January 2017 Newsletter

by Prasad Krishna last modified Mar 01, 2017 06:00 AM
Welcome to the January 2017 newsletter of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS).

Dear readers,

We are pleased to bring you the Centre for Internet & Society's January newsletter. Previous issues of the newsletters can be accessed here.


Highlights
  • The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act, which was passed in December 2016, seeks to give effect to the rights and obligations enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities, which India signed and ratified nearly a decade ago. Nirmita Narasimhan in a blog entry has summarized the key provisions of the Act relating to digital accessibility.
  • The latest judgment in the matter of Super Cassettes v. MySpace is a landmark and progressive ruling, which strengthens the safe harbor immunity enjoyed by Internet intermediaries in India. CIS was one of the intervenors in the case, and has been duly acknowledged in the judgment.
  • Meena Gayathri became the first South Indian Wikiwoman to complete 100 Wikidays challenge. The challenge required Wikipedians to create one new article per day for one hundred days in a row. Gayathri's contribution and passion towards Telugu language and culture have transcended into  a "knowledge revolution".
  • The Committee on Digital Payments constituted by the Ministry of Finance and chaired by Ratan P. Watal, Principal Advisor, NITI Aayog, submitted its report on the "Medium Term Recommendations to Strengthen Digital Payments Ecosystem" on December 09, 2016. The report was made public on December 27, and comments were sought from the general public. CIS submitted its comments. The comments were authored by Sumandro Chattopadhyay.
  • ICANN sought community input on the Proposed ICANN Community Anti-Harassment Policy on 7 November 2016. In response to this CIS submitted its comments. The comments were authored by Padma Venkataraman, Rohini Lakshané, Sampada Nayak and Vidushi Marda.
  • The eleven sessions selected for the Internet Researchers' Conference 2017 (IRC17) to be held at the IIIT Bangalore campus during March 3-5, 2017 has been announced. The conference is being organised by the Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy (CITAPP) at IIIT Bangalore and CIS.

CIS in the news

CIS members wrote the following articles:

Jobs

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Accessibility & Inclusion
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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.

Blog Entry

 

Participation in Event

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Access to Knowledge
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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

Blog Entry

Event Organized

►Wikipedia

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

Event Organized

►Openness

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.
Participation in Event

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Internet Governance
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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.

►Privacy

Submission

Blog Entries


Events Organized


Participation in Events

  • Global Governance Futures 2027 - Session 3 (Organized by Global Public Policy Institute and supported by Robert Bosch Stiftung; New Delhi; January 17, 2017). Sumandro Chattapadhyay joined Ankhi Das (Facebook) and Arun Mohan Sukumar (Observer Research Foundation) to discuss the "data governance" scenarios developed by the GGF 2027 Fellows.
  • CPDP (Computers, Privacy and Data Protection) 2017 (Organized by Privacy International; Brussels, January 26, 2017). Amber Sinha participated as a panelist.

►Big Data

Blog Entry

Participation in Events


►Free Speech & Expression

Submission

Blog Entry


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Telecom
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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:

Article

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Researchers at Work
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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:

Event

  • Internet Researchers' Conference 2017 (IRC17) - Selected Sessions (Organized by Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy and CIS; IIIT, Bangalore; March 3 - 5, 2017). Eleven sessions have received 10 or more nominations.

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About CIS
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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 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.

► Follow us elsewhere

► 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.

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