August 2016 Newsletter

by Prasad Krishna last modified Oct 02, 2016 02:09 AM
Welcome to the August 2016 newsletter of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS).

Dear readers,

Thank you for reading the Centre for Internet and Society's August newsletter. The past month for us was a very exciting one. We supported and attended Wiki Conference 2016 in Chandigarh, which was a great opportunity to see the variety and scope of various Wiki projects across the country. The Tulu language Wikipedia also went live during this period, making it the 23rd Wiki in a South Asian language.

We continued our work on telecom with our submission to TRAI on broadband proliferation across the country. We also continued to provide inputs to the media on a range of issues related to UIDAI and online streaming and piracy, e-accessibility and our continuing Wiki work.

We also published two articles on the inaccessibility of public and private phone apps, and the social impact of this, in FactorDaily. I was also honoured to receive the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awardin the "Persons with Disabilities" category.

All in all, a very productive month. We at CIS look forward to many more to come.

- Nirmita Narasimhan

Previous issues of the newsletters can be accessed here.

  • Dr. Nirmita Narasimhan got the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Award in the "Persons with Disabilities" category. Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, Hon'ble Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment presided over the event, in the presence of Som Mittal, Jury Chair and Chariman, NCPEDP, Dr. Meenu Bhambhani, VP & Head - Corporate Social Responsibility, Mphasis Ltd, and Javed Abidi, Honorary Director NCPEDP, several corporates and winners.
  • Tulu language Wikipedia became the latest entrant in the family of 294 world-language Wikipedia projects after the project went live from Wikimedia Incubator earlier this month. The project waited as long as eight years in the Incubator before becoming the 23rd South Asian language Wikipedia.
  • Wiki Conference India 2016, the largest gathering of contributors to Wikipedia and its sister projects in South Asia was held in Chandigarh from August 5-7, 2016. CIS supported this event. Sunil Abraham was a panelist.
  • Information Technology, Electronics & Communications Department of the Government of Telangana released the first public draft of the Telangana State Open Data Policy 2016, and sought comments from various stakeholders in the state and outside. CIS submitted its comments.
  • CIS wrote an article analyzing India’s alignment with the recommendations of the report of the Group of Governmental Experts. This policy brief attempts to articulate the major policy actions that may be considered by India to further incorporate and implement the principles enunciated in the Report.
  • CIS submitted comments to TRAI Consultation on Proliferation of Broadband through Public Wi­Fi Networks. The comments were prepared by Sunil Abraham, Sharath Chandra Ram, Vidushi Marda, and Thejaswi Melarkode.Shyam Ponappa and Arjun Venkatraman provided advice.
  • As part of the 'Studying Internet in India' series, Abhimanyu Roy has explored the curious interplays between the arranged marriage market in India the rise of matrimonial sites such as and

CIS in news:

CIS gave inputs to the following media coverage:

CIS members wrote the following articles:

Accessibility & Inclusion
India has an estimated 70 million persons with disabilities who don't have access to read printed materials due to some form of physical, sensory, cognitive or other disability. As part of our endeavour to make available accessible content for persons with disabilities, we are developing a text-to-speech software in 15 languages with support from the Hans Foundation. The progress made so far in the project can be accessed here.

►NVDA and eSpeak

Monthly Report



Participation in Events

  • Bridging the Digital Divide (Organized by Wipro; Bangalore; August 25, 2016). Nirmita Narasimhan spoke on digital accessibility at this All Hands Meet.
  • Universal Design & Accessibility Conclave (Organized by IIMA in collaboration with Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; Ahmedabad; August 27, 2016). Nirmita Narasimhan was a speaker.

Media Coverage

Access to Knowledge
Our Access to Knowledge programme currently consists of two projects. The Pervasive Technologies project, conducted under a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), aims to conduct research on the complex interplay between low-cost pervasive technologies and intellectual property, in order to encourage the proliferation and development of such technologies as a social good. The Wikipedia project, which is 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.

►Copyright and Patent

Participation in Event


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 Organized

Participation in Events

Media Coverage


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.

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 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.


Blog Entries

Event 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:


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 Entries

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 withdisabilities, 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 Us

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.

► 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.
ASPI-CIS Partnership


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