Centre for Internet & Society

CIS newsletter for October 2019:

Highlights for October 2019
  • Gurshabad Grover has been nominated through the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to be a member of the Advisory Group on Open Source Software for ISO/IEC JTC 1.
  • In the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, and the President of France, Emmanuel Macron co-chaired the Christchurch Call to Action in May 2018 to “bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism.” CIS sent its comments to the Call.
  • Over the past decade, a few private online intermediaries, by rapid innovation and integration, have turned into regulators of a substantial amount of online speech. Such concentrated power calls for a high level of responsibility on them to ensure that the rights of the users online, including their rights to free speech and privacy, are maintained. CIS has analyzed the companies' transparency reports for government requests for user data and content removal.
  • The Department of Labour convened an interaction program of sorts at Vikas Soudha in Bangalore on 21st October, 2019 to hear the issues plaguing the emergent gig economy. Bharath Gururagavendran has thrown more light on this in a blog post.
  • CIS presented a response to the ‘Gender issues arising in the digital era and their impacts on women, men and individuals of diverse sexual orientations gender identities, gender expressions and sex characteristics.
  • CIS made a submission to the draft Code on Social Security, 2019 prepared by the Government of India’s Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  • On October 17, 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, released his thematic report on digital technology, social protection and human rights. Understanding the impact of technology on the provision of social protection – and, by extent, its impact on people in vulnerable situations – has been part of the work CIS has been doing.
  • A case study titled Farming the Future: Deployment of Artificial Intelligence in the agricultural sector in India was published as a chapter in the joint UNESCAP-Google publication titled Artificial Intelligence in Public Service Delivery.
  • In response to our call for contributions and reflections on ‘Decolonising the Internet’s Languages’ in August, we are delighted to announce that we received 50 submissions, in over 38 languages! From all these extraordinary offerings, we have selected nine that we will invite and support the contributors to expand further.
  • In a case study undertaken as part of the Big Data for Development (BD4D) network, Ambika Tandon evaluates the Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) as data-driven initiative in reproductive health at the national level in India.

CIS and the News

The following articles and research papers were authored by CIS secretariat during the month:

CIS in the News

CIS secretariat was consulted for the following articles published during the month in various publications:

Access to Knowledge

Access to Knowledge 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.


Under a grant from Wikimedia Foundation we are doing a project for the growth of Indic language communities and projects by designing community collaborations and partnerships that recruit and cultivate new editors and explore innovative approaches to building projects.

Blog Entry

    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 programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet. As part of internet governance work we work on policy issues relating to freedom of expression primarily focusing on the Information Technology Act and issues of liability of intermediaries for unlawful speech and simultaneously ensuring that the right to privacy is safeguarded as well.

    Freedom of Speech & Expression

    Under a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, CIS is doing research on the restrictions placed on freedom of expression online by the Indian government and contribute studies, reports and policy briefs to feed into the ongoing debates at the national as well as international level. As part of the project we bring you the following outputs:

    Research Paper

    Submissions / Analysis

    Blog Entry

      Participation in Events


      Participation in Event


      Under a grant from Privacy International and IDRC we are doing a project on surveillance. CIS is researching the history of privacy in India and how it shapes the contemporary debates around technology mediated identity projects like Aadhar. As part of our ongoing research, we bring you the following outputs:


      Participation in Events

        Artificial Intelligence / Digital Technology

        With origins dating back to the 1950s Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not necessarily new. However, interest in AI has been rekindled over the recent years due to advancements of technology and its applications to real-world scenarios. We conduct research on the existing legal and regulatory parameters:

        Blog Entry

        • AI for Good (Shweta Mohandas and Saumyaa Naidu; edited by Elonnai Hickok; October 9, 2019).

        Participation in Events


        The researchers@work programme at CIS produces and supports pioneering and sustained trans-disciplinary research on key thematics at the intersections of internet and society; organise and incubate networks of and fora for researchers and practitioners studying and making internet in India; and contribute to development of critical digital pedagogy, research methodology, and creative practice.


        Case Study

        Participation in Event

        Blog Entries

          About CIS

          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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          Support CIS:

          Please help us defend consumer and 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.

          Collaborate with CIS:

          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.