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So 2016 has come and gone. Among the many casualties it claimed, perhaps the most conspicuous if not the most surprising, was the credibility of the global mainstream or credentialised media. In the United States (US), the election as president of Donald Trump, who had been given a less than 10 percent chance of victory […]

The widespread adoption of Aadhaar numbers and linkages to Unique Identification (UID) programme databases for the purpose of authenticating sensitive transactions should give pause to India’s foreign policy and military planners. That Aadhaar is a centralised database, and therefore susceptible to cyber attacks, is already known. But pervasive “Aadhaar-isation” brings together systems and platforms in […]

Last Friday, US Customs and Immigration Services announced that it would be suspending the expedited processing of H1B visas beginning on 3rd April. Though this news has long been pushed off the front pages of US newspapers by President Trump’s revised executive order limiting travel from six majority-Muslim countries, the H1B decision continues to get […]

Read the first part ► India is adopting digital payments like never before, but cash too seems here to stay On 16 February, I analysed the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) data and presented that the demonetisation exercise initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 November 2016 led to a jump in several measures of digitisation payments […]

No longer the subject of science fiction, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is profoundly transforming our daily lives. While computers have been mimicking human intelligence already for some decades using logic and if-then kind of rules, massive increases in computational power are now facilitating the creation of ‘deep learning’ machines i.e. algorithms that permit software to train […]

Online subscription-based platforms like Netflix that provide video on demand services are becoming increasingly popular among internet users in India who want to watch films sitting at home. The troublesome question is whether these platforms have a legal obligation to show only those films that are certified by the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) […]

For women, the internet hasn’t been a feature, a convenience or a tool; it’s been an agent of change. The global digital story cannot be complete without mentioning the impact it has had on reducing the gender gap and opening access and opportunity for women. Digital fluency has helped in closing the gender gap at […]

Likely to be among the options weighed by India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) in response to Pakistan’s alleged complicity in the Uri terrorist attack of September 18, 2016 is coercive cyber action. In theory, a cyber attack could be swift, minimise the risks of causalities, offer plausible deniability and could likely inflict serious damage on […]

More than three months have passed since the announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 November 2016, that high denomination notes were being demonetised. There has been much debate on whether the government has achieved its stated goals. We do not yet know the extent of any possible fiscal windfall as the Reserve Bank […]

On August 12, 2016 the Observer Research Foundation convened the first in a series of multistakeholder roundtables on encryption. This report is the outcome of the discussion of issues and proposal of solutions conducted at the roundtable. Being a complex, technical-legal question around access to data for law enforcement, encryption has long been a contested […]

India registered rapid economic growth over the past couple of years, with the GDP growing 7.6 percent in 2015-2016. While economic activity remains buoyant, however, the country still has a long way to go. The government must capitalise on the current economic momentum and use it to accelerate its reform agenda. One of the areas […]

Countering the militancy in Kashmir has become a highly challenging task due to the exploitation of new information and communication technology by insurgent groups. The battlefield is now a multidimensional one, encompassing both physical territory and cyberspace. The overall capabilities of insurgents have been enhanced by tools in cyberspace that are inexpensive, ever more sophisticated, […]

Abstract India is a sovereign nation; is it digitally sovereign, too? This paper examines the degree to which India is self-reliant in electronic hardware. After all, for a country to be self-reliant in the information age, it has to either attain indigenous capability in electronic manufacturing and services or be equipped to protect data and […]

Abstract Encrypting communications enhances privacy and the security of information services. This, in turn, incentivises innovation in the ICT sector and contributes significantly to the growth of the internet economy. India’s (now withdrawn) Draft National Encryption Policy was single-minded in its approach. It sought only to prescribe standards that would enable law enforcement agencies to access […]

Only eight years after India passed the Information Technology Act, did the term cybersecurity appear in a statute through a series of amendments to the Act approved by the Indian Parliament. In 2008, the amendments recognised the need for a focussed approach to cybersecurity and divided it into two segments: Critical and Non Critical. The […]

Debates around internet policy have taken centre stage in domestic politics and international relations alike. While national debates are shaped by local priorities, politics and contextual ambitions, cyber diplomacy differs from traditional diplomacy in two important respects. First, the stakeholders invested in internet policy include not just states and governments but industry and civil society […]

A specialist neurology clinic in Japan has this revealing signage with its website  address prominently proclaiming its function (photo courtesy: #DomainsInTheWild). What is significant about this? The top level domain (TLD) name (.clinic) is precise and resonates. A company that makes smart earplugs using cutting-edge research and high-end technology has the following website address: http://hush.technology. It […]

Introduction The world has been seeing a proliferation of bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) which appear to be systemically exporting standards of intellectual property (IP) protection that extend well beyond those prescribed by the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). These FTAs, typically negotiated in secret, include the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trade […]

This briefing document articulates a grand strategy for India to pursue the development of cyber and cyber-physical weapons, with a view to manage conflicts and the future balance of power in Asia. Definitions A cyber weapon is any code-based instrument that relies exclusively on digital networks, capable either of damaging their integrity or penetrating them […]

Abstract Critical information infrastructure (CII) is a pillar on which modern nations function. The revolution in information and communication technologies (ICT), apart from enhancing societal interactions and information diffusion, has improved the efficiency of organisations in all spheres of activity. These technologies, when developed, were guided by the need of open society for speed and […]

Abstract Technological advancement in artificial intelligence has created a situation where the deployment of Lethal Autonomous Weapons has become practically, if not legally, possible within a few years. As the international community struggles to arrive at a definition of ‘autonomous weapons’, the need to regulate their use has become paramount. Apart from the legal and […]

Described as stealthy, technically complex, tenacious, well-financed, and motivated by profit or strategic advantage, the spectrum of cybercrime defies every periphery. The cop-and-thief technological arms race remains as an enduring paradox of this digital terrain. Criminals across the globe, unfailingly strive to counteract innovations in cyber bulwarks for hardware and software.
The information infrastructure is increasingly under attack by cyber criminals. The number, cost, and sophistication of attacks are increasing at exponential rates. Most of these attacks are transnational by design, with victims spread throughout the world, necessitating multi-jurisdictional or trans-national investigations.

Acknowledgement of Funding Support and Research Assistance:
This working paper is part of the project titled “Evolving Policy for Spectrum Management through Impact Assessment of Wireless Technology and Broadband Connectivity in Rural India”. We would like to acknowledge the funding support provided by the Ford Foundation.
We would also like to acknowledge the research assistance provided by Ms Kavita Tatwadi, Ms Shivangi Mishra and Ms Sneha Jhala, Research Associates at IITCOE, and Mr Rishabh Dara, Doctoral Scholar at IIMA for this project.

Introduction Last year, Mukul Rohatgi, the Attorney General of India, called into question existing jurisprudence of the last 50 years on the constitutional validity of the right to privacy.1 Mohatgi was rebutting the arguments on privacy made against Aadhaar, the unique identity project initiated and implemented in the country without any legislative mandate.2 The question […]

Domain names are alphanumeric identifiers for websites, and they are exclusive in nature – no two website owners can have identical domain names.1 They have been defined as the alphanumeric text strings which follow the two slashes in a World Wide Web address.

The Internet companies, often referred to as Over-The-Top (OTT) firms have powered “sharing economies” around the world (Weber, 2014). Two Sided Markets (2SM) and associated Platforms (P) form the basis of operation of these firms. In a typical 2SMP

The creation of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was a watershed moment in the history of the Internet. This article focuses on the evolution of the forum in the last decade. It does not try to give a historical account of events,

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