Internet Shutdowns: Diverse risks, challenges, and needs at IGF 2022

Members of TBP participated in IGF 2022 hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The IGF was held from 28th Nov to 2nd Dec 2022.

Chinmayi  S K was a session organizer and a speaker along with Laura Schwartz-Henderson from Internews, The session also had Diagne El Hadji Daouda and
Miraj Chowdhury as other speakers.

https://www.intgovforum.org/en/content/igf-2022-ws-482-internet-shutdowns-diverse-risks-challenges-and-needs

The session was hosted both in person and online and has a discussion on the needs assessment work undertaken as part of the Prepare, Prevent, Resist: The OPTIMA Internet Shutdowns Resource Library. Chinmayi S K presented the india assessment report and spoke about the various impacts of internet shutdowns urging government to think of necessity and proportionality while implementing shutdowns.

An event report on this session as compiled by Bojana Kovac of digwatch  can be found here : https://dig.watch/event/igf2022/internet-shutdowns-diverse-risks-challenges-and-needs

What we owe to each other: a user focused model of tool development – TBP at RightsCon

We presented our learnings on the usability of Tails in a country with heightened surveillance and reduced freedom of expression, where many users struggle with unreliable internet connectivity. We hope with this  and other efforts we can encourage tool builders to do similar work on their tools to see if they are being built to suit the needs of their users.

TBP at UX Forum 2022

Members of  our collective  participated in the UX Forum 2022 held from  25th April to April 30th 2022. The UXForum  is an effort to bring together human rights defenders, digital security  trainers, auditors, software developers, designers, and funders for exploring  human-rights centered design in the open source privacy and security  community.

The members of our collective hosted the following sessions on Day 1 of the UXForum

  1. Tailormade? – Chinmayi S K and Vasundhra Kaul delivered a lightning talk on learnings from the usability study of Tails in India. This was based on the study “Tailormade? A study of usability of tails in India ”.
  2. Low Connectivity UX – Chinmayi S K hosted this session along with Evie Winter. This workshop focused on experiences from  practitioners in low-connectivity regions. There were discussion around tools and platforms and their effectiveness in low-connectivity regions. There were also conversation on this could be improved further.

To  read more highlights from day 1 discussions at UXForum please check this Internews blogpost.

“The Gendered Impact of Intentional Internet Shutdowns”: Panel at the Global Digital Development Forum 2021

Rohini Lakshané‎ moderated a session entitled “The gendered impact of intentional Internet shutdowns” at the Global Digital Development Forum (GDDF) on 5 May 2021. The speakers were Felicia Anthonio (Access Now), Sandra Aceng (Women of Uganda Network), Deborah Brown (Human Rights Watch) and Zaituni Njovu (Zaina Foundation).

Description: Women, gender-diverse persons, and marginalised sections of society have been using the internet to overcome the obstacles posed by an imbalance of power and social restrictions. Internet shutdowns, a tool increasingly used by governments across the world, are depriving these populations of access to the ways in which the internet acts as a leveller. Our panelists represent researchers, advocacy, and policy groups exploring the impact of intentional internet shutdowns on women and gender-diverse persons in communities across Africa. They will speak from the perspectives of free and fair elections, cybersecurity, freedom of speech, and expression and digital rights, and discuss coping strategies these populations use when they are digitally disconnected.

Click here for the GDDF 2021 agenda.

A recording of the session is available at: https://digitaldevforum.course.tc/t/2021/events/the-gendered-impact-of-intentional-internet-shutdowns-edXz4h26pBmDUJokkFGRXN

Panel on Digital Speech, Disinformation, Censorship: Social Media and Democracy

Rohini Lakshané was a panelist at the event “Digital Speech, Disinformation, Censorship: Social Media and Democracy” organised by Tufts University and held on 23 February 2021. The panel was a part of the “Critical Times, Critical Thinkers” series of talks held by Tufts Global Education.

Details about the session: https://students.tufts.edu/digital-speech-disinformation-censorship-social-media-and-democracy

Description: “This panel will explore the role of digital technology as social experimentation, the controversial role of Big Tech in policing and censoring speech, and provide a dynamic discussion about EU regulation of Big Tech and the lack of it in the US. Special attention will be paid to exploring differences in the impact of these practices in the Global North and Global South, particularly the ways in which these practices may support rather than challenge authoritarian regimes in the Global South (e.g. India and Myanmar). Each speaker will offer 5 minute introductory remarks followed by a moderated discussion among all participants. Questions from the public are welcome!”

Speakers:
Rohini Lakshané, Director, Emerging Research, The Bachchao Project, Mysuru, India
Manuela Kasper-Claridge, Editor in Chief, Deutsche Welle, Berlin, Germany
Adam Moe Fejerskov, Senior Researcher, Danish Institute for International Studies

Moderator: Josephine Wolff, Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity Policy, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Click here for a video recording of the session

Roundtable on Internet Shutdowns, Technology and Society Series, 11 November 2020

Rohini Lakshané was one of the speakers at the Roundtable on Internet Shutdowns organised by the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) and Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) on November 11, 2020. The roundtable was a part of Technology and Society Series hosted by SFLC and the Centre for Software & Information Technology Management at IIM-B. Details of the event: https://www.iimb.ac.in/index.php/iimb-csitm-host-internet-shutdowns

The other speakers at the roundtable were Prof. Rajeev Gowda, former Member of Parliament and former faculty, IIM Bangalore; Anuradha Bhasin, Editor, Kashmir Times; and Prasanth Sugathan, Legal Director, SFLC. Prof. Neena Pandey, faculty, IIM Visakhapatnam moderated the session.

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

Not “revenge porn”: New trends in non-consensual intimate imagery in Uganda & the role of digital security: Session at RightsCon Online

Rohini Lakshané co-moderated a session entitled “Not “revenge porn”: New trends in non-consensual intimate imagery in Uganda & the role of digital security” at RightsCon Online. The session was held on July 28, 2020. The speakers were Sandra Aceng and Patricia Nyasuna of the Women of the Uganda Network, Judith Heard (Founder, Day One Uganda), and Joan Katambi (Assistant Lecturer, Uganda Institute of ICT). Peace Oliver Amuge (Program Manager, Women of Uganda Network) was a co-moderator.

RightsCon program: https://www.rightscon.org/program-2020/

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) has published a detailed blog post on the session on the website of the Association of Progressive Communications: https://www.apc.org/en/blog/wougnet-rightscon-not-revenge-porn-non-consensual-sharing-intimate-imagery-uganda

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“.