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Detecting Encrypted Client Hello (ECH) Blocking

Posted by Divyank Katira at Sep 05, 2023 12:00 AM |

A new internet protocol makes it harder for internet service providers to censor websites. We made a technical intervention to check if censors are interfering with its deployment.

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Deceptive Design in Voice Interfaces: Impact on Inclusivity, Accessibility, and Privacy

Deceptive Design in Voice Interfaces: Impact on Inclusivity, Accessibility, and Privacy

Posted by Saumyaa Naidu and Shweta Mohandas at Aug 08, 2023 03:22 PM |

This article was commissioned by the Pranava Institute, as part of their project titled Design Beyond Deception, supported by the University of Notre Dame - IBM's Tech Ethics Lab.” The article examines the design of voice interfaces (VI) to anticipate potential deceptive design patterns in VIs. It also presents design and regulatory recommendations to mitigate these practices.

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Health Data Management Policies - Differences Between the EU and India

Posted by Shweta Mohandas at Jul 10, 2023 04:36 PM |

Through this issue brief we would like to highlight the differences in approaches to health data management taken by the EU and India, and look at possible recommendations for India, in creating a privacy preserving health data management policy.

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CoWIN Breach: What Makes India's Health Data an Easy Target for Bad Actors?

Posted by Shweta Mohandas and Pallavi Bedi at Jul 04, 2023 09:39 AM |

Recent health data policies have failed to even mention the CoWIN platform.

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Labouring (on) the app: agency and organisation of work in the platform economy

Posted by Ambika Tandon and Abhishek Sekharan at Jul 04, 2023 06:28 AM |

Ambika Tandon and Abhishek Sekharan published an academic paper highlighting the importance of women’s networks of information sharing and care in navigating opaque platform design. The paper is part of an issue of Gender and Development on ‘Women, Work and the Digital Economy’. Gender and Development is one of the few academic journals that priorities practitioners' experiences over theoretical contributions.

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Gender and collective bargaining in the platform economy: Experiences of on-demand beauty workers in India

Gender and collective bargaining in the platform economy: Experiences of on-demand beauty workers in India

Posted by Abhishek Sekharan, Chiara Furtado and Ambika Tandon at Jul 03, 2023 04:40 PM |

Abhishek Sekharan, Chiara Furtado, and Ambika Tandon contributed an essay on gender and collective bargaining in the platform economy in India, reflecting on the experiences of women beauty workers who organised India’s first women-led movement of platform workers. The essay has been published as part of an online collection of essays from contributors across the world and has been curated by the Digital Future Society Think Tank (Barcelona, Spain).

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Metaphors of Work, from ‘Below’

Metaphors of Work, from ‘Below’

Posted by Aayush Rathi and Ambika Tandon at Jul 03, 2023 12:29 PM |

Aayush Rathi and Ambika Tandon authored a chapter that describes platforms as more than technological interfaces. The chapter invokes some of the metaphors that gig workers use to make sense of platforms. This chapter was part of an edited volume published by Springer. This chapter forms part of the ‘Labour Futures’ research project, hosted at the Centre for Internet and Society, India, and supported by the Internet Society Foundation.

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WIPO SCCR 43: Notes from Day 3

Working towards a binding international L&E instrument
Iran, Pakistan and Kenya highlighted their support toward the African proposal as well emphasized the need for an internationally binding treaty on L&E. Saudi Arabia mentioned the need for Limitations and Exceptions to benefit the preservation and sharing of cultural heritage, as well as for persons with disabilities. Iran emphasied on the need for adequate balance and copyright protection and a balance between different national legislations. Iran stated that there was a need to have an international legal instrument in order to harmonise national legislations, in the absence of which there would not be a free flow of information. Iran also emphasised on the need to look at the priorities of developing countries with respect to the Development Agenda. Pakistan also highlighted the issues that came to light during the pandemic, especially with regard to cross border use of information by educational institutions. In addition to this Pakistan stated that it looked forward to a binding instrument that was not too prescriptive. Kenya shed light on the concerns around the increasing knowledge gap between the developed and the developing countries, and the migration from analogue to digital environment.

WIPO SCCR 43: Notes from Day 4

Limitations and Exceptions and Cross Border Flow of Data
Nigeria, South Africa, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Iran, Uganda and Algeria extended their support to the Work Programme on L&E by the African Group. Nigeria in their statement  expressed how L&E were essential for research, cultural exchange, and how it had the potential to help people around the world who still lack access to educational and research materials. Nigeria also highlighted that a legally binding international treaty would help harmonise and balance the copyright system with other instruments such as the TRIPS agreement and the WIPO internet treaties, and facilitate smooth transborder trade in both online and traditional media. Iran stated that the creation of L&E for online and crossborder use of data is imperative, especially for the benefit of online teaching and research as well as bridge the digital divide by facilitating access to knowledge and technology.

The European Union (EU)  and France however were not in support of a legally binding instrument.The  EU stated that they would prefer a non-binding instrument such as a toolkit, while France stated that the current international framework of copyright is sufficiently flexible to allow members to implement L&E in their national legislations, as well as to find appropriate tools to meet the needs of education, research and preservation. France expressed their reservation in moving towards a normative framework and stated that the states  could look at the exchange of best practice at national level and support in drafting national legislations. The United States stated that topics such as text and data mining and contract override were not issues that were fully discussed yet at the committee level.

Observations by the Chair

  1. The Chair  noted that there continued to be a disagreement on whether to pursue international instruments for Limitations and Exceptions.
  2. The Chair also noted that while there was a lot of support for the proposal, there still was no consensus on the proposal. The Chair suggested that the African Group work with the member states that highlighted their reservations and work together with the Chair to see if the proposal could be revised, or to look at portions of the proposal that enjoyed the support to be advanced.

WIPO SCCR 43: Notes from Day 1

Member states delivered opening statements and deliberated on the progress, substantive provisions, and method of work on the draft broadcasting treaty text. This blog post summarises positions and contentions that supported: 1)The need for balance between rights of broadcasters and that of users and researchers 2) Questions around fixation and signal piracy 3) Need for consensus and towards a diplomatic conference

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WIPO SCCR 43: Notes from Day 2

Rights of broadcasters
Iran wanted clarifications about whether the rights granted to broadcasters under the treaty would be a negative right (right to prohibit) or a positive right (right to authorise). Iran also highlighted that there was a need to clarify definitions in the treaty, particularly with respect to user generated contents shared on websites such as Youtube, in comparison with traditional broadcasters.

The Chair clarified that the treaty provides two sets of rights, positive rights under Article 6 and 7 and negative rights under Article  8 and 9. The Chair also clarified that the treaty aimed to bridge the various  legal frameworks, based on copyright, under a rights based approach and a signal based approach. In the signal based approach, the positive right under Article 6 is based to protect only live signal and the protection ends at the point of fixation, hence there is no relation between the right of fixation Article 7 and the right to prohibit transmission and deferred transmission under article 8. The Chair further clarified that the positive right ends at fixation after which the right to prohibit comes into play. With respect to User Generated Content the Chair clarified that the current draft of the treaty focused protection to traditional broadcasters and not other service providers.

Terms of the Right The USA highlighted their concern over the possible perpetual term of fixation rights and requested that a revised text could have some explicit time limit. Singapore echoed USA’s concern over the absence of limitations on the duration of the rights of the broadcasters which could give broadcasters perpetual protection of a programme. Similarly Pakistan questioned the need for a right of fixation highlighting that piracy was an enforcement issue. With respect to the term of protection the Chair clarified that the treaty sought to provide  practical protection to broadcasters of their live signal, and not the content of the broadcast. Further clarifying that one of  the main aims of the treaty was the protection of simultaneous retransmission, and to provide protection in case there was a fixation of the signals.

Limitations and Exceptions
Iran and Brazil highlighted issues about limitations and exceptions. While Iran stated that the inclusion of the three step test in the treaty would water down the limitations and exceptions provisions, Brazil highlighted that the Article 11 of the treaty did not follow the text of the Marakesh convention or the  Beijing treaty regarding Limitations and Exceptions. Brazil highlighted that there was a need to clarify in the text of the treaty itself that the list provided under the Article is illustrative and not exhaustive. In addition to this they stated that the text of the treaty should also establish the presumption that all the examples listed have already fulfilled the three steps. Brazil also highlighted the question about the consequence of the proposal on works in the public domain that are not sufficiently clear. The draft should ensure that public domain content when broadcasted should not receive another layer of protection.

Communia, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) and Innovarte also highlighted issues that might come up with broadcasting works that are in the public domain. Communia provided examples where the broadcasters might have the only good copy of historic events and reporting that have now become a part of the public domain, however the broadcasters could reappropriate these which are in the public domain with new exclusive rights through this treaty. Communia hence suggested a need for exclusion of public domain works in the treaty.  Innovarte highlighted Article 6 of the Berne convention which allows for exceptions related to public interest such as use of excerpts.

Agenda Item 6 and 7 - Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives, for Educational and Research Institutions and for Persons with Other disabilities

Working towards a binding international L&E instrument
The beginning of the discussion on Limitations and Exceptions began with the CEBS Group, Group B, the European Union and the USA emphasising  on the need to look at other avenues to implement L and E without going for a legally binding international instrument. Some of the solutions provided included strengthening existing national legislations, existing solutions within the framework of the existing international treaties, exchange of best practices, and capacity building for countries to implement L&E’s in their national legislations.

Ghana on behalf of the African Group stated that there was a need to provide mutual benefit between those who generate and those who use creative works. Ghana also highlighted the issues with cross border access and sharing of copyrighted materials which is becoming increasingly difficult for libraries, archives, museums and research institutions to access. Ghana highlighted the need for a strong support in development of a legal instrument on Limitations and Exceptions, for libraries, archives, museums and for persons with disabilities other than blindness. South Africa in their statement also highlighted the benefit L&E’s would provide to both creators and users, and the cross border transfer of data. And  extended their support to the statement of Ghana and work towards an international instrument whether model law, joint recommendation or a treaty.

Security of Open Source Software : A Survey of Technical Stakeholders’ Perceptions and Actions

Security of Open Source Software : A Survey of Technical Stakeholders’ Perceptions and Actions

Posted by Divyansha Sehgal at Apr 13, 2023 06:01 AM |
Filed under:

Open-source software (OSS) components are largely assumed to be secure due to their open nature. However, that is not always the case. Of late, there has been an increased incidence of software supply-chain issues, with some industry reports estimating a 300% increase in attacks that exploit existing vulnerabilities between 2020 and 2021.
This report by Centre for Internet and Society surveys technical stakeholders to determine how they select OSS components to use in their projects and how they think broadly about the security of the projects they create.


  • 90% of respondents work in companies with a dedicated team responsible for the security of software. 80% of them do not carry out any further security checks on an OSS once it has been approved for use by their security teams.
  • 80% of respondents see comprehensive documentation as an important factor when selecting an OSS for use.
  • 70% of respondents report validating dependencies in their selected open-source software component.
  • 50% of respondents consider how actively an open-source software is maintained before selecting it for their projects.
  • 40% of respondents do not anticipate accidental exploitation of vulnerabilities or expect malice from bad actors when they create software.
  • 30% of respondents report not doing any post-release maintenance on the OSS component used and deployed.

Click to download the full report

Securing Our Dependence on Code Reuse in Software

Securing Our Dependence on Code Reuse in Software

Posted by Divyank Katira at Apr 13, 2023 12:00 AM |
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Dividing and breaking up a software project into smaller modules with functionality that can be reused to build other software is an increasingly common practice in software development today. We examine our infrastructural dependence on reuse of open-source software (OSS) components, examine the unique security risks posed by the widespread reuse of code, and survey systemic solutions to securing code reuse.

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CIS Statement in WIPO SCCR 43

Posted by Shweta Mohandas and Anubha Sinha at Mar 28, 2023 02:12 PM |

Shweta Mohandas delivered a statement on behalf of CIS, on day 1 of the 43rd WIPO SCCR session on the Broadcast Treaty.

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CensorWatch: On the Implementation of Online Censorship in India

Posted by Divyank Katira at Mar 14, 2023 12:00 AM |

Results from a nation-wide empirical study on web censorship

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Civil Society’s second opinion on a UHI prescription

Posted by Pallavi Bedi and Shweta Mohandas at Feb 15, 2023 08:20 AM |

On January 13, Pallavi Bedi and Shweta Mohandas from CIS participated in an online collaboration organised by Internet Freedom Foundation for a joint submission to the Consultation Paper on Operationalising Unified Health Interface (UHI) in India released by the National Health Authority.

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Comments to the proposed amendments to The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021

Posted by Divyansha Sehgal and Torsha Sarkar at Feb 07, 2023 03:21 PM |

This note presents comments by the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), India, on the proposed amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“proposed amendments”). We thank Isha Suri for her review of this submission.

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The Centre for Internet and Society’s comments and recommendations to the: The Digital Data Protection Bill 2022

Posted by Shweta Mohandas and Pallavi Bedi at Jan 20, 2023 02:35 AM |

The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) published its comments and recommendations to the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, on December 17, 2022.

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 CIS’ Comments to the (Draft) Indian Telecommunication Bill 2022

Posted by Abhishek Raj, Divyank Katira, Isha Suri, Shweta Mohandas, and Vipul Kharbanda at Nov 22, 2022 01:22 PM |
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The Department of Telecommunications, Government of India invited comments on the Draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022. The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) submitted its comments.

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Why spectrum needs a change in approach

Why spectrum needs a change in approach

Posted by Rajat Kathuria and Isha Suri at Oct 29, 2022 10:00 PM |
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Rajat Kathuria and Isha Suri write: It must be recognised that spectrum needs to be combined with other infrastructure to enable service delivery.

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‘Techplomacy’ and the negotiation of AI standards for the Indo-Pacific

Posted by Arindrajit Basu at Oct 21, 2022 05:16 PM |

Researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute have partnered with the Centre for Internet and Society (Bengaluru) to produce a ‘techplomacy guide’ on negotiating AI standards for stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific.

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ASPI-CIS Partnership


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