Centre for Internet & Society

We are happy to share with you the ninth issue of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) newsletter (September 2015). It has been a significant month for public debates on the digital future of governance, citizenship, and economy in India, led by conversations around the draft National Encryption Policy, the Aadhaar number as a basis for provision of welfare services, the investigation of Google for potential abuse of market dominance by the Competition Commission of India, and the Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions released by the Indian Patents Office. We were busy engaging with these issues, and more.

The past editions of the newsletter can be accessed at http://cis-india.org/about/newsletters.

Sumandro Chattapadhyay, Research Director

Internet Researchers' Conference (IRC) 2016 - Studying Internet in India
With great excitement, we are announcing the beginning of an annual conference series titled Internet Researchers' Conference (IRC), the first edition of which is to take place in Delhi during February 25-27, 2016 (yet to be confirmed). We invite you to propose sessions for the conference by Sunday, November 15, 2015.



  • CIS sent an Open Letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his US visit, requesting him to urge USA to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty.
  • During the month, NVDA team organized training programmes for the visually impaired at Kullu, Bangalore and Ranchi.
  • Nehaa Chaudhari in a blog post laid out a series of research questions, potentially seeking to apply actor-network theory as a research methodology.
  • Recently, the Indian Patents Office released the Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions (“2015 Guidelines/ Guidelines”) in an attempt to clarify examination of software related patents in India. Anubha Sinha analysed the 2015 Guidelines. Read on to understand how the new guidelines will potentially lead to an increase in software patenting activity by expanding the scope of patentable subject matter – in negation of the legislative intent of section 3(k) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970.
  • As a part of its content donation initiative, CIS has brought Nadustunna Charithra magazine under CC BY SA licence. CIS-A2K has received 74 issues as of now from the Telugu Jaati foundation.
  • Sunil Abraham’s article titled Hits and Misses with the Draft Encryption Policy was published in The Wire on September 26, 2015.
  • Vidushi Marda in a blog post titled Data Flow in the Unique Identification Scheme of India analysed the data flow within the UID scheme and highlighted the vulnerabilities at each stage.
  • Vanya Rakesh in a blog post titled Human DNA Profiling Bill 2012 v/s 2015 Bill has analysed the Human DNA Profiling Bill introduced in 2012 with the provisions of the 2015 Bill.
  • CIS sought information from ICANN on their revenue streams by sending them a second request under their Documentary Information Disclosure Policy. This request and their response have been described in a blog post by Aditya Garg.
  • CIS has submitted a joint proposal with DataMeet and Oorvani for the Knight News Challenge 2015. We are proposing the development of "an application for users to search for locally-relevant data, discuss missing data, demand data, explore and respond to data demands by others, and start data crowd-sourcing exercises."
  • CIS made its submission on CCWG-Accountability 2nd Draft Proposal on Work Stream 1 Recommendations to ICANN's CCWG-Accountability.
  • Pranesh Prakash, on behalf of CIS, submitted comments to the Department of Telecom Panel’s report on net neutrality via MyGov. Prakash states that the report displays a far better understanding of the underlying issues than the TRAI consultation paper did, and is overall a good effort at balancing the different sides.
  • Shyam Ponappa’s monthly column titled More on Those Dropped Calls was published by Business Standard.

Accessibility and Inclusion

Under a grant from the Hans Foundation we are doing a project on developing text-to-speech software for 15 Indian languages. The progress made so far in the project can be accessed here.

NVDA and eSpeak

Monthly Updates

  • September 2015 Report (Suman Dogra; September 30, 2015).

Event Reports

Access to Knowledge

As part of the Access to Knowledge programme we are doing two projects. The first one (Pervasive Technologies) under a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is for research on the complex interplay between pervasive technologies and intellectual property to support intellectual property norms that encourage the proliferation and development of such technologies as a social good. The second one (Wikipedia) under a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation is 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.

Pervasive Technologies

Blog Entries

Other (Copyright and Patent)


Blog Entries

Participation in Events

  • National Conference: WTO, FTAs and Investment Treaties: Implications for development policy space (Organized by Focus on the Global South, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), Madhyam, MSF Access Campaign, National Working Group on Patent Laws and WTO (NWGPL), Public Services International (PSI) – South Asia, South Solidarity Initiative – ActionAid, Third Word Network (TWN), and Forum against FTAs; September 22 – 23, 2015; Institute for Studies in Industrial Development, New Delhi). Nehaa Chaudhari made a presentation on Copyright: Access to Knowledge in Free Trade Agreements?
  • IPEX 2015 (Organized by Confederation of Indian Industry, APTDC and TDPC; September 25 - 26, 2015; Chennai). Rohini Lakshané attended the event.

Media Coverage


As part of the project grant from the Wikimedia Foundation we have reached out to more than 3500 people across India by organizing more than 100 outreach events and catalysed the release of encyclopaedic and other content under the Creative Commons (CC-BY-3.0) license in four Indian languages (21 books in Telugu, 13 in Odia, 4 volumes of encyclopaedia in Konkani and 6 volumes in Kannada, and 1 book on Odia language history in English).

Blog Entries

Events Co-organized

Media Coverage

CIS gave its inputs to the following:


The advent of the Internet has radically redefined what it means to be open and collaborative. The Internet itself is built upon open standards and free/libre/open source software. Our work in the Openness programme 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. We approach openness as a cross-cutting principle for knowledge production and distribution, and not as a thing-in-itself.

Open Data


  • As one of the general stewards of the process, CIS was invited to take part in the final drafting meeting of the International Open Data Charter held before Con Datos 2015 in Santiago, Chile, but we could not take part in it. Apart from organising two public consultations on the draft Charter in Bengaluru and Delhi, we also submitted our detailed comments on the document. The final version of the Charter document has been launched at the United Nation General Assembly meeting, on September 27.

Free Software

Blog Entry

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.



Blog Entries

Participation in Event

Free Speech and Expression


Blog Entries

Participation in Event

  • Asian Regional Consultation on the WSIS+10 Review (Organized by The Internet Democracy Project, Bytes for All, APNIC, the Association for Progressive Communications, ISOC, Global Partners Digital and ICT Watch; September 3 – 5, 2015). Jyoti Panday attended the event.


The tenth annual IGF meeting will be held in João Pessoa, Brazil, on November 10 - 13, 2015. IGF's MAG has decided to retain the title “Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development” as the overarching theme. Sunil Abraham will be a panelist for the following workshops:

Cyber Security

Event Organized

  • Bangalore Chapter Meet of DSCI (Co-organized by DSCI and CIS; September 26, 2015). Melissa Hathaway, Commissioner, Global Commission for Internet Governance and Sunil Abraham gave a talk at this event.



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:



Researchers at Work

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


Blog Entries

News & Media Coverage

CIS gave its inputs to the following media coverage:

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 diverse abilities, 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 mediation and reconfiguration of social and cultural processes and structures by 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, Access to Knowledge, 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.