Janta Parliament – Technology and Surveillance

Article 21 and Rethink Aadhar organised Janta Parliament on Technology and Surveillance ,On 18 August 2020. Chinmayi SK was invited to participate and put forward policy suggestions on Technology and Surveillance.

Chinmayi spoke about the issues of access to the Internet and contributed the following policy suggestions.

  1. Ensure free and equitable access to telecommunications, Internet and other modes of communication services across the length and breadth of the country though suitable policy and budgetary allocations
  2. Ensure that any restriction in access to telecommunication, internet and communication services be made in a transparent manner, only for a limited period of time, complying with principles of compelling necessity and proportionality, periodically tested for review and in the least rights restrictive manner

 

The video of the full discussion can be found here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bszYmUyY0M&t=9104s

Online talk on “Usability and privacy issues in government-issued Covid-19 apps in India”

Poster of Rohini's talk on Covid-19

Rohini Lakshané delivered a talk on “Usability and privacy issues in government-issued Covid-19 apps in India” on June 22, 2020. The talk was organised by Thus Critique and Hasgeek and moderated by Nishthaa Manchanda.

Event details: https://hasgeek.com/thus/usability-and-privacy-issues-in-government-issued-covid-19-apps-in-india2/#about

Video recording of the talk: https://www.pscp.tv/w/1mrxmEVawgZxy (Periscope)

About the talk: A slew of mobile apps were released by different government bodies in India as a response to the Covid-19 outbreak. State and Union Territory (UT) governments released apps for the purposes of quarantine management, ensuring compliance to quarantine rules, providing healthcare information and updates, and so on. Public health being a subject on the State List, the federal governments were the first to respond to the outbreak with technical interventions, much before the Aarogya Setu app was released. While Aarogya Setu has received much attention, the apps issued by state and UT governments in India have posed their own technical, privacy and usability issues. In this talk, Rohini Lakshané will speak about her findings from a preliminary analysis of approximately twenty government-issued Covid-19 apps from the perspective of privacy and usability of the end-user and will take the audience through a brief timeline of their deployment and subsequent events.

Suggested reading: Tracking quarantine, tracing cases, sharing info: Can these govt-issued apps help fight Covid-19

Spreadsheet with information about 50 government-issued Covid-19 apps in India: https://bit.ly/2BB3R32

The talk was also streamed live on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

An article on the talk was published in Herald Goa: https://bit.ly/389Z3Oj

“Public Safety Tech, Women’s Agency, and Privacy”: Session at GDDF 20

A breakout session entitled “No Woman, No Panic: Public Safety Tech, Women’s Agency, and Privacy” was held at the Global Digital Development Forum (GDDF), a virtual conference held on May 6, 2020. The speakers were Rohini Lakshané (The Bachchao Project), Chinmayi S K (The Bachchao Project) and Kate Sim (PhD Researcher, Oxford Internet Institute). The session was moderated by Dr Becky Faith, Research Fellow & Digital Cluster Lead, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK.

The session elucidated on the efficacy, evaluation, and audit of technological interventions such as mobile apps and panic buttons for public safety and their impact on women’s agency and privacy.

GDDF Agenda: https://digitaldevforum.com/agenda

Video of the session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgJGLJMCwfo

The Bachchao Project and the Centre for Internet and Society had jointly conducted a preliminary study in late 2016 on “Evaluating Safety Buttons on Mobile Devices“.

“Holistic security strategies to address non-consensual intimate images”: Session at GDDF 20

Rohini Lakshané moderated a breakout session entitled “Holistic security strategies to address non-consensual intimate images” at the Global Digital Development Forum (GDDF), a virtual conference held on May 6, 2020. The speakers at this session were Peace Oliver Amuge, Sandra Aceng and Patricia Nyasuna of the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET).

This session elucidated on some of the recommended strategies and measures for holistic security (digital, physical, and psychosocial) that women and no-binary persons may adopt in order to recognise and prevent incidents of non-consensual intimate images (NCII), commonly known by the misnomer “revenge porn”.

GDDF Agenda: https://digitaldevforum.com/agenda

An article based on the talks made in the session was authored by the speakers and moderator: Holistic security strategies and measures to address non-consensual intimate images (NCII)

Slide deck:
Slides_Holistic_security_strategies_to_address_non-consensual_intimate_images_GDDF_2020

The Bachchao Project at Rightscon 2019

Members of The Bachchao Project spoke at two sessions at RightsCon held in Tunis, Tunisia from June 11 to 14, 2019.

 

“Studying the impact of shutdowns from the lens of gender, conflict and ethnicity”, Rightscon 2019

We are publishing the plan for our Rightscon session entitled “Studying the impact of shutdowns from the lens of gender, conflict and ethnicity”.

Details: https://rightscon2019.sched.com/event/Pvrh/studying-the-impact-of-shutdowns-from-the-lens-of-gender-conflict-and-ethnicity, Thursday, 13 June 2019, 5.15 pm to 6.30 pm, Hannibal, Laico Hotel, Tunis.

Speakers: Rohini Lakshané (also facilitator), Jan Rydzak, Unnamed speaker

Chatham House rules apply.

Main goal of the session: To equip the audience with skills and knowledge about devising studies on intentional Internet shutdowns while factoring in the intersections of gender, conflict-strained geographies and ethnicity. We would like the audience to be able to modify and adapt the study for their contexts and employ the lessons for the workshop for research or advocacy or both.

Description: A skill-building and knowledge-sharing workshop for activists and researchers who are investigating the impact of intentional Internet shutdowns from the lenses of gender, ethnicity and conflict. The methodology and the complete research report are available at: http://thebachchaoproject.org/of-sieges-and-shutdowns

We would elucidate on the methodology we employed in an exploratory study in northeast India in late 2017 about the impact of shutdowns on the lives of women entrepreneurs and feminist activists belonging to India’s ethnic minorities. We carried out qualitative interviews with 16 women residing in different districts of the state of Manipur. The activists in the control group and their organisations work in different areas of empowerment of women and girls: relief for victims of domestic abuse, increasing the number of women in governance, economic independence of women, and child trafficking. Some of them also run small or medium businesses.

Awareness of digital rights, cybersecurity and online privacy in the state is little, leaving citizens vulnerable. This intersection of gender and ethnicity is further complicated due to the suspension of civil rights in the region since the 1980s. Owing to the complexity of the topic, an individual directly affected by the shutdowns in Manipur would start the session with an introduction of the demographic and the region. Rohini Lakshané of The Bachchao Project would then speak about the research methodology, its evolution through the course of the project, and the differentiators from other interdisciplinary and qualitative studies on shutdowns, while trying to achieve a level of abstraction high enough for the methodology to be applicable to other, similar demographics and regions. Jan Rydzak, Associate Director for Program, Standford Global Digital Policy Incubator, would follow by speaking about the research methodology he employed in the quantitative study “Of Blackouts and bandhs: The strategy and structure of disconnected protest in India“. The study examines how structural and strategic characteristics affect collective action responses during a network shutdown in an extreme case via statistical analysis.

Session on Internet shutdowns, ICT4D Conference 2019, Uganda

Slide deck_Of Sieges and Shutdowns_ICT4DCon_2019

Rohini Lakshané of The Bachchao Project spoke at a session entitled “Impact Of Intentional Internet Shutdowns And Unreliable Mobile Connectivity On Women In Conflict-Strained Manipur” at the ICT4D Conference 2019. The session was featured under the “Humanitarian Response and Resilience” track. In the session, Rohini presented the most significant findings of the study “Of Sieges and Shutdowns“, which she conducted with Chinmayi S K in late 2017 in Manipur, India. The exploratory research project was aimed at studying the impact of intentional Internet shutdowns from the lenses of gender, conflict and the status of ethnic minority.

Read the full report of the study at: Of Sieges and Shutdowns

The conference was held from April 30 to May 2, 2019 at Kampala, Uganda. Details: https://www.ict4dconference.org

Panel discussion on intentional internet shutdowns at Digital Citizen Summit 2018

Rohini Lakshané of The Bachchao Project was a speaker on a panel on the topic of intentional internet shutdowns at the Digital Citizen Summit held in New Delhi on November 1-2, 2018. The panel discussion entitled “Living in Digital Darkness — Internet Shutdowns in India” was organised by the Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC).

Lakshané spoke about the findings from The Bachchao Project’s research report entitled “Of Sieges and Shutdowns” on the impact of intentional Internet shutdowns on the lives and livelihoods of women in Manipur, India.

The other panelists were Prashanth Sugathan (SFLC), Tripti Jain (SFLC, moderator), Nikhil Pahwa (Medianama) and Mansi Kedia (ICRIER).

View conference agenda.

View event report by the organisers [PDF].

Panel discussion on intentional internet shutdowns at Digital Citizen Summit 2018
Photos from the panel discussion on intentional Internet shutdowns at the Digital Citizen Summit, New Delhi, 2018. Photo credit: Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation
Panel discussion on intentional internet shutdowns at Digital Citizen Summit 2018
Photo credit: Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation
Panel discussion on intentional internet shutdowns at Digital Citizen Summit 2018
Photo credit: Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation

Paper on Safe Goa project presented at Tech4Dev Conference 2018

Chinmayi S K presented the methodology for the Safe Goa project at the 5th International Conference on Technologies for Development (Tech4Dev 2018) held in Laussane, Switzerland from 27 to 29 June 2018. A working paper titled “Low Technology Participatory Methodologies in Research and Advocacy for Making Cities Safer for Women” authored by Chinmayi S K, Yugendran Muthuvel and Tania Devaiah was submitted for the conference. The final paper is scheduled for release in September 2018.

The conference was organised by the UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development at the Cooperation & Development Center (CODEV), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.