DesiSec: Cybersecurity and Civil Society in India

As part of its project on mapping cyber security actors in South Asia and South East Asia, the Centre for Internet & Society conducted a series of interviews with cyber security actors. The interviews were compiled and edited into one documentary. The film produced by Purba Sarkar, edited by Aaron Joseph, and directed by Oxblood Ruffin features Malavika Jayaram, Nitin Pai, Namita Malhotra, Saikat Datta, Nishant Shah, Lawrence Liang, Anja Kovacs, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and, Ravi Sharada Prasad.
DesiSec: Cybersecurity and Civil Society in India

A screen-shot from the DesiSec film showing a man reading messages on his mobile

Originally the idea was to do 24 interviews with an array of international experts: Technical, political, policy, legal, and activist. The project was initiated at the University of Toronto and over time a possibility emerged. Why not shape these interviews into a documentary about cybersecurity and civil society? And why not focus on the world’s largest democracy, India? Whether in India or the rest of the world there are several issues that are fundamental to life online: Privacy, surveillance, anonymity and, free speech. DesiSec includes all of these, and it examines the legal frameworks that shape how India deals with these  challenges.

From the time it was shot till the final edit there has only been one change in the juridical topography: the dreaded 66A of the IT Act has been struck down. Otherwise, all else is in tact. DesiSec was produced by Purba Sarkar, shot and edited by Aaron Joseph, and directed by Oxblood Ruffin. It took our team from Bangalore to Delhi and, Dharamsala. We had the honour of interviewing: Malavika Jayaram, Nitin Pai, Namita Malhotra, Saikat Datta, Nishant Shah, Lawrence Liang, Anja Kovacs, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and, Ravi Sharada Prasad. Everyone brought something special to the discussion and we are grateful for their insights. Also, we are particularly pleased to include the music of Charanjit Singh for the intro/outro of DesiSec. Mr. Singh is the inventor of acid house music, predating the Wikipedia entry for that category by five years. Someone should correct that.

DesiSec is released under the Creative Commons License Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC by 3.0). You can watch it on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/123722680 or download it legally and free of charge via torrent. Feel free to show, remix, and share with your friends. And let us know what you think!


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