March 2017 Newsletter

by Prasad Krishna last modified May 20, 2017 12:47 PM
Welcome to March 2017 newsletter of the Centre for Internet & Society (CIS).

Dear readers,

Previous issues of the newsletters can be accessed here.

  • CIS submitted comments on the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules for the consideration of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Government of India.
  • Anubha Sinha in a blog post has identified the various kinds of IP in an app and explained the protections available under Indian IPR law.
  • CIS-A2K is conducting a Wiki internship project for students of New Law College, Pune under the guidance of Prof.Dr.Mukund Sarda, Dean and Principal of New Law College.
  • In an Op-ed published in the Hindu, Sunil Abraham has stated that though biometrics may be appropriate for targeted surveillance by the state, it is wholly inappropriate for everyday transactions between state and law abiding citizens.
  • CIS has published a survey that draws upon a range of literature including news articles, academic articles, and presentations and seeks to disaggregate the potential benefits and harms of big data, organising them into several broad categories that reflect the existing scholarly literature.
  • CIS submitted comments on the Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules, 2017. The comments were in response to the Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules 2017. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a consultation paper which called for developing a framework for security of digital wallets operating in the country.
  • Ritam Sengupta, Dr. Richard Heeks, Sumandro Chattapadhyay, and Dr. Christopher Foster have co-authored a paper that presents exploratory research into “data-intensive development” that seeks to inductively identify issues and conceptual frameworks of relevance to big data in developing countries.

CIS in the news:

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.



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.

►Pervasive Technologies

Blog Entry


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


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 Events

  • National Consultation on OER for Higher Education (Organized by Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia; New Delhi; March 3, 2017). Anubha Sinha attended the event.
  • Open Development Book - Authors' Workshop (Organized by International Development Research Centre and Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching; University of Cape Town, South Africa; March 11 - 12, 2017). The workshop gathered the contributers to an upcoming book by IDRC on open development. Elonnai Hickok, Gus Hosein from Privacy International and Sumandro Chattapadhyay are writing a chapter for this book.
  • Indo - French Perspectives on Digital Studies (Organized by Digital Studies Group; Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; March 15, 2017). Anubha Sinha was a speaker.
Blog Entries

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.



  • Comments on Information Technology (Security of Prepaid Payment Instruments) Rules, 2017 (Udbhav Tiwari, Pranesh Prakash, Abhay Rana, Amber Sinha and Sunil Abraham; March 23, 2017).

Participation in Events

Blog Entry

►Cyber Security

Upcoming Event

►Big Data

Blog Entry

Participation in Event

►Freedom of Expression
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:

Newspaper Column

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:

Research Paper

Blog Entry

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 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 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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