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Cyber Democracy

Author: Suno India

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The second season of Cyber Democracy podcast focuses on understanding how technology is a site for gendered politics in India. Through conversations with female and trans-queer grassroots practitioners, the podcast will discuss how our gender and intersectional identities shape our experiences of and engagements with technologies and the Internet.

Show Host: Radhika Radhakrishnan
(https://twitter.com/so_radhikal)

Season 1

What does Democracy mean in this age of cyber? How does the government benefit from the sale of our data? What is data economy? And does the internet give us the right to be forgotten? These and many more questions will be discussed, debated and answered in Cyber Democracy, a new podcast offering from Suno India.

Show Host: Srinivas Kodali (https://twitter.com/digitaldutta)
26 Episodes
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The Internet can be a fascinating space, with the potential to explore our diverse identities and navigate different kinds of experiences. In this podcast, today we will explore how the Internet and social media shape expressions of sex, and the performance of sexuality, desire and pleasure online. Cyber Democracy host Radhika Radhakrishnan discusses with Paromita Vohra and Smita Vanniyar about taking risks to express desire online, and how people employ personal safeguards to seek pleasure in a safe manner on the Internet. You will also hear how social media platforms as well as the state employ practices that censor sexual expression and sanitise the Internet, and how people are creatively subverting these in their everyday lives. Paromita is a filmmaker and writer whose work spans themes of feminism, desire, urban life and popular culture. She is the founder and creative director of Agents of Ishq. Smita works at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and technology with a focus on digital rights, holistic digital security, and digital storytelling. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
The rise of the gig economy and its digital mediation has led to various online platforms for workers. Some such platforms are targeted towards domestic workers. In India, domestic workers are mostly women from marginalised castes and classes, forming an invisible backbone of the care economy. With the advent of online platforms, what happens to these structural inequalities? Situating the lived realities of domestic workers, today’s episode focuses on the challenges that they are facing while navigating digital platforms. In conversation with Ambika Tandon and Parijatha G.P., we discuss how digital platforms are affecting the ability of domestic workers to find work, to unionise and negotiate with employers, and to ensure social protection and a life of dignity. We also discuss how COVID-19 has impacted this scenario and some recommendations for enacting change. Please follow the below links to read more about the research on this:Digital mediation of reproductive and care work in India: Research reflexivity and challenges Platformisation of Domestic Work in India: Report from a Multistakeholder Consultation DWRU, BBGS & MKU – The Covid-19 Pandemic and the Invisible Workers of the Household Economy – Report For more details visit The Centre for Internet & Society See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
An important way to ensure that health pandemics do not turn into socio-economic crises is through social protection, which ensures that the livelihoods of the poor and marginalised remain protected. During COVID-19, the Indian government implemented various social protection schemes for the poor, relying upon technology-mediated methods such as direct benefit transfers (DBTs) and the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) Trinity. Despite this, according to a survey across 23 states, 23% of the respondents had to borrow money to manage their household, and 8% had to sell a valuable possession. Another survey among low-income households across 15 states showed that only 19% of people were satisfied with how much government entitlements helped them navigate the crisis. In this episode, the host Radhika Radhakrishnan explores the challenges that women in rural India are facing under Digital India for accessing social protection schemes during COVID-19. She speaks with Drishti Agarwal and Manju Rajput, who are Programme Executives of Family Empowerment Programme, Aajeevika Bureau. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit India, and a national lockdown was ordered, we were pushed back into the space of our homes. Because of this, our ability to survive and continue livelihoods has been hinged on our access to mobile phones and the Internet, But what does this mean for people who do not have such access, or for whom this access is controlled by men in the family? In this episode, Cyber Democracy season 2 host Radhika Radhakrishnan, discuss the effect this has had on women for reporting domestic violence, for domestic workers and sex workers, for girls to access online education, and for queer communities to access support structures of chosen families. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
COVID has accelerated automation of labour and has forced monitoring of workers and their bodies. This excessive collection of data of labour not only brings in the question of violations of their right to privacy but other issues of labour rights and their violations by the platforms. The forceful collection of data from the labour leads to many questions of ownership of the data, the impact of this data on their wages, work and their personal life. The never-ending question of will this data be used to replace the worker with a machine still looms us? In this 3 part series, we have experts Aditi Surie, Urvashi Aneja, Anupam Guha, explaining these issues in detail. These episodes are based on the webinar “Rise of Employee Surveillance post-COVID and Labour Rights Violations” conducted by Suno India on 30 May 2020.In this final episode of the series, the host, Srinivas Kodali speaks with Dr Anupam Guha, an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Policy Studies, IIT Bombay.  Do listen to the previous episodes with Aditi Surie, a social science researcher at Indian Institute of Human Settlements and Urvashi Aneja, Founding Director of Tandem Research.  See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
COVID has accelerated automation of labour and has forced monitoring of workers and their bodies. This excessive collection of data of labour not only brings in the question of violations of their right to privacy but other issues of labour rights and their violations by the platforms. The forceful collection of data from the labour leads to many questions of ownership of the data, the impact of this data on their wages, work and their personal life. The never-ending question of will this data be used to replace the worker with a machine still looms us? In this 3 part series, we have experts Aditi Surie, Urvashi Aneja, Anupam Guha, explaining these issues in detail. These episodes are based on the webinar “Rise of Employee Surveillance post-COVID and Labour Rights Violations” conducted by Suno India on 30 May 2020.In this episode of the series, the host, Srinivas Kodali speaks with Urvashi Aneja, Founding Director of Tandem Research. She works on the governance and sociology of emerging technology. Do listen to the previous episode if you haven’t already where Aditi Surie, a social science researcher at Indian Institute of Human Settlements spoke about the labour behind the e-platforms and technological interventions all along the way.  See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
COVID-19 has accelerated automation of labour and has forced monitoring of workers and their bodies. This excessive collection of data of labour not only brings in the question of violations of their right to privacy but other issues of labour rights and their violations by the platforms. The forceful collection of data from the labour leads to many questions of ownership of the data, the impact of this data on their wages, work and their personal life. The never-ending question of will this data be used to replace the worker with a machine still looms us? In this 3 part series, we have experts Aditi Surie, Urvashi Aneja, Anupam Guha, explaining these issues in detail. These episodes are based on the webinar “Rise of Employee Surveillance post-COVID and Labour Rights Violations” conducted by Suno India on 30 May 2020.In this episode of the series, the host, Srinivas Kodali speaks with Aditi Surie, an academic researcher with the Indian Institute of Human Settlements. Aditi’s current research investigates the nature and conditions of work in the life of urban residents bereft of state-sponsored work and social security. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued a press release to ban around 59 prominent Chinese mobile applications from both Android and iOS app marketplace within under 69A of the Information Technology Act. The list includes apps like TikTok, WeChat, Cam Scanner, Clash of Kings among others.  This is the first time the government has proactively announced the blocking orders which are often issued in secret with no explanation.  The press release states those apps have been engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.  To decipher this order, I spoke to Pranesh Prakash, an affiliated Fellow with Yale Law School's Information Society Project. Pranesh is a veteran in the information technology policy space and has documented several issues with section 69A of the IT Act.  See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
Digital Pipe Dreams

Digital Pipe Dreams

2020-06-1537:20

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has recently started holding consultations on a whitepaper titled "National Open Digital Ecosystem" or NODE. The aim of the consultation process is to come up with principles for design, governance and to strategize the national open digital ecosystem of next generation governance digital platforms. The paper defines these NODEs as Open and secure delivery platforms, anchored by transparent governance mechanisms, which enable a community of partners to unlock innovative solutions, to transform societal outcomes. In simple terms the paper is recommending principles to build the next set of Aadhaar, UPI, GSTN like technology platforms.To discuss the consultation paper and these platforms along with the governance issues associated with it, show host Srinivas Kodali spoke to Urvashi Aneja in this episode. Urvashi is the director of Tandem Research, which has been conducting research on platform governance, future of work and labour, Artificial Intelligence and Society among other sectors.  See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
With the COVID-19 lockdowns and the dearth of meeting people in real world, several people are exploring options for date online. While dating apps like tinder and bumble have been available for a while, there is an increase of their use with the lockdown. Couples who are separated due to the lockdown are being intimate online. While the internet and these apps provide an option to explore intimacy online, they also bring in risks of privacy and security. In this episode we discuss various issues of online dating with Asmita Ghosh, a sex-positive feminist and activist, a former Campaign Lead at Feminism in India. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
In this episode of the Cyber Democracy, Suno India editor Padma Priya and Cyber Democracy host Srinivas Kodali continue exploring more about surveillance architecture, including contact tracing and the lack of limitations on data collected for health surveillance, along with Dr. Sonali Vaid and Sidharth Deb. Hear our previous episode “Boots on the ground need of the hour, not more apps-Part 1”, where we discuss what surveillance mean in public health and how a government should go about working on an app for public uses or surveillance. Dr Sonali Vaid, a public health professional has consulted for various international organisations, such as the World Health Organization & UNICEF. Sidharth Deb is the policy and parliamentary counsel for Internet Freedom Foundation. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
The Indian government launched Arogya Setu app, saying that it could be an effective solution to combat COVID-19.  Lately, the terms ‘contact tracing’ and ‘disease surveillance’ are being used widely. What exactly is health surveillance? How is it different from police and intelligence surveillance?  Dr Sonali Vaid, who’s a public health professional and Sidharth Deb, who’s the policy and parliamentary counsel for Internet Freedom Foundation join us, to help us understand public health surveillance, contact tracing and data during a public health emergency. In this and the next episode of cyber democracy, you’ll hear Suno India editor Padma Priya and Cyber Democracy host Srinivas Kodali discussing surveillance used for public health, contact tracing, and the role of technology, especially apps, that is increasingly used for solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic.   See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
It has become clear that without internet, the world would not have been able to be under lock down because of corona virus and carried out any work from home. Internet providers are working round the clock to ensure that the bandwidth networks of people browsing online are met with everyone spending more time on the internet during the lock-down.  Internet had already become an essential requirement before the countrywide lock down because of corona virus. It is an essential requirement for any commerce activity, and shutting it down has wide implications to people's right to free expression and access to information. During these uncertain times, it is important to understand how internet shutdowns have spread in India and why it is important to acknowledge them. In this episode, Prateek Waghre from the policy think tank Takshashila Institution will tell us about the anatomy of internet shutdowns.  See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
Cyber Democracy podcast was on a mid-season break. We are back now with some bonus episodes.  The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has seen unprecedented steps being taken by countries across the world. From stringent lockdowns to increased push towards remote working to heightened surveillance using technology, the steps being taken to tackle COVID-19 by countries have sometimes crossed into the tricky realm of do we violate patient privacy and confidentiality to keep communities safe. From China to South Korea to India, contact tracing applications that use smartphone Bluetooth sensors to see if the other person around you is a suspect or patient are on the rise. For this to work, the other person should also have the same contact tracing app installed. This way when one person has been tested positive for coronavirus, the health authorities can test every other person in the chain of contact and quarantine them.  One such app in India which is being popularised is the Aarogya Setu app by the Indian government. Experts, however, say that these systems are still in the experimental stage and are tricky in terms of privacy and data they collect. Internet Freedom Foundation too has raised concerns about the app, information collection, data storage and transparency.  To know more about these apps, I spoke to Divya Siddarth, a researcher who contributed to a paper on coronavirus applications which was published by Harvard Edmond J Safra Center for Ethics, titled "Outpacing the Virus: Digital Response to Containing the Spread of COVID-19 while Mitigating Privacy Risks." See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
Muting the Internet

Muting the Internet

2020-02-2337:26

The internet enabled new content to be created and distributed as there was no regulation over the content. Over the years government has been trying to regulate the internet and bring in laws that could harm civil and fundamental rights. But whats more draconian than censorship by government is self censorship. Self censorship by bodies such as the IAMAI is giving more power to government. In this episode Apar Gupta of Internet Freedom Foundation walks us through recent developments over online video streaming policies in India. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
Mechanical Birds

Mechanical Birds

2020-02-1526:56

Since 2010 with the launch of Parrot AR, drones have become consumer technology and are being used everywhere from movie shootings, wedding videography and scientific activity like mapping. The ability of drones to reach places where humans can’t directly reach means it could be used for monitoring operations, delivery of goods and even be potentially misused for violence. India has banned import of drones since 2014 and has legally allowed drone usage only after Dec 1st 2018 when Director General of Civil Aviation brought the rules regulating Remotely Piloted Aircrafts. In this episode Shashank Srinivasan of Technology for Wildlife takes us through how these regulations are working.  See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
The internet was built by people, they made it there home and used it to teach people skills and spread knowledge. Several individuals grew up with internet, they knew the value of it. In 2015, when they saw facebook attempting to take control over it using their FreeBasics and Internet.org program, people rose up. They turned it into what was called the Net-Neutrality Movement or SavetheInternet Movement. This movement led to the formation of Internet Freedom Foundation. This movement also created the awareness about digital rights in India. In this episode host Srinivas Kodali speak to Kiran Jonnalagadda of HasGeek about the after effects of Net-Neutrality movement.  See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
Midnight Machines

Midnight Machines

2020-01-3143:27

Technology has always been political, people developing the technology or promoting it have influenced it everywhere. India is no different to this paradigm, our first prime minister Nehru influenced it ways we can't really imagine. The legacy of political decisions influencing technological innovations have always effected our personal lives in good ways or bad. But with all the issues, we as a country transformed our self with the help of technology. Technology plays an important role in our life. A new book Midnight's machines by Arun Mohan Sukumar traces about the history of politics in technology in Independent India. In this episode the author talks about the book and some of the important stories of technology and its politics in Independent India. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
Cambridge Analytica is popularly known to influence voters across the world, including US elections of 2016 and UK leave EU referendum, using personal data. It is said Cambridge Analytica had around 5000 attributes of every voter, collected from social media and other private data brokers. Cambridge Analytica used this information to micro-target political advertisements to voters, essentially telling them what they wanted to hear based on their data. The BJP has initiated a missed call campaign to show support to the citizenship amendment bill. Usually these are data collection excercises to know supporters and micro-target them with more dis-information & misinformation. In this episode Shivam Shankar Singh, a Political Analyst and author of “How to Win an Indian Election: What Political Parties Don’t want you to Know" talks in detail about the misuse of data and social media by political parties. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
The National Population Register was designed to be maintained by Registrar General of India and was subsequently linked to Census 2011 and carried out along with it by the Register General of India. The register was further updated in 2015, when more data was collected. The National Population Register data was used for other activities like Socio-Economic Caste Census, Aadhaar Voter id linking in the past until the Aadhaar Act of 2016 was framed. The current version of National Population Register along with census 2021 will be carried using a mobile application. National Population Register is the mother database of National Register of Citizens (NRC). To talk about these registers, Suno India editor Padma Priya talks to Cyber Democracy host Srinivas Kodali. See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.
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