March 2013 Bulletin

by Prasad Krishna last modified Apr 14, 2013 11:45 AM
The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) welcomes you to the third issue of its newsletter for the year 2013. In this issue we bring you an overview of our research programs, updates of events organised by us, events we participated in, news and media coverage, and videos of some of our recent events.

CIS invites applications for the posts of Developer (NVDA Screen Reader Project), Programme Officer (Access to Knowledge and Openness), and Programme Officer (Internet Governance). To apply send your resume to [email protected] and [email protected].


CIS is doing two projects in partnership with the Hans Foundation. One of this is to create a national resource kit of state-wise laws, policies and programmes on issues relating to persons with disabilities in India and another is for developing a screen reader and text-to- speech synthesizer for Indian languages. CIS is also working with the World Blind Union and many other organisations to develop a Treaty for the Visually Impaired helped by the WIPO:

National Resource Kit for Persons with Disabilities
Anandhi Viswanathan from CIS and Manojna Yeluri from the Centre for Law and Policy Research are working in this project. Draft chapters have been published. Feedback and comments are invited from readers for the chapters on Lakshadweep, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh:

  • The Lakshadweep Chapter (by Anandhi Viswanathan, March 25, 2013): The union territory of Lakshadweep has not passed any legislation for persons with disabilities, but implements the provisions under the central laws. The benefits currently available to persons with disabilities in Lakshadweep include disability pension, unemployment allowance and grant for setting up kiosks.
  • The Meghalaya Chapter (by Manojna Yeluri, March 25, 2013): Meghalaya is one of the few north-eastern states, which has appointed a Commissioner for Disabilities. Most of the schemes and benefits given to persons with disabilities in Meghalaya are under centrally sponsored schemes. Very few schemes are initiated by the state government.
  • The Uttar Pradesh Chapter (by Manojna Yeluri, March 31, 2013): The Government of Uttar Pradesh has established shelter homes and vocational training centres in several parts of the states — most recently in Meerut, Bareilly and Gorakhpur. It has also undertaken to finance nearly 4340 corrective surgeries for polio across nine cities of Uttar Pradesh. It also intends to start several projects in 2013. These include the establishment of a Braille Press in order to produce Braille books, magazines and other study material.

We now have a new section on our website which contains all government notifications, RTI applications, and accessibility related resources: cases, statutes, etc. The following were published earlier this month:

  • Information about Schemes for Disabled Persons in Haryana We received this notification on schemes and policies for persons with disabilities from the Government of Haryana.
  • Haryana Government Notification (Hindi version): The notification that we received from the state government was in Hindi. We will put up the English translation soon.
  • West Bengal (Govt) Notifications: We received a series of notifications from the West Bengal Government from its various departments such as finance, higher education, transport, health and family welfare, labour, land and land reforms, panchayats and rural development, etc. OCR versions of the same have been published.
  • Lakshadweep (Govt) Notifications: Notifications received from the Lakshadweep Government including guidelines for functioning of KIOSKS, grant of unemployment allowance and special jobs to persons with disabilities, issuing identity card to persons with disabilities for availing government benefits, etc., are published. OCR versions have also been put up.

Event Participated In

  • A Discussion on Intercept between UNCRPD & CEDAW (organized by the Shanta Memorial Institute of Rehabilitation – Odisha, CBR Network and Mitra Jyoti, Bangalore, Karnataka, February 4, 2013): Anandhi Viswanathan participated in this event.

Access to Knowledge and Openness

The Wikimedia Foundation awarded CIS a two year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop the growth of Indic language communities and projects by community collaborations and partnerships. This is being carried out by the Access to Knowledge team based in Delhi. CIS is also doing a project (Pervasive Technologies) on examining the relationship between production of pervasive technologies and intellectual property. CIS also promotes openness including open government data, open standards, open access, and free/libre/open source software through its Openness programme.


Beginning from September 1, 2012, Wikimedia Foundation awarded CIS a two-year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop free knowledge in India. The A2K team consists of four members based in Delhi: T. Vishnu Vardhan, Nitika Tandon, Subhashish Panigrahi and Noopur Raval, and one team member Dr. U.B. Pavanaja who is working from Bangalore office.

Indic Wikipedia Visualisation Project

  • Visualising Basic Parameters (by Sajjad Anwar and Sumandro Chattapadhyay, March 26, 2013): Sajjad and Sumandro bring you a visualisation of the growth of Indic Wikipedia in this first post on Indic Wikipedia Visualisation project. They look into the different aspects of the past and present activities of Indic Wikipedias, and divide the visualisation into three different focus areas: (1) basic parameters, (2) geographic patterns of edits, and (3) exploring the topics that receives the greatest number of edits.

Events Organised

  • Introductory Wikipedia session at BITS Goa (organised by CIS, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, Goa, March 7, 2013). The Access to Knowledge team was invited by Nikhil Dixit from BITS to organise a Wikipedia editing session. Nitika Tandon led the session on IP editing.
  • Kannada Wikipedia Workshop (organised by CIS, Institution of Engineers, JLB Road, Mysore, March 24, 2013). Dr. U.B. Pavanaja led this workshop.

Events Co-organised

  • Wiki Women's Day in Goa (organised by the Wikimedia India Chapter and CIS, Nirmala Institute of Education, Panaji, Goa, March 8, 2013). Nitika Tandon participated in this workshop held on International Working Women's Day, and shares the developments in this report.
  • Wikipedia Workshop for Kannada Science Writers (organised by Wikimedia India Chapter, Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishath and CIS, Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishath Conference Hall, Banashankari 2nd Stage, Bangalore, March 17, 2013). Dr. U.B. Pavanaja participated in the event.

Upcoming Event

  • Telugu Wiki Mahotsavam 2013 (co-organised with the Telegu Wikipedia community, Hyderabad, April 9 to 11, 2013). Vishnu Vardhan is participating in this event as a speaker. A public event will be held on April 11 from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. at Golden Threshold (Sarojini Naidu's house) in Hyderabad.

Events Participated

  • Wikipedia Women's Workshop Bangalore 2013 (organised by Wikimedia India, Servelots Infotech, Jayanagar, Bangalore, March 8, 2013). The event was covered by Kannada Prabha on March 9, 2013. Dr. U.B. Pavanaja participated in the event.
  • Wikipedia at Avenir (organised by the Wikipedia community, Netaji Subhash Engineering College, Kolkata, West Bengal, March 11, 2013). CIS supported this event.

Event Report from Other Organisations
Wikipedia Community members helped the Higher Education Innovation and Research Applications Programme (HEIRA) of CSCS Bangalore to organize a day-long workshop on ‘Digital Literacy’ at Ahmednagar College, Ahmednagar, Maharasthra on January 17, 2013. Tanveer Hasan of HEIRA shares with us the developments in this report.

Other Openness Updates

Event Report

  • Iraqi Public Data Scenario Workshop: A Summary (by Sumandro Chattapadhyay, March 26, 2013): A workshop on public data was conducted by Sunil Abraham and Sumandro Chattapadhyay for the officials of the Government of Iraq. It was organized by UNDP Iraq in Amman, Jordan from October 18 to 23, 2012. Sumandro Chattapadhyay shares with us the developments from the workshop held over five days.

Event Participated

  • Open DataCamp - 2013 (organized by Open Data Camp, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (inside Christ University Campus), Dairy Circle, Bangalore, March 2 and 3, 2013): Sunil Abraham was a panelist.

HasGeek creates discussion spaces for geeks and has organised conferences like the Fifth Elephant, Droidcon India 2011, Android Camp, etc. HasGeek is supported by CIS and works from the CIS office in Bengaluru.

Upcoming Events

  • Pig Workshop (organized by HasGeek, Alchemy Solutions, Domlur, Bangalore, 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.): A workshop on how to use Pig for mining useful information from data. It is open to programmers who have a background in Java programming, some familiarity with Hadoop and MapReduce algorithms, and have worked with large chunks of data.
  • The Fifth Elephant 2013 (organized by HasGeek, July 11 to 13, 2013, NIMHANS Convention Centre, Bangalore).

Internet Governance

The Internet Governance programme conducts research around the various social, technical, and political underpinnings of global and national Internet governance, and includes online privacy, freedom of speech, and Internet governance mechanisms and processes. Currently, CIS is doing a project with Privacy International, London to facilitate research and events around surveillance, and freedom of speech and expression.



  • Draft Human DNA Profiling Bill (April 2012): High Level Concerns (by Elonnai Hickok, March 12, 2013). The post examines the high level concerns that CIS has with the April 2012 draft of the Bill.
  • Human DNA Profiling Bill 2012 Analysis (by Jeremy Gruber, Council for Responsible Genetics, US, March 19, 2013). Jeremy provides an analysis of the Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2012. He says that India’s updated 2012 Human DNA Profiling Bill offers largely superficial changes from its predecessor, the Draft DNA Profiling Bill, 2007.
  • The Privacy (Protection) Bill 2013: A Citizen's Draft (by Bhairav Acharya, March 26, 2013).  Bhairav Acharya has drafted the Privacy (Protection) Bill 2013. It contains provisions that speak to data protection, interception, and surveillance and also establishes the powers and functions of the Privacy Commissioner, and lays out offenses and penalties for contravention of the Bill. The Bill represents a citizen's version of possible privacy legislation for India, and will be shared with key stakeholders including civil society, industry, and government.

Upcoming Events

  • A Privacy Round Table in Delhi (organized by CIS and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, FICCI Federation House, Tansen Marg, New Delhi, April 3, 2013).
  • A Privacy Round Table in Bangalore (organized by CIS and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Jayamahal Palace, Jayamahal Road, Bangalore, April 20, 2013).

Event Organized

Events Participated In

Blog Posts

IT Act

Featured Blog Post

Bhairav Acharya, on behalf of CIS submitted comments to the Committee on Subordinate Legislation of the 15th Lok Sabha for the following rules:

Note: The above rules were submitted earlier but published on our website only recently.

Unique ID Project

Event Organized


News and Media

Blog Entry

Free Speech and Expression

News and Media

Event Organized

  • Freedom Song: Film Screening and Discussion (IIHS Bangalore City Campus, March 21, 2013). Freedom Song, a documentary film produced by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust and directed by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Subi Chaturvedi was screened.

Events Participated In


Events Organised

  • DML 2013: Fourth Annual Conference (co-organised by CIS and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub Central, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers - Chicago, Illinois, March 14 – 16, 2013). We had a special track that ran through the conference on "Whose Change Is It Anyway? Futures, Youth, Technology And Citizen Action In The Global South (And The Rest Of The World)". Noopur Raval was one of the 16 presenters that we had selected on the tracks. Nishant Shah was one of the members in the Conference Committee.

Blog Posts

  • WGIG+8: Stock-Taking, Mapping, and Going Forward (Fontenoy Building, conference room # 7, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, February 27, 2013). Pranesh Prakash was the moderator for the session. A summary of the discussion has been published.
  • What’s In a Name? — DNS Singularity of ICANN and the Gold Rush (by Sharath Chandra Ram, March 31, 2013). March 2013 being the 28th birthday of the first ever registered Internet domain as well as the exigent launch of the Trademark Clearing House disguised as a milestone in rights protection by ICANN for its new gTLD program, Sharath Chandra Ram, dissects the transitory role of ICANN from being a technical outfit to the Boardroom Big Brother of Internet Governance.
  • An Introduction to Bitfilm & Bitcoin in Bangalore, India (by Benson Samuel, March 12, 2013). Video of the event organized by CIS on January 23, 2013 is published in this blog post.

Knowledge Repository on Internet Access

CIS in partnership with the Ford Foundation is executing a project on Internet Access. It covers the history of the internet, technologies involved, principle and values of internet access, broadband market and universal access and will touch upon various polices and regulations which has an impact on internet access and bodies and mechanism which are responsible for formulation policies related to internet access. The blog posts and modules will be published in a new website:

Upcoming Event
We are hosting an “Institute on Internet and Society” in collaboration with the Ford Foundation India, which is to be held from June 8, 2013 to June 14, 2013. Call for registration and relevant details will be announced soon on our website.

The following units have been published:


CIS is involved in promoting access and accessibility of 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:

Newspaper Column

Digital Natives

Digital Natives with a Cause? examines the changing landscape of social change and political participation in light of the role that young people play through digital and Internet technologies, in emerging information societies. Consolidating knowledge from Asia, Africa and Latin America, it builds a global network of knowledge partners who critically engage with discourse on youth, technology and social change, and look at alternative practices and ideas in the Global South:

Events Participated In

  • Video Vortex # 9 Re:assemblies of Video (organized by the Institute of Network Cultures, Post Media Lab, Moving Image Lab, Leuphana,, February 28 – March 2, 2013). Nishant Shah gave the key note. Videos of the event are published.

Digital Humanities

From 2012 to 2015, the Researchers @ Work series is focusing on building research clusters in the field of Digital Humanities. We organised the first Habits of Living workshops in Bangalore last year. The next workshop is being held in Brown University

Event Co-organised

Event Participated

  • Korean Trans Cine-Media in Global Contexts: Asia and the World (organized by Trans-Asia Screen Culture Institute, Cinema Studies, Korean National University of Arts, Korean Film Archive and Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University, Seoul, March 27 – 29, 2013). Nishant Shah was a speaker at this event. He spoke on "The Asian Intercourse: Reimagining the Inter-Asia moment through ‘net-porn’ in networks".

About CIS

The Centre for Internet and Society is a non-profit research organization that works on policy issues relating to freedom of expression, privacy, accessibility for persons with disabilities, access to knowledge and IPR reform, and openness (including open government, FOSS, open standards, etc.), and engages in academic research on digital natives and digital humanities.

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Support Us

Please help us defend consumer / 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, and theoreticians, both organisationally and as individuals, to collaboratively engage with Internet and society and improve our understanding of this new field. To discuss the research collaborations, write to Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, at [email protected] or Nishant Shah, Director – Research, at [email protected]

CIS is grateful to its donors, Wikimedia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Privacy International, UK, Hans Foundation and the Kusuma Trust which was founded by Anurag Dikshit and Soma Pujari, philanthropists of Indian origin, for its core funding and support for most of its projects.

ASPI-CIS Partnership


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