Issues

  • Data

    The definitive buzzword of the internet age, data’ comes with much baggage. Laws and regulation reckoning with data are being crafted to deal predominantly with frameworks of data protection. However, much more is at stake when it comes to data: governance by data raises questions of discrimination; mass surveillance by the State is fundamentally altering a fragile democracy; data-driven’ decision making has been revealed to flatten cultural eccentricities and diversity. We explore this cluster of issues in this section.

    • Gender and surveillance

      Surveillance is frequently understood as aiming to monitor people’s behaviour: to see what they are doing now or have done in the past. But there is a second dimension to surveillance: it also shapes our behaviour going forward. What can a gender perspective on both these dimensions of surveillance teach us about the multiple harms of surveillance? And how can this understanding in turn deepen our efforts to fight surveillance’s multiple harms?

    • Privacy and surveillance

      Privacy and data protection have been the most popular responses – in law and regulation as well as in popular understanding – to issues of surveillance and dataveillance. In this section, we investigate the substance of these frameworks, their contours and limitations as well as their usefulness.

  • Freedom of expression

    To balance freedom of expression with other human rights is, at times, a difficult and delicate task. From hate speech to intermediary liability, we tease out and shed greater light on the various challenges that make this task particularly complicated, proposing ways forward that can further strengthen and promote the right to freedom of expression, in India and beyond, as well. 

    • Gender, free speech, censorship

      Censorship on the Internet is frequently justified by concerns to safeguard morality or protect women. But do existing laws and initiatives support women in actual practice in confronting the considerable challenges that they face online? We investigate. 

    • Hate speech

      Online speech that is offensive, abusive or hateful has attracted great attention in India and elsewhere, and often leads to calls for its criminalisation. But while the right to freedom of expression is subject to reasonable restrictions both under Indian law and international law, these are fairly narrowly defined, and much of what might be considered hate speech socially is not necessarily so legally. How, then, to deal with and move forward on this difficult and sensitive issue? 

    • The impact of criminal law

      Be it online or offline, the illegitimate criminalisation of freedom of expression is one of the biggest threats to the right to freedom of expression. We analyse its impact on on freedom of expression online and the free and open Internet in general. We also look at the particular consequences criminal law in India in particular has had in this regard, examining not only Internet-specific laws, such as those regarding intermediate liability, but laws that predate the Internet as well. 

      Want to learn more about what intermediary liability is specifically? Read on to find out more.

  • Cyber security and human rights

    With the advent of new technology, new security threats have emerged for people, businesses and states. Oftentimes, responses to such threats, including states’ exercise of their unprecedented power to surveil their populations, have been criticised for their negative impact on human rights. Can security and human rights no longer be reconciled in the Internet age? 

  • Net neutrality and other telecom policy

    The physical life of the internet is obscured from view. Undersea cables, airwaves, wireline networks- all these elements that rarely come to the foreground of our thoughts interact in complex ways to deliver us internet’. As much of the network is owned and managed by private entities, their interests can be divergent from the public interest. Limiting user choice or stifling innovation, for example, could be immensely profitable for these entities. It falls upon the laws and policies governing these telecommmunication networks to ensure that the internet’s ability to function as a free, open and secure medium is preserved, while also creating conditions for the telecom industry to thrive.

    • The ITU and global Internet governance

      Since late 2012, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has come to play an increasingly important role as a platform for and driver of global debates around appropriate models for Internet governance. While some argue the ITU’s growing role merely signals an attempt by certain governments, or by the UN, to take over the Internet, others argue that the institution has a legitimate role to play in Internet governance. The Internet Democracy Project follows and sheds light on the debate as it unfolds, from a developing country perspective. 

    • The WSIS+10 Review

      The ten year review of the implementation of WSIS outcomes might be of significance not only for efforts to annihilate the digital divide post-2015, but also for the future of global Internet governance. Less than a year before a High Level Review Meeting, the role and possibly participation of civil society in the review process remains unclear – lip service paid by governments to the gains of multistakeholderism notwithstanding.