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  • New video: Drone cameras in Lalitpur

    This is the first episode of a three-episode series Deep impact: COVID-19, surveillance technology & marginalised dentities”, developed in collaboration with Khabar Lahariya, the country’s only rural digital news network, which reports on issues that are far from the attention of national and regional media.   More

  • Collective statement to urge the government of J&K to restore high-speed Internet across the region

    On 12 August 2020, the Internet Democracy Project along with SFLC​.in and a coalition of non-profit organisations & civil society groups sent a joint statement urging the Jammu and Kashmir Government to restore high-speed internet access in the region along with the request to ensure stable and secure communication services in the Union Territory. Shutting down the high-speed Internet has not only created a communication block for the residents of the state but also had a very drastic effect on their lives. Students were deprived of the education due to access issues caused by this blockage. People have lost livelihood opportunities and are also not able to access information necessary to contain the ongoing pandemic let alone being able to be in touch with their loved ones using the Internet. The full text of the letter can be found on the SFLC​.in website as well as below.   More

  • At stake is our bodily integrity

    Governments around the world are increasingly turning to technology as a tool to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In India, these tools have ranged from various contact tracing apps to using drones. Privacy concerns have been raised about the use of such intrusive digital technologies by activists, lawyers and concerned citizens. But while these are valid, a crucial element remains unrecognised: what is at stake is not merely our informational privacy, but our autonomy, dignity, bodily integrity, and equality. Note: A shorter version of this article was originally published in the Hindu.   More

  • An anniversary we are wary about

    On 2 April 2020, the Government of India launched the Aarogya Setu app with the stated intention of curbing the pandemic — and a lot has happened with it since. Post its launch, the app was heavily promoted and made mandatory by different public and private entities for various purposes. The prescription of a state-sponsored app raises many concerns. In addition to the issue of data privacy and security, such an imposition can lead to an infringement of fundamental rights. It can exclude those who do not have access to a mobile phone.   More

  • Call for Inputs: Surveillance and marginalised communities during COVID19

    Have you (or someone you know) been asked to mandatorily download the Aarogya Setu app by your employer, school / university, resident welfare association, or for accessing services such as healthcare? Are you having any difficulties in accessing various tech-based solutions implemented by the government for receiving financial aid? Are drones being used in your locality to enforce the lockdown? Are you or others in your communities facing any kind of stigma or discrimination due to these measures? Are you facing parental or spousal control over access to mobile phones and the Internet during the lockdown? If so, we’re eager to hear from you!   More

  • Best effort basis’: Is it indeed the best effort by the Government?

    The Government issued an order on 17 May 2020 that appeared to dilute the mandatory’ nature of the Aarogya Setu app. According to this order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, employers on best efforts’ are asked to ensure the downloading of the app. Additionally, District Authorities may also advise’ individuals to download the app. This was a refreshing move as previously issued guidelines on the lockdown had made the app mandatory for both private and public employees as well as those in containment zones. At first sight, there seems to be a reason to celebrate. But is this the case in practice?   More

  • The paper proposes to change the approach to data and consent in the data governance régime. The authors Tripti Jain and Anja Kovacs reconceptualise the existing connotations of data by putting the bodies back in the debates around consent and data governance. The paper recommends that the findings from feminist research can help in rethinking consent in data protection both at the individual and structural level. Listen to our researcher Tripti Jain explain it in details. Let us know if you have any feedback or comments, or would like to get a copy of the final paper once published.   More

  • When and where is Aarogya Setu mandatory? We’re keeping track

    The Indian Government has launched the Aarogya Setu app as a response to COVID-19. While initially termed voluntary, we noticed that soon after its launch, the app started to be pushed by various governments, non-government establishments and private bodies as mandatory, or forced on people in other ways. Our Aarogya Setu Tracker attempts to document all these cases. Access the Aarogya Setu Tracker here. To make the tracker as exhaustive as possible, we need your help! If you come across relevant news items/​orders (especially those in regional languages), please forward them to info@​internetdemocracy.​in or tag us on Twitter (@iNetDemocracy). After fact-checking the item, we will add it to the tracker.   More

  • An Exclusion Tale: Aarogya Setu’s march from optional to mandatory

    This piece has been co-authored by Tripti Jain and Tanisha Ranjit. As Aarogya Setu is becoming mandatory in a growing number of cases, it deserves to be asked: does the app ensure welfare for all – or not at all? In this column, we try to answer that question. We look in particular at the implications that the mandates pose on people’s lives and fundamental rights, especially on marginalised sections of the community. We also highlight the other concerns with the app: the issues of efficacy, potential tool for mass surveillance and exclusionary nature of the app. This opinion piece was originally published in The Quint, on 6 May 2020.   More

  • Statement against the mandatory imposition of Aarogya Setu App on workers

    On 30 April, the Internet Democracy Project along with 44 organisations and over 100 individuals endorsed the statement against the mandatory use of the Aarogya Setu mobile application by employees of various public and private offices all over India. The Internet Freedom Foundation sent this joint representation to various Government officials, including the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, and Home Minister, Mr. Amit Shah. The Aarogya Setu app infringes the right to privacy and personal liberty, and is unbecoming of a democratic country. We stand in solidarity with the Internet Freedom Foundation and other rights based groups and Individuals to call it out. The full text of the letter can be found on the IFF website as well as below.   More