Centre for Internet & Society

March 2018 newsletter

Dear readers,

Previous issues of the newsletters can be accessed here.

  • CIS in partnership with DataMeet and Arghyam is exploring the early steps for making open data and tools to plan for water resources accessible to all. As a move to celebrate World Water Day 2018 we are sharing a paper that we had been working on titled Open Data for Water Studies in India and a web app to make open water data easily explorable and usable.
  • Disability rights activist Javed Abidi, former Director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People who was instrumental in bringing issues pertaining to various disabilities under an umbrella organisation, and ensuring greater visibility in mainstream media passed away recently. Remembering Abidi, Dr. Nirmita Narasimhan spoke to Ambika Tandon about how they worked together to push National Policy on Universal Electronics Accessibility.
  • CIS, Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia India and other affiliates of India have initiated Chromebook for the Project Tiger to enable writers from various Indic languages to create quality content in Indic languages. The project will also help Wikipedia editors by supporting them with internet charges for 6 months and laptops to 50 volunteers to address content gaps.
  • Sunil Abraham in an article in the Business Standard has thrown light on the Cambridge Analytica Scandal and explained how India needs to save democracy from hegemonic incumbents with open source alternatives. For this the government should use its procurement powers.
  • CIS has been instrumental in having ICANN become transparent about their revenue with our persistent requests for their sources of revenue. In our latest analysis we have presented a picture of ICANN financials from 2012 to 2016.
  • In an article published in the Business Standard Shyam Ponappa wrote about correcting misinformed impressions about NPAs, and the Swedish model for setting up a bad bank.
  • In an initial literature survey CIS has focused on how scholars in a diversity of fields, ranging from Information Science and Science and Technology Studies to Anthropology and Political Science, have engaged with how state infrastructures mediate the state-citizen relationship.


CIS in the News:


India has an estimated 70 million disabled persons who are unable to read printed materials due to some form of physical, sensory, cognitive or other disability. The disabled need accessible content, devices and interfaces facilitated via copyright law and accessibility policies. CIS works to facilitate this.

Blog Entry

Access to Knowledge

Access to Knowledge (A2K) 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. Our A2K program comprises 2 projects: Pervasive Technologies done under a grant from International Development Research Centre examining interplay between cost-effective pervasive technologies and intellectual property and encouraging development of such technologies for social good, and Wikipedia under a grant from Wikimedia Foundation to enable the growth of Indic language communities and cultivate new editors in different Indian languages.


Events Organized

The reports for the events were published in March 2018:

  • Marathi Language Day events (February 27, 2018). Marathi Language day is celebrated all over world on February 27. Various events and activities were conducted by CIS-A2K in collaboration with community, institutions and government departments. A guest editorial was published in Sakal newspaper on February 10, 2018. There was a radio interview Tomato FM 94.3 Kolhapur on February 27, 2018 for which promotion was made through Facebook. News on the events was also covered in Pudhari, Lokmat and Samana.
  • Mini Train the Trainer 2018 (Organized by CIS-A2K; Jnana Prabodhini & Bhave High School; Sadashiv Peth, Pune; February 24 - 25, 2018).

Blog Entry


Innovation and creativity are fostered through openness and collaboration. Our work in the Openness program focuses on open data, especially open government data, open access, open education resources, open knowledge in Indic languages, open media, and open technologies and standards - hardware and software.

Note: We missed carrying our updates in our Openness program in previous newsletter, hence reproducing them here.

Open Data

Open Access

Open Access India recently released a statement to promote openness in science and research communities. CIS contributed to the text and introduced it to the participants of OpenCon 2018, Delhi.

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 programs that shape the evolution and use of the internet. CIS is engaged in two different projects. The first one (under a grant from Privacy International and IDRC) is on surveillance and freedom of expression (SAFEGUARDS). The second one (under a grant from MacArthur Foundation) is on restrictions that the Indian government has placed on freedom of expression online.

Free Speech & Expression

Blog Entry

Cyber Security

Blog Entry

Participation in Event


Events Organized

Participation in Events


CIS is involved in promoting access and accessibility to telecommunications services and resources, and has provided inputs to ongoing policy discussions and consultation papers published by TRAI. It has prepared reports on unlicensed spectrum and accessibility of mobile phones for persons with disabilities and also works with the USOF to include funding projects for persons with disabilities in its mandate:

Newspaper Column

  • NPAs & Bad Banks (Shyam Ponappa; Business Standard; February 28, 2018 and Organizing India Blogspot; March 1, 2018).

Researchers at Work
The Researchers at Work (RAW) programme is an interdisciplinary research initiative driven by an emerging need to understand the reconfigurations of social practices and structures through the Internet and digital media technologies, and vice versa. It aims to produce local and contextual accounts of interactions, negotiations, and resolutions between the Internet, and socio-material and geo-political processes:

Blog Entry

Event Organized

  • Designing Urban Nervous Systems (Organized by CIS; Bengaluru; March 27, 2018). Dr. Anupam Saraph, a future designer and an expert on complex systems gave a talk on looking at cities as living organisms, with nervous systems at the center of their being.

About CIS
The Centre for Internet and Society (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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► Request for Collaboration

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.