Centre for Internet & Society

We at the Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) welcome you to the third issue of the newsletter (March) for the year 2014.


  • The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) and the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) published a report on making the 2014 General Elections in India participatory and accessible for voters with disabilities.
  • CIS also published a report of a test conducted to determine the accessibility of websites of the Election Commission of India, the Parliament and some key political parties in India.
  • Proceedings of the 26th session of WIPO-SCCR are brought forth in a 3 part summary. Varun Baliga and Alexandra Bhattacharya of the Third World Network provided their inputs.
  • The Access to Knowledge team from CIS (CIS-A2K) published a detailed draft work plan. These include 7 language area plans, 3 community strengthening initiatives, 8 stand-alone Wikimedia projects, creating movement resources, publicity, research and documentation, and general support and service to the movement.
  • CIS received a leaked version of the draft Privacy Bill 2014 that the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India has drafted. Significant changes noted in the current bill when compared to the September 2011 Privacy Bill are analysed in a blog post.
  • As part of the Making Change project Denisse Albornoz has produced an analysis of the accessibility challenges for digital immigrants and the importance of behavioural science for the design of digital technologies in a blog post.
  • Dr. Nishant Shah was a panelist at an event on Digital Gender organized by HUMLAB and Umeå Centre for Gender Studies. He blogged about the event in HUMLAB Blog.


CIS is seeking applications for the post of Programme Officer (Access to Knowledge): http://bit.ly/1fnydB0. There are two vacancies for this post one in Delhi and one in Bangalore. To apply, please send your resume to Sunil Abraham ([email protected]), Nirmita Narasimhan ([email protected]) and Pranesh Prakash ([email protected]) with three writing samples of which at least one demonstrates your analytic skills, and one that shows your ability to simplify complex policy issues.

Accessibility and Inclusion

Under a grant from the Hans Foundation we are doing two projects. The first project is on creating a national resource kit of state-wise laws, policies and programmes on issues relating to persons with disabilities in India. We have completed compilation of draft chapters for 29 states and 6 union territories. The chapters along with the quarterly reports can be accessed on the project page available at: http://bit.ly/1e1FzgD. The second project is on developing text-to-speech software for 15 Indian languages. The progress made so far in the project can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/1hi1EI1.


Blog Entry

Other Accessibility Updates



  • Constitution of the High Level Advisory Committee on National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility. CIS has been invited to serve on the high level committee on electronic accessibility policy constituted by the Indian government. This was communicated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology: http://bit.ly/1ieuNz3.

Media Coverage

  • Are Elections Fair to People With Special Needs? (by Papiya Bhattacharya, New Indian Express, April 8, 2014): http://bit.ly/1hrQ7WS.
  • Enabling Elections (Vijay Karnataka, April 9, 2014): http://bit.ly/1mXFpJM. This was published in Kannada language.

Access to Knowledge

International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has funded CIS to do research on the complex interplay between pervasive technologies and intellectual property and to use the research outputs to support intellectual property norms that encourage, not inhibit, the proliferation and further development of such technologies as a social good. Further, the Access to Knowledge programme addresses the harms caused to consumers and human rights, and critically examines Open Government Data, Open Access to Scholarly Literature, and Open Access to Law, Open Content, Open Standards, and Free/Libre/Open Source Software.

Blog Entries

  • NGO Profile: Knowledge Ecology International (by Puneeth Nagraj, March 11, 2014): http://bit.ly/1fRFTNd.
  • 004: A License to Share (by Devika Agarwal, March 17, 2014): http://bit.ly/PL85aJ
  • Broadcast Treaty: An Overview (by Varun Baliga, March 20, 2014): http://bit.ly/1e2Pli6.
  • WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) 26th Session- Consolidated Notes (Part 1 of 3) (by Nehaa Chaudhari, March 18, 2014): http://bit.ly/1fRH3s1.
  • WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) 26th Session- Consolidated Notes (Part 2 of 3) (by Nehaa Chaudhari, March 20, 2014): http://bit.ly/1imQ3E0.
  • WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) 26th Session- Consolidated Notes (Part 3 of 3)  (by Nehaa Chaudhari, March 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/1kfnI8o.
  • Cultural Interests vs. Modernization: Robert Shapiro on IPR & Innovation in India (by Samantha Cassar, March 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/1fRNStF.

Upcoming Event

  • NASA International Space Apps Challenge 2014 (CIS, Bangalore, April 12 – 13, 2014): http://bit.ly/1mVy8tZ.

Participation in Events

  • 9th Session of the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement (organized by WIPO, March 3 - 5, 2014, Geneva): http://bit.ly/1ifeS3p. Puneeth Nagraj participated in this event.
  • 2nd International Conference Competition Law - Challenges in the Implementation (organized by ASSOCHAM, New Delhi, March 8, 2014). Nehaa Chaudhari participated in the event.
  • Design!Public (organized by Centre for Knowledge Societies in partnership with in partnership with Grameen Foundation India, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNDP, et.al., New Delhi, March 14, 2014): http://bit.ly/1g1jyNj. Sunil Abraham was a speaker at the event.
  • Stakeholders meeting to discuss the NCAER Report on "Parallel Imports" (organized by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi, March 26, 2014). Nehaa Chaudhari participated in the event: http://bit.ly/1hkyN62.

The following has been done under grant from the Wikimedia Foundation (http://bit.ly/SPqFOl). As part this project (http://bit.ly/X80ELd), we organised 9 workshops in the month of March (http://bit.ly/1hvdUPE), wrote articles for DNA, Opensource.com, Global Voices, Foss Force, etc., and prepared a detailed work plan for July 2014 – June 2015:


Draft Work Plan

  • India Access to Knowledge/Draft Work plan July 2014 - June 2015 (by T. Vishnu Vardhan, March 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/1hWE2Yh. A detailed work plan for languages like Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Marathi, Odia and Telugu was prepared by the CIS-A2K team.

Articles / Blog Entries

  • Open Education Week: Interview with Subhashish Panigrahi (by Noopur Raval, March 14, 2014): http://bit.ly/1e3KwFr.
  • Open Source Project Brings 11th Century Kannada Verses Online (by Pavithra Hanchagaiah, Omshivaprakash H L and Subhashish Panigrahi, March 19, 2014): http://bit.ly/POf9TW.
  • Vachana Sanchaya: 11th century Kannada literature to enrich Wikisource (by by Pavithra Hanchagaiah, Omshivaprakash H L and Subhashish Panigrahi, March 20, 2014): http://bit.ly/1kgYiaw.
  • ଓଡ଼ିଆ ଉଇକିପିଡ଼ିଆ: ତିନି ବର୍ଷର ସକ୍ରିୟ ଅବଦାନ ୧୦ ବର୍ଷର ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପକୁ ପୁନର୍ଜୀବନ ଦେଲା (by Subhashish Panigrahi, March 20, 2014): http://bit.ly/1gB9qa8.
  • Digitize any Book in the Public Domain (by Subhashish Panigrahi, Opensource.com, March 27, 2014): http://bit.ly/1iqXgDb.

Events Organized

  • First Urdu Wikipedia Workshop (Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, March 4, 2014): http://bit.ly/1ihqPpj. Syed Muzamiluddin conducted the workshop. The event was covered by Taemeer News, Aalami Akhbar, and Firokhabar on March 5, 2014. A video of the event was published by Ruby News.
  • Telugu Wikipedia Women’s Day (Hyderabad, March 8, 2014): http://bit.ly/1e3NvO8. The event was covered by Andhra Prabha Telugu daily and Andhra Bhoomi.
  • Wiki Women’s Day (International Center Goa, March 9, 2014): http://bit.ly/MRRJLy. Frederick Noronha conducted the workshop. The event was organized as part of the commemoration of the International Women's Day.
  • Wikipedia Editathon on India Women's History (Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology (CBIT), Hyderabad, March 8, 2014). The event was covered by Andhra Prabha and Andhra Bhoomi on March 8, 2014. Syed Muzamiluddin participated in the event.
  • Kannada Wikipedia Workshop (SDM College, Ujire, March 23, 2014). Dr. U.B.Pavanaja conducted a workshop. Renuka Phadnis wrote a report of the event in the Hindu on March 24, 2014: http://bit.ly/1ekkf0m.
  • Community Capacity Building Workshop (KIIT University, March 30, 2014): http://bit.ly/1haLAaf. Subhashish Panigrahi along with experienced Wikipedians mentored the Odia Wikipedia community about community building strategies and outreach.

Events Co-organized

  • Kannada Wikipedia Workshop (organized by Kannada Times Sagara and co-sponsored by CIS-A2K, Sagara, March 1-2, 2014). Dr. U.B. Pavanaja conducted a Kannada Wikipedia workshop on March 1, followed a by edit-a-thon on Mar 2, 2014. The event was covered by Suvarna Prabha (March 1, 2014, http://bit.ly/1hjLbTL)  and Vijaya Karnataka (March 2, 2014, http://bit.ly/1jmRMLA).
  • Odisha Day 2014 (organized by CIS-A2K and Odia Wikipedia community, Jayadev Bhawan, Bhubaneswar, March 29, 2014): http://bit.ly/1e6Lwsg. About 70 people participated in the event. The event was featured in the media about 14 times.

Participation in Events

  • Sessions on Kannada Wikipedia (organized by Tumkur University, March 27, 2014): http://bit.ly/1kB7It8. Dr. U.B.Pavanaja conducted a session on Kannada Wikipedia for students of M.Sc. Library and Information Sciences followed by an advanced Kannada Wikipedia session for students of M.A. Literature.
  • The Dynamics of Education to Employment Journey: Opportunities and Challenges (organized by KIIT School of Management, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, February 21-22, 2014). T. Vishnu Vardhan gave a talk: http://bit.ly/1ePwqHc.

CIS gave its inputs to the following media coverage:

Media Coverage

  • Integrating Urdu with Modern Technology the Need of Hour (Daily Taskeen, March 6, 2014): http://bit.ly/1fZgcH6.
  • ଓଡ଼ିଶା ଦିବସ: ଓଡ଼ିଆ ଭାଷା ଭିତ୍ତିରେ ରାଜ୍ୟ ଗଠନର ୭୯ ବର୍ଷ (Odishan.com, March 27, 2014): http://bit.ly/OvTLCb.
  • Odia Wikipedia (The Telegraph, March 29, 2014): http://bit.ly/1qihWAb. Subhashish Panigrahi spoke about Odia Wikipedia plan.
  • Odia Wikimedia community celebrated Odisha day, bringing 14 copyright free Odia books (Odishadiary, March 29, 2014): http://bit.ly/1lJJ4ur.
  • Odia Wikipedia Brings 14 Copyright Free Odia Books and a Free Odia Font (Odishabarta, March 29, 2014): http://bit.ly/1mRHzI2. Subhashish Panigrahi shared the vision of the Wikimedia movement.
  • ‘Digitisation only way to preserve valuable literature for posterity’ (Odisha Sun Times, March 29, 2014): http://bit.ly/1lF3Pok.
  • Odia Wikipedia to Digitise 14 Books (The Pioneer, March 30, 2014): http://bit.ly/1ec4Rsp.
  • ଓଡ଼ିଆରେ ଉଇକିପିଡିଆ ଓ ଉଇକିପାଠାଗାର: ଓଡ଼ିଆ ପୁସ୍ତକ ଏଣିକି ମୁକ୍ତରେ ମିଳିବ ଇଣ୍ଟରନେଟରେ (Odishan, March 30, 2014): http://bit.ly/1mVfeU1. Subhashish Panigrahi read out the annual report.
  • Odisha Day 2014 (Odisha Samay, March 30, 2014): http://bit.ly/1haQtzS.
  • Odisha Day 2014 (Sambad, March 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/1irzOWf.

Internet Governance

As part of its research on privacy and free speech, CIS is engaged with two different projects. The first one (under a grant from Privacy International and International Development Research Centre (IDRC)) is on surveillance and freedom of expression (SAFEGUARDS). The second one (under a grant from MacArthur Foundation) is on studying the restrictions placed on freedom of expression online by the Indian government. As part of our research we bring you an analysis highlighting the differences between the leaked version of the Privacy Bill and the September 2011 Privacy Bill.


Blog Entries

  • Comparison of Section 35(1) of the Draft Human DNA Profiling Bill and Section 4 of the Identification Act Revised Statute of Canada (by Elonnai Hickok, March 3, 2014): http://bit.ly/1jmTWuI.
  • New Standard Operating Procedures for Lawful Interception and Monitoring (by Divij Joshi, March 13, 2014): http://bit.ly/1mRRIo4.
  • NTIA to give up control of the Internet's root (by Pranesh Prakash, March 18, 2014): http://bit.ly/1hRVA7R.
  • Net Neutrality and Privacy (by Divij Joshi, March 20, 2014): http://bit.ly/1khi1GQ.
  • European Union Draft Report Admonishes Mass Surveillance, Calls for Stricter Data Protection and Privacy Laws (by Elonnai Hickok, March 20, 2014): http://bit.ly/1h5Hksm.
  • Leaked Privacy Bill: 2014 vs. 2011 (by Elonnai Hickok, March 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/QV0Y0w.
  • Intermediary Liability Resources (by Elonnai Hickok, March 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/1hRT8OD. This blog post will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Event Co-organized

  • Counter Surveillance Panel: DiscoTech & Hackathon (co-organized by CIS, MIT Centre for Civic Media Co-Design Lab,  Tactical Technology Collective, Hackteria.org and Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Bangalore, March 1, 2014): http://bit.ly/NCGMyH.

Participation in Events

  • RightsCon Silicon Valley 2014 (organized by RightsCon, San Francisco, March 3 and 4, 2014): http://bit.ly/1kBluvP. Pranesh Prakash and Malavika Jayaram were speakers at this event.
  • Internet Governance Round-table (hosted by British High Commission, New Delhi, March 4, 2014): http://bit.ly/1kBljAJ. Geetha Hariharan participated in the round-table conference.
  • “The Internet and Controls: A Disturbing Scenario” (organized by Bangalore International Centre, TERI, Bangalore, March 7, 2014): http://bit.ly/QVc2ea. Sunil Abraham chaired and moderated the session.
  • How to Engage in Broadband Policy and Regulatory Processes (organized by LIRNEasia with the support of the Ford Foundation, Gurgaon, March 9, 2014): http://bit.ly/1fUgUZQ. Sunil Abraham taught Surveillance and Privacy.
  • International Conference on Cyberlaw & Cybercrime (organized by Cyberlaws.net and Pawan Duggal Associates, New Delhi, March 13, 2014): http://bit.ly/1fUgliD. Sunil Abraham was a panelist.
  • ICANN and Global Internet Governance: The Road to São Paulo, and Beyond (organized by the NonCommercial Users Constituency and ICANN, Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, March 21, 2014): http://bit.ly/1hjT0J5. Pranesh Prakash was a speaker. Geetha Hariharan participated in the event.
  • Panel Discussion – Intermediary Liability & Freedom of Expression in India (organized by the Centre for Communication Governance at NLU Delhi in association with the Global Network Initiative, Washington D.C., India International Centre Annex, New Delhi, March 26, 2014): http://bit.ly/1hjRlU1. Bhairav Acharya participated in the event.
  • Governance issues for private data stores (co-hosted by Harvard Faculty Club and Web Science Trust, 20 Quincy Street, Cambridge, March 28, 2014): http://bit.ly/1gBtjOk. Malavika Jayaram was a speaker at this event.
  • Cyber Dialogue 2014 (organized by the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, March 30 – 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/QZBTSg. Malavika Jayaram participated in the event.

News & Media Coverage

CIS gave its inputs to the following recent media coverage:

  • India: Privacy Bill will likely reflect EU Directive (DataGuidance, March 3, 2014): http://bit.ly/1fUirPp.
  • India’s ballot battle will also run through Facebook (by Zia Haq, Hindustan Times, March 4, 2014): http://bit.ly/1oFyjeM.
  • ‘Mobile’ voters may sway polls (by Avantika Chilkoti, BDlive, March 5, 2014): http://bit.ly/1mTB0HK.
  • Girls just wanna have... a voice (The Telegraph, March 8, 2014): http://bit.ly/1e3Y57y.
  • When politics gets social (by Chanpreet Khurana, Livemint, March 11, 2014): http://bit.ly/QVaSPW.
  • The Internet Will Be Everywhere In 2025, For Better Or Worse (WCAI Cape and Islands NPR, March 12, 2014): http://bit.ly/1qbxkyj.
  • C-DoT's surveillance system making enemies on internet (by Krishna Bahirwani, DNA, March 21, 2014): http://bit.ly/1mS3q1P.
  • No to homosexuals, yes to their vote (by Yogesh Pawar, DNA, March 21, 2014): http://bit.ly/1gBwoO9.
  • India's social media election battle (by Atish Patel, BBC, March 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/1khoH7Z.

Digital Humanities

CIS is building 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. The clusters aim to produce and document new conversations and debates that shape the contours of Digital Humanities in Asia:

Blog Entries

  • Digital Humanities: The Ecto-Parasite (by Anirudh Sridhar, March 12, 2014): http://bit.ly/1khz1Nl.
  • A Question of Digital Humanities (by Sneha PP, March 20, 2014): http://bit.ly/1mTCtOn.
  • Structure, Sign and Play in the Digital (by Anirudh Sridhar, March 28, 2014): http://bit.ly/QVgBoL.
  • Fishing is the New Black: Contemporary Art Imitates the Digital (by Anirudh Sridhar, March 28, 2014): http://bit.ly/1khzChU.
  • A Queer Digital Humanities Experience (by Ditilekha Sharma, March 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/1khzPSj.
  • The Digital Humanities Discourse: The Knowledge Question on the Wikipedia (by Sohnee Harshey, March 31, 2014): http://bit.ly/1kBocRW.

Participation in Event

  • Digital Gender: Theory, Methodology and Practice (co-organized by HUMlab and UCGS (Umeå Centre for Gender Studies), Umeå University, March 12 – 14, 2014). Dr. Nishant Shah was a panelist. He blogged about the event in HUMLAB Blog: http://bit.ly/1jmZSUD.

Digital Natives

CIS is doing a research project titled “Making Change”. The project will explore new ways of defining, locating, and understanding change in network societies. Having the thought piece 'Whose Change is it Anyway' as an entry point for discussion and reflection, the project will feature profiles, interviews and responses of change-makers to questions around current mechanisms and practices of change in South Asia and South East Asia:

Making Change Project

Blog Entry

  • Digital Design: Human Behavior vs. Technology (by Denisse Albornoz, March 4, 2014): http://bit.ly/1hjV4Rn.


Shyam Ponappa, a Distinguished Fellow at CIS is a regular columnist with the Business Standard. The articles published on his blog Organizing India Blogspot is mirrored on our website:

Newspaper Column

  • Extractive Charges on Spectrum & Petroleum (by Shyam Ponappa, Business Standard, March 5, 2014, Observer India Blogspot, March 6, 2014): http://bit.ly/1khyMSz.

About CIS

The Centre for Internet and Society is a non-profit research organization that works on policy issues relating to freedom of expression, privacy, accessibility for persons with disabilities, access to knowledge and IPR reform, and openness (including open government, FOSS, open standards, etc.), and engages in academic research on digital natives and digital humanities.

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► 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]. To discuss collaborations on Indic language Wikipedia, write to T. Vishnu Vardhan, Programme Director, A2K, at [email protected].

CIS is grateful to its donors, Wikimedia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Privacy International, UK, Hans Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, IDRC and 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.