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.
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.
The first-ever edition of the global pop-up exhibition “The Glass Room” to be held in India was hosted by The Bachchao Project in Bengalurufrom 22 to 24November, 2019. The exhibition was a part of the art gallery event Art Bengaluru 2019.
The three-day exhibition attracted more than 300 visitors, and was supported by 15 trained volunteers. Visitors were also offered the Data Detox.
The Glass Room is a public intervention that provides an interactive, fun, and challenging experience, bringing to life the most pressing challenges facing people and the tech industry today. As technology reaches a global scale and becomes embedded in every part of our lives and our environments, The Glass Room examines its impacts and helps visitors explore practical solutions to mitigate them. The consequences of a “move fast and break things” industry are catching up with us and now we must examine what has been lost and gained along the way. The Glass Room is curated by Tactical Tech, an international NGO based in Berlin.
Exhibits titled “Zuckerberg’s House”, “Alphabet’s Empire” and “The Life of a Selfie” were especially popular amongst the visitors, one of whom wrote, “I know some of the information before (e.g., Zuckerberg’s buy out) but this is way comprehensive [sic] and concise”. Feedback received from the visitors shows that they appreciated the exhibition “for showcasing the need to privacy and bringing digital awareness to the mass audience” and for “creating awareness of the digital footprints we leave”. Some visitors said that they wished to see some exhibits contextualised for the Indian data privacy scenario and audience in the future, while some others wished for a larger exhibition and more exhibits.
Visitors who received the Data Detox kits found them “very interesting and informative” and that “it was scary to realise how much [data] is up for sale like [mentioned in] the [Data Detox] booklet”. Most visitors also stated that they looked forward to taking the 8-day Detox Challenge. Around 150 Data Detox kits were distributed at the event.
The response of the visitors to The Glass Room, Community Edition indicates that it was an interesting and valuable experience for them, and the Complete Edition would be well-received, “[We need] many more such installations at many more art exhibitions.”
At The Bachchao Project we believe that conversations on digital privacy and security must move beyond policy-making and civil society spaces to reach and include the general public. The Glass Room Exhibition is a brilliant medium to have these conversations. Our strongest motivation for hosting The Glass Room was to bring this medium of having conversations about the interplay between technology and privacy to India. In the years to come we hope to continue to host these kinds of events in different parts of the country, with more India-specific content.
First-ever edition of The Glass Room Exhibition in India to be held in Bengaluru
3 November 2019, Bengaluru, India
The first-ever edition of the global pop-up exhibition “The Glass Room” to be held in India has been organised by The Bachchao Project in Bengalurufrom 22 to 24November, 2019. The exhibition is a part of the art gallery event Art Bengaluru 2019. Entry is free and open to the public.
The Glass Room is a public intervention that provides an interactive, fun, and challenging experience, bringing to life the most pressing challenges facing people and the tech industry today. As technology reaches a global scale and becomes embedded in every part of our lives and our environments, The Glass Room examines its impacts and helps visitors explore practical solutions to mitigate them. The consequences of a “move fast and break things” industry are catching up with us and now we must examine what has been lost and gained along the way.
The Bachchao Project is a techno-feminist collective that undertakes community-centric efforts to develop and support open source technologies and technical frameworks with the goals of mitigating gender-based violence and working towards equal rights for women, LGBTQIA people, and gender non-conforming groups. We conduct research and advocacy in all the above areas and guide communities in determining appropriate technological interventions for themselves.
We live-tweeted from the Bengaluru edition of the public consultation on India’s draft data protection law and compiled the significant interventions made at the event into a Twitter Moment: https://twitter.com/i/moments/953194810222903296.
The consultation, organised by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), was presided over by Justice Sri Krishna who is the Chairman of the “Committee of Experts on Data Protection”. The committee has released a white paper on the data protection framework for India. Public comments on it are invited till January 31, 2018.