Centre for Internet & Society

Welcome to the Centre for Internet and Society newsletter! In this issue we bring you the updates of our research, events, media coverage and videos of some past events organized by us during the month of November 2011.

Digital Natives with a Cause?

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:

Key Research

  • On Fooling Around: Digital Natives and Politics in Asia
    by Nishant Shah, Director-Research
    Youths are not only actively participating in the politics of its times but also changing the way in which we understand the political processes of mobilisation, participation and transformation, writes Nishant. The paper was presented at the Digital Cultures in Asia conference at the Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.

Links in the Chain

  • Analog Relics in the Digital Age, volume 8, issue 4
    Guest Editor: Nilofar Ansher
    “The scale of inventions has not really leaped, so much as mutated. We had Twitter and Facebook ... (remember notice boards, community centers and pamphlets); they just weren’t so instant, hyperlinked and global in scale. We still use the medium of a mouthpiece and speaker to talk to each other long distance, the difference is in the changed aesthetics of the 21st century – it’s all squarish curves and scratch-proof glass that are more appealing today. Blackboards, writing material, listening devices and memory aids have undergone unprecedented transformations of function and usage, but it’s still about having a blank canvas to write upon with a chalk, pen, paper or iClick”, writes Nilofar in this issue of the Digital Natives newsletter.


  • In Search of the Other: Decoding Digital Natives: Nishant Shah charts the trajectories of our research at the Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore, India) and Hivos (The Hague, The Netherlands) to see how alternative models of understanding these relationships can be built. This blog post by Nishant Shah was published in DML central on 24 October 2011.

Staff Quoted in the Media

  • The Write Stuff, Deccan Chronicle, 14 November 2011. Nishant Shah has been quoted in this article.

Pathways for Learning in Higher Education

The Pathways Project for Learning in Higher Education is a collaboration between the Higher Education Innovation and Research Applications (HEIRA) at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS) and the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS). The project is supported by the Ford Foundation and works with disadvantaged students in 9 undergraduate colleges in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, to explore relationships between Technologies, Higher Education and the new forms of social justice in India.

Article Published by the Media

Learn it Yourself: The peer-to-peer world of online learning encourages conversations and reciprocal learning, writes Nishant Shah. The article was published by the Indian Express on 30 October 2011.

Video of Event Participated

  • Mobility Shifts 2011 — An International Future of Learning Summit: The summit was organised by the New School and sponsored by MacArthur Foundation and Mozilla. It was held from October 10 to October 16, 2011 at the New School, New York City. Nishant Shah participated in the summit and spoke on Digital Outcasts: Social Justice, Technology and Learning in India. The video of the event is online.


Estimates of the percentage of the world's population that is disabled vary considerably. But what is certain is that if we count functional disability, then a large proportion of the world's population is disabled in one way or another. At CIS we work to ensure that the digital technologies, which empower disabled people and provide them with independence, are allowed to do so in practice and by the law. To this end, we support web accessibility guidelines, and change in copyright laws that currently disempower the persons with disabilities.


  • e-Accessibility Policy Handbook for Persons with Disabilities (Russian Version)
    Edited by Nirmita Narasimhan
    The e-Accessibility Policy Handbook for Persons with Disabilities is now available in Russian. The handbook is a joint publication of ITU, G3ict and the Centre for Internet and Society, in cooperation with the Hans Foundation. Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union wrote the preface. Dr. Sami Al-Basheer, Director, ITU-D wrote the introduction and Axel Leblois, Executive Director, G3ict wrote the foreword.

Blog Post

Access to Knowledge

The Access to Knowledge programme addresses the harms caused to consumers, developing countries, human rights, and creativity/innovation from excessive regimes of copyright, patents, and other such monopolistic rights over knowledge:

Key Research

  • Of Jesters, Clowns and Pranksters: YouTube and the Condition of Collaborative Authorship
    by Nishant Shah, Director-Research, Centre for Internet and Society
    The idea of a single author creating cinematic objects in a well-controlled scheme of support system and production/distribution infrastructure has been fundamentally challenged by the emergence of digital video sharing sites like YouTube, writes Nishant Shah in this essay published in the Journal of Moving Images.

Blog Posts

Comments / Statement

  • CIS Intervention on Future Work of the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement: The seventh session of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) is being held in Geneva on November 30 and December 1, 2011. Pranesh Prakash intervened during the discussion of future work of the ACE with this comment.
  • Comment by CIS at ACE on Presentation on French Charter on the Fight against Cyber-Counterfeiting: The seventh session of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Advisory Committee on Enforcement is being held in Geneva on November 30 and December 1, 2011. Pranesh Prakash responded to a presentation by Prof. Pierre Sirinelli of the École de droit de la Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 on 'The French Charter on the Fight against Cyber-Counterfeiting of December 16, 2009' with this comment.
  • Statement of CIS on the WIPO Broadcast Treaty at the 23rd SCCR: The twenty-third session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights is being held in Geneva from November 22, 2011 to December 2, 2011. Pranesh Prakash delivered this statement on a new proposal made by South Africa and Mexico (SCCR/23/6) on a treaty for broadcasters.


The 'Openness' programme critically examines alternatives to existing regimes of intellectual property rights, and transparency and accountability. Under this programme, we study Open Government Data, Open Access to Scholarly Literature, Open Content, Open Standards, Open Access to Law, and Free/Libre/Open Source Software:

Featured Research

  • Know Your Users, Match their Needs!
    As Free Access to Law initiatives in the Global South enter into a new stage of maturity, they must be certain not to lose sight of their users’ needs. This blog post gives a summary of the “Good Practices Handbook”, a research output of the collaborative project Free Access to Law — Is it Here to Stay? undertaken by LexUM (Canada) and the South African Legal Institute in partnership with the Centre for Internet and Society. Rebecca Schild and Prashant Iyengar from CIS were part of the research team.

Event Organised

  • Open Access to Academic Knowledge, organised by the Indian Institute of Science and CIS at National Centre for Science Information, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore on 2 November 2011. Tom Dane participated in this event.

Event Participated

  • 3rd Canadian Science Policy Conference, organised by Canadian Science Policy Conference from16 to 18 November 2011 at the Ottawa Convention Centre. Sunil Abraham spoke in the session on Global Implications of Open and Inclusive Innovation.


Internet Governance

The Internet Governance programme conducts research around the various social, technical, and political underpinnings of global and national Internet governance, and includes online privacy, freedom of speech, and Internet governance mechanisms and processes:

Comments / Submissions



  • Professor Balaram talks Open Access : Tom Dane spoke with Professor P Balaram, Director of the Indian Institute of Science about the Open Access movement. A podcast of the interview is online.

Event Report

  • The 2nd IJLT-CIS Lecture Series — A Post-event Report : The 2nd IJLT-CIS Lecture Series was organised by the Indian Journal of Law and Technology and CIS on the 21st and 22nd of May 2011 at the National Law School of India University, Nagarbhavi, Bangalore. The main theme for this year was Emerging Issues in Privacy Law: Law, Policy and Practice.

Essay in Peer Reviewed Journal

  • Material Cyborgs; Asserted Boundaries
    by Nishant Shah, Director-Research
    Nishant explores the possibility of formulating the cyborg as an author or translator who is able to navigate between the different binaries of ‘meat–machine’, ‘digital–physical’, and ‘body–self’, using the abilities and the capabilities learnt in one system in an efficient and effective understanding of the other. The essay was published in the European Journal of English Studies, Volume 12, Issue 2.


  • What is Dilligaf? On the web, time moves at the speed of thought: Groups emerge, proliferate and are abandoned as new trends and fads take precedence. Nowhere else is this dramatic flux as apparent as in the language that evolves online. While SMS lingo – like TTYL (Talk To You Later) and LOL (Laughing Out Loud)– has endured and become a part of everyday language, new forms of speech are taking over. This article by Nishant Shah was published in GQ India.
  • The Book of Jobs The man who made the computer personal, who changed the face of the digital media industry, who was inspired by Zen philosophy to create an eight-billion-dollar empire, Steve Jobs, died last month. Just a few weeks before his death, in the midst of his painful illness, he told Walter Isaacson, the man chosen to write his authorised biography, “I really want to believe that something survives”. And Isaacson wrote him a fairy tale which will make sure that Jobs will be remembered beyond the gizmos and gimmicks, writes Nishant Shah in this article published in the Indian Express on 12 November 2011.

Staff Quoted in the Media

Blog Posts

Events Organised

  • Exposing Data: Art Slash Activism organised by Tactical Tech and CIS at CIS office in Bangalore on 28 November 2011. Ward Smith and Stephanie Hankey (Co-founders of TTC), Ayisha Abraham (Filmmaker, Srishti School of Art Design) and Zainab Bawa (Research Fellow, CIS) gave a lecture.

Events Participated

  • Western Ghats Portal: Workshop on Biodiversity Informatics organised by the Western Ghats Portal team at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, 25 November 2011. Sunil Abraham spoke in the session on Scientific Commons and Policy.
  • Names Not Numbers Mumbai, 26 November 2011. Nishant Shah spoke in a panel on “The New Digital Individual: Is New Technology Liberating or Enslaving?”. The event was organised by Editorial Intelligence and partners which included the British Council and Financial Times, BBC World News, Mumbai first, Vodafone, Trident and Godrej India Cultural Lab.

Upcoming Events


  • Facebook Resistance Workshop at CIS. This was a workshop for people to learn on how to think beyond the rules and limitations of Facebook, to tweak and play around the features and design to generate useful, creative, and funny concepts and explore how this creative intervention can be turned into a real software developed by the Facebook Resistance.


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:


  • Telecom Path-Breaker? (by Shyam Ponappa): Does the draft National Telecom Policy-2011 reflect true brilliance or smoke-and-mirrors? It will be a game-changer if a shared network is implemented effectively, writes Shyam Ponappa in this article published in the Business Standard on 3 November 2011.

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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.