July 2019 Newsletter

by Prasad Krishna last modified Aug 09, 2019 01:50 PM
Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) newsletter for July 2019.
Highlights for July 2019
  • CIS presented its comments on the proposed rules 29,30,31 of the Draft Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2019 to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India. The comments were made in response to Notification G.S.R 393(E) published in the Gazette of India on May 30, 2019. CIS submitted that in the domestic approach to modernising our copyright legislation, we must refrain from considering distribution of born-digital/ digitised works over the public Internet equivalent to the function of broadcasting works over cable/ satellite.
  • The Indian National Trust for Art & Heritage Pune Chapter is working with various organisations to preserve the natural heritage places like rivers in Pune district of Maharashtra, India. After the presentation of 'Project Jalbodh' by CIS-A2K in River Dialogue organised by INTACH in April 2018, several organisations have shown keen interest in collaboration. Subodh Kulkarni shares some insights in his report.
  • ICANN has Advisory Committees which help guide the policy recommendations that the ICANN community develops while its Supporting Organizations are charged with developing policy recommendations for a particular aspect of ICANN's operations. ICANN publishes a combined budget for all these bodies under the head of policy development. CIS inquired about the financial resources allocated to each of them specifically.
  • CIS in partnership with the Internet Society organized an event on the impact of consolidation in the Internet economy. It was divided into two roundtable discussions, the first one focusing on the policies and regulation while the latter dealt with the technical evolution of the Internet. The roundtables aimed to analyze how growing forces of consolidation, including concentration, vertical and horizontal integration, and barriers to market entry and competition would influence the Internet in the next 3 to 5 years. The report by Akriti Bopanna and Gurshabad Grover provides an insight into the developments.
  • As part of its Researchers at work programme on key thematics at the intersections of internet and society, CIS called for abstracts for essays that explore social, economic, cultural, political, infrastructural, or aesthetic dimensions of the ‘list’. Ten abstracts would be shortlisted by August 9 from the list of submissions and the selected authors would be requested to submit the full essay of their draft by September 15. Final versions of the essays are expected to be published in October.
  • With the rise and popularity of app-based platforms such as Ola, Uber, Swiggy Zomato, and others, there is a growing public conversation about regulation of such 'gig-work' platforms and the working conditions of people who work for them. To explore this further CIS conducted a panel discussion at its Bangalore office. Researchers associated with the project presented their preliminary findings. Panelists preliminary field insights along with reflections on what it meant to do such studies, how they went about studying gig-work, and challenges that arose in their work.
  • An excerpt from an essay by Maya Indira Ganesh, written for and published as part of the Bodies of Evidence collection of Deep Dives titled You auto-complete me: romancing the bot explains human relations with bots. The Bodies of Evidence collection, edited by Bishakha Datta and Richa Kaul Padte, is a collaboration between Point of View and the Centre for Internet and Society, undertaken as part of the Big Data for Development Network supported by International Development Research Centre, Canada.

CIS and the News

The following articles 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.

Copyright and Patent

Research on harms caused to consumers, developing countries, human rights, and creativity/innovation from excessive regimes of copyright, patents, and other such monopolistic rights over knowledge:



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 Entries


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:

Participation in Event

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:

Blog Entry

Participation in Events

  • 13th European Summer School on Internet Governance (Organized by European Summer School on Internet Governance; Meissen; July 13 - 20, 2019). Akriti Bopanna attended the school.
  • ICANN 65 De-briefing Meeting (Organized by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations ; July 16, 2019). Akriti Bopanna remotely presented on the Human Rights related developments that took place at the Marrakech meeting, over the course of the 4 days.


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:

Blog Entry

Participation in Events

  • Digital ID Forum 2019 (Organized by UNDP; Chulalongkorn University, Thailand; July 3, 2019). Sunil Abraham was one of the panelists at this event.
  • BIS LITD 17 meeting (Organized by Bureau of Indian Standards; New Delhi; July 3, 2019). Gurshabad Grover attended the sixteenth meeting of the Information Systems Security and Biometrics Section Committee (LITD17).
  • Facebook Data for Good in Bangalore (Organized by Facebook; Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; July 25, 2019).
  • Roundtable with the WhatsApp leadership (Organized by WhatsApp; Mountbatten, The Oberoi, New Delhi; July 26, 2019). Will Cathcart, WhatsApp's new global head, visited India and invited Sunil Abraham for a discussion.
  • Facebook Data for Good in New Delhi (Organized by Facebook; University of Chicago Center, New Delhi; July 29, 2019).

IT / Information Technology

A research on the usage of systems (computers and telecommunications) for storing, retrieving and sending information as well as the IT Act:

Participation in Event

Artificial Intelligence

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:

Participation in Events



The growth in telecommunications in India has been impressive. While the potential for growth and returns exist, a range of issues need to be addressed for this potential to be realized. One aspect is more extensive rural coverage and the second aspect is a countrywide access to broadband which is low at about eight million subscriptions. Both require effective and efficient use of networks and resources, including spectrum.

Monthly Blog


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.

Event Organized

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.

ASPI-CIS Partnership


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