Manager, 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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CIS is grateful to 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.