Centre for Internet & Society

The Indian Journal of Law and Technology (IJLT) and the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), organised the 2nd IJLT-CIS Lecture Series 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.

Speakers and Topics

Spread over two days, the National Law School hosted six speakers who held forth on the different aspects of privacy law, speaking from perspectives that were grounded in theory and actual practice and some that were India-centric while others applied equally to any jurisdiction.

Vivek Durai, Partner, Atman Law Partners, addressed the gathering and gave the general introduction to the need for a discussion relating to privacy and the law. He spoke of technology and certain current events, including technological advances, have made privacy an issue with which serious engagement of the law has become imperative.

Usha Ramanathan, an independent law researcher, spoke of the Unique Identity Project (Aadhar) launched by the Government of India and its implications on the privacy and data relating to the citizens. Ms. Ramanathan was critical of the Government’s plans on the basis that an ill-planned and executed project that sought to collect data such as this could provide easy fodder for data-mining. The latest 2011 rules that outline the relationship between the citizen and the state and the extent of privacy the citizen has in respect of this relationship.

Hamish Fraser, a leading Australian practitioner in the field of technology law, addressed the gathering via video conference and spoke about cloud computing and privacy of parties using such facilities. He highlighted how technology such as cloud computing where the storage of data is almost fully virtual, with only the weakest of links to any physical storage space, were being increasingly widely used. He helped provide a practitioners perspective to the lecture as well by discussing how companies and individuals seeking to utilise cloud computing facilities, particularly for business purposes, must check for some essential legal provisions that would allow them to retain control over their data and prevent their data from being misappropriated by the provider of the virtual storage space in the cloud. He briefly also discussed the draft Australian privacy legislation.

Sean Blagsvedt, founder of Baba Jobs, discussed the interplay between privacy and transparency and argued convincingly that under certain circumstances, transparency holds greater value than blind protection of privacy. He spoke of his experience in setting up Baba Jobs that seeks to act as a job portal-cum-social networking site for persons providing essential services such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, house painters, etc. Rather than seeking to strictly protect the details and identity of these persons, Blagsvedt found that one of the most important factors for future employers while considering hiring such service personnel were the details of their previous assignments and testimonials from previous employers – the transparency that Baba Jobs offered became its USP. Blagsvedt talked of how a misplaced over-emphasis on privacy could often lead to greater detriments than benefits and prevent trust due to a lack of information. He concluded by predicting that as people increasingly shifted social and commercial transactions to the online world, the demands for privacy online would soon be offset by demands for greater transparency.

Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Professor of Law at the Azim Premji University, Bangalore delivered a lecture on the state and privacy in India illustrating the development of the law on the matter. He also discussed about the balance that needs to be struck between the individual’s requirement for privacy and the state’s desire for secrecy. He also spoke about two manners in which to conceptualise privacy — recognising privacy as an inherent right that may be at times restricted to a certain extent, vis-a-vis seeing privacy as a right that the state grants to a citizen.

Abhayraj Naik, Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat, gave a lecture on informational privacy in comparative contexts. The discussion centred on information surveillance in different jurisdictions and how the values attached to the attribution of information reflects in the laws relating to privacy in those different jurisdictions. His approach included mathematical modelling of information attribution and provided an interdisciplinary approach.


The lecture series saw registration from over 50 people, including students from law schools all over the country, practitioners, and even educators. Since the lectures were streamed live online, and this was only the second event in NLS to use this facility apart from the Annual Convocation, many more people listened to the lectures online. The lectures were available online for a period of one week after the conclusion of the lecture series.

IJLT-CIS Lecture Series 2011 Registration

The following people participated in the event:

Adithya Banavar, Akanksha Arora, Anand VJ, Aniket Singhania, Ankit Verma, Anupama Kumar, Aparna Gokhale, Arjun Krishnamoorthy, Arjun Sharma, Arun Menon, Asif Ayaz, B. N. Vivek, Batool, Chirag Tanna, Deepakar Livingston.P., Deepthi R, Dheer Bhatnagar, Dinesh Subramany, Esha Goel, Gopalakrishnan R., J Suresh, Jamshed Ansari, Kanti Jadia, Khadeeja Nadeem, Khumtiya Debbarma, Mani Bhushan, Manish, Nayan Jain, Neha Baglani, Panduranga Acharya, Partha Chakravarty, Parul Bali, Prashanth Ramdas, Prateek Rath, Preyanka Sapru, Prianca Ravichander, Priytosh Singh, Purushotham.G, Ralph A, Ruhi Chanda, S. Badrinath, S. Bhushan, S. K. Mohanty, Sahana Manjesh, Sanjana Chappalli, Santosh Dindima, Shalini Iyengar, Shalini S, Sibani Saxena, Spoorthy M. S., Tarang Shashishekar, Tarun Kovvali, Tejaswini Rajkumar, Vaishali Kant, and Y. Shiva Santosh Kumar.

See the Letter of Agreement [PDF, 1 MB]

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