CyFy 2017


The Gospel of Cyber According to Jason Bourne

Plot details follow, but no spoilers ahead. 1995 was the year Johnny Mnemonic – a science fiction film adapted from William Gibson’s

Perceived Impact of Internet Use on Individuals in Rural India

Introduction The Internet has greatly influenced the way individuals socialise, create and exploit economic opportunities and knowledge resources. Previous studies

National Capacity Strengthening to Combat Cybercrime

Introduction Cybercrime poses a significant challenge to law enforcement agencies worldwide. While it is perhaps no longer a novelty, the

The Microsoft-Ireland Ruling is a game changer for data protection and #MLAT regimes

The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that internet giant Microsoft had no legal obligation to turn

New Approaches to Information Privacy – Revisiting the Purpose Limitation Principle

Introduction Last year, Mukul Rohatgi, the Attorney General of India, called into question existing jurisprudence of the last 50 years

Two-Sided Markets, Platforms and Policies

1. Introduction The Internet companies, often referred to as Over-The-Top (OTT) firms have powered “sharing economies” around the world (Weber,

The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute: Resolution Policy and Trademark Clearinghouse

Introduction Domain names are alphanumeric identifiers for websites, and they are exclusive in nature: no two website owners can have

Under the UN’s Shadow: Internet Governance Forum & the Urgent Need for Reforms

Abstract The creation of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in 2005 was a watershed moment in the history of the

The responsibility to inspect? Due diligence in cyberspace

The concept of due diligence is well-established in international law. As enshrined in the first decision of the International Court

Can India look to the EU on encryption?

Today’s dismissal by the Indian Supreme Court of a public interest litigation that sought to ban end-to-end encrypted messaging marks

End-to-end Encryption is Safe, For Now

The Supreme Court of India today heard and dismissed a PIL seeking to ban messaging services like Whatsapp and Telegram

The Great 21st Century Data Rush

In the digital age, data is currency and information is the energy that drives the 21st century economy. Today, 46.1

UN Reconstitutes its Top Cyber Body, This Time With India at the High Table

India will be a member of the 2016 UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) set up to identify “rules of

Policing cyber crimes: Need for National Cyber Crime Coordination Centre

Over the years, cyber threats as well as incidents of cyber crimes have grown exponentially. With a wanton disregard to

The terrorist CEO: How smart leaders manage terrorist groups

The conventional wisdom holds that while Islamic State is very mean, it’s also very successful. In fact, Islamic State is

Countering cyber terrorism: Public-private partnership need of the hour

Undoubtedly, the United Nations (UN) has truly not been engaged completely to serve as a platform for counter terrorism dialogue.

Mapping anything and everything?

The draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill released by the Ministry of Home Affairs earlier this month has been causing waves

Internet security: India's quest for data localisation

Cyber-statecraft is customary, but an impinging wilful act to ‘balkanise the internet’ will show the way to war, not peace.

Weaponised Robotics Set to Shape Great Power Rivalry as India Seeks Rules of the Game

Geneva: In 1991, during Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf War, a Patriot missile defence system installed by the US in

The splinternet is here

A group of researchers is building an ‘alternative root’ to the Internet that may end up democratising governance of critical

What the Moscow communique on internet governance says about India’s role in the global order

The joint communique from the recently concluded Russia–India–China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting in Moscow, as it relates to internet governance, reflects the

Remaking Make in India

As Make in India sets itself the formidable task of preparing and providing employment to the one million young people

Why do we post on social media?

Christy Lee: Why does your status say "single" on your Facebook page? Eduardo Saverin: What? CL: Why does your relationship

The digital megaphone: Now blaring anti Muslim populism in a social media-powered election

“Why do you think only white people support Trump?” That was in reaction to our earlier story — “Are there

E-commerce FDI: Why will it affect capital flow

Going against the grain, the very principles of free market economics are being trampled upon. The NDA government finally allowing

In Bangladesh, cyber frauds rising in financial sector

The theft of $101 million from the reserves of the Bangladesh Bank has proved the vulnerability of financial institutions to

Like it or not, #Trump bhaisaheb is social media jock for US millennials – and lessons here for our Desi boys

Saul Petersen is not one of Donald Trump’s 6 million followers on Twitter. Nor does he follow Hillary Clinton, Bernie

Apple vs. FBI: Asking the right questions

The US government’s repeated attempts to force Apple to make the contents of its handheld devices accessible for law enforcement

Need to beef up India’s cyber security policies and mechanisms

Take a stock of the past, analyse the present cliché and frame a strategy for future. In the recent years,

Human rights catch up with ICANN

Human rights are hardly new to Internet governance. They were referenced in the 2003 Geneva Declaration of the World Summit

Cyber (In)security in India

In the week leading up to the India’s 67th Republic Day on January 26, 2016, the National Investigation Agency apprehended

India Eyes Russia As It Makes First Move on Chessboard of Cyber Geopolitics

Months after the Indian government endorsed the “multistakeholder” model of internet governance – at the 53rd meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned

'Net socialism'?

By ruling against Facebook’s Free Basics type of innovation, which offers, hitherto undreamed of, free but limited access to data

The future of trans-Atlantic data transfer

Part two of the two-part series on Safe Harbor and “Privacy Shield” agreement struck by US-European Union negotiators on data

TRAI’s Instincts on Net Neutrality are Right, What’s Missing is the Nuance

India’s net neutrality and zero rating debate culminated last evening with the release of a regulation prohibiting differential pricing by the Telecom

Safe Harbor gives way to “Privacy Shield”

A two-part series on the Safe Harbor and the “Privacy Shield” agreement struck by US-European Union negotiators on data protection.

Three principles to guide net neutrality regulation

India has seen much debate on the issues of net neutrality and zero-rated platforms for more than a year now,

Error 451: Access to this website has been restricted by law

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there

Should TRAI ban differential pricing?

India is considered one of the world’s great mobile success stories. As a result of market reforms implemented by the

China’s internet diplomacy after the Wuzhen Summit

From December 16 to 18, 2015, the Second World Internet Conference (WIC) was held in the town of Wuzhen in

Unpacking Free Basics

In his monograph The history of computing in India (1955-2010), Prof. V. Rajaraman of the Indian Institute of Science notes

Global stakeholders help shape the future of internet governance

Over the past few decades, the Internet has transformed global communication and information. Its penetration into the lives of more

The Islamic State exploiting cyber-terrorism

It has been assumed that the currents of global politics consist of state-to-state relations. But such a clustered definition of

Six Lessons for India's Foreign Policy from Star Wars VII

We know now from his speech to cheering crowds at Central Park, New York, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sensed an awakening

India Debates Going Dark

The on-going debate on encryption and exceptional access for law enforcement agencies to encrypted communication—which recent attacks in Paris and

The tyranny of technology: Time to change old systems to align with new realities

In September this year, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed upon by world leaders in New York and this

Why Microsoft's 'Data Trustee' Model is a Potential Game-changer in the Privacy War

As the world eagerly awaits the ruling of a court in New York over a dispute involving data hosted on servers

Dotcom bubble, version 2.0

Is the digital economy about digitising the real economy, society and governance - or is it simply a valuation game?

ICANN Struggles to Retain its Power as the Internet’s Czar Faces a Coup

If you were Alice and the Internet was Wonderland, then the title of the Queen of Hearts would be reserved

Back to the drawing board

India’s draft encryption policy viewed data protection from the prism of law enforcement alone, ignoring the need to promote cybersecurity

Is protection of individual privacy more important than the protection of uncensored Internet?

In the age of 24-hour news cycles and continuous online updates, we are bombarded with information, much of which is

The new Great Game in Asia

Two trade agreements, led by the U.S. and China, are only superficially about trade. Given the strategic subtext, India would

The World Needs Time to Debate Plan to End US Control of the Internet

The internet is a vast network of interconnected computers identified through their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. On the internet, websites

Strong legislation needed to combat gender based violence on social media

"The vast majority of online adult users, presently, are on at least one social networking site. Out of these, six percent have

Wassenaar's web: a threat to technology transfer

When in July Wikileaks published official records and internal correspondence belonging to Hacking Team — an Italian company that sells

Another Blow to Autonomy of Telecom Regulator

The National Democratic Alliance’s decision to appoint a serving bureaucrat as the chairperson of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

Immoral Hacktivism Could Set Cyber Security Debate Back by Years

Last week, Avid Life Media, the Canadian firm which owns cheating website (slogan: ‘Life is Short. Have an Affair’)

The Deadly New Age War

In late 2006, the U.S Department of Defence detected a major breach in their computer systems leading them to believe

India Swings the Other Way at ICANN

“India recognizes that all stakeholders are key and multi-stakeholderism is perhaps the only way to keep the system integrated, growing

Internet Freedom: Expectations from the new Special Rapporteur on Privacy

The protection against unlawful interference with one’s privacy, home, correspondence and reputation has been recognized as a fundamental human right

The Shifting Digital Pivot: Time for Smart Multilateralism[1]

As a decentralised and multistakeholder global internet governance system becomes institutionalised, countries like India need to build strategies to successfully

Leave the Internet Alone

Payal Malik and Avirup Bose More than four decades ago, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) launched the concept of a New

India and the System behind the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is already revolutionising the global digital space. The Asia-Pacific region is set to become a

Is India Contemplating Net Neutrality Regulation Prematurely?

The seemingly inevitable net neutrality [NN] debate has finally caught up with India. Borne of the clash of interests between

Strive for a balance between access & price, without surrendering on network neutrality principles

The TRAI consultation paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services 2015, certainly revealed a few biases by asking what

Leave the Internet alone

The debate on Net neutrality is a misnomer of a social movement. Open Internet evangelicals—from economic polemics and consumer advocates

India Could Use Its Historic Free Speech Judgment to Reset Its Position on Internet Governance. Will It?

“The global can never become meaningful unless it is linked to the local,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s Information and

A time to lead

India is in a position to shape the cyberspace debate. It must start with the Hague conference. Today, Den Hague

The Budapest Convention and Cyber Cooperation

The potential ideal of cyberspace has always been a free-flowing, borderless utopia. In this vision, information and ideas travel freely

Securing Digital Terrain

The Sony hack is a textbook example of the fog of cyberwar. The whole incident is a telling manifestation of

Revival of the India-US ICT Working Group: Significance for India

The India-U.S. ICT Working Group (WG) met in Washington D.C. on January 14-15, 2015 after a long gap since its

Privacy in the New Digital Age

A few months ago, I was invited to sit on a jury looking at innovative uses of social media platforms

Blocking Online Porn: who should make Constitutional decisions about freedom of speech?

A ludicrously worded petition filed by Kamlesh Vaswani before the Supreme Court asks the government to ensure that all online

When is Personal Info Fair Game?

In late November, Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked by a group calling itself the ‘Guardians of Peace’. Within a few

Net Neutrality and the Law of Common Carriage

Net neutrality makes strange bedfellows. It links the truck operators that dominate India’s highways, such as those that carry vegetables

Drones are welcome, but where’s the policy framework?

The recent rape of a young woman in an Uber taxi in Delhi has triggered off a slew of institutional

Book Review – “The Electronic Silk Road: How the Web Binds the World Together in Commerce”

The argument for an electronic silk road, promoting free trade and by extension, harmonious global values and laws, is an

International Internet Governance

Any contemporary discussion on internet governance must necessarily respond to some key inquiries. The first must be on the role

Steps to Private Sector Cyberspace Security, Prosperity and Freedom

The US and India face significant cyber security threats that jeopardise critical infrastructure, the freedoms that democracies exercise online and

Legal Perspectives and the Problem of Jurisdiction

In the US there is a real estate saying: The value of a home is based on "location, location, location."

State Responsibility in the Cyber Commons: Deepening the India-US Relationship

Two countries which share so many common values-democracy, rule of law, freedom of expression, liberty, multiculturalism, freedom of religion-have not

Towards An International Treaty on Cyber Security: A Bilateral Dialogue Between India and The US

As worldwide concerns on cyber security grow, preventing war and regulating conflict in the cyber domain through a treaty have

Privacy Through Fragmentation?

Earlier this year, in response to a request by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Office of the UN

The Jennifer Lawrence Lesson for Digital Governance

The au naturel pictures of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton floating freely in cyberspace have serious national security implications for

Digital Strategies for Disaster Management: Lessons from Kashmir

In a passionate letter explaining his government's failure to coordinate relief efforts in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah

Lessons from BRICS: Developing an Indian Strategy on Global Internet Governance

In between headlines of a BRICS bank and other successes at Fortaleza, Brazil in July 2014, there was another aspect

After US Cyber Revelations, China Looks Inwards

China polices its internet through a variety of means. It blocks western websites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and now even

ICANN and GAC – A Review of Proposed Byelaw Changes

Background ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers tasked with the responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address

SURVEY: CYFY State of debate

Please click on the following link to participate in the survey 'CYFY State of Debate':        

Exploring net neutrality

The concept of net neutrality stipulates that all data on the Internet is to be treated equally by carriers. The

2014 Union Budget addresses IT needs

The presentation of the first budget of the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on

Reframing the global Internet ecosystem

As the conversations around internet governance become trapped in confrontational language - 'war' between sovereigntist and multistakeholder models - it

When it comes to internet governance, India is still engaging actively with the UN

A final draft resolution at the United Nations, passed in July 2014, has focused on the UN General Assembly's review

Is there anything in domain name?

Would it confuse you to go on a website called www.young.indians only to find out it belonged to the Reliance group

Paving a new road to a digital future

Transport minister Nitin Gadkari wants to build at least 30 kilometres of roads every day. It's an ambitious target. The

Indo-US cyber dialogue should include hardware security

Much like the Indo-U.S. strategic partnership, Indo-U.S. cyber engagement appears to have plateaued and could benefit from a tailored reset.

Beyond net neutrality

Good friends Vinton Serf and Bob Kahn invented the Internet Protocol together. But they are on the opposite sides of

PM, now it's time to introduce governance analytics

When prime minister Narendra Modi ribbed the bureaucracy's penchant for moving at a snail's pace at a recent book release

Rethinking Property in the Digital Era

In the seventeenth century, political philosopher James Harrington noted that the determining element of power in preindustrial England was the ownership of

Arguments for a Digital World

Any outcome statement that describes itself as non-binding and as one that "hopefully contributes to the evolution of the internet

India Fails to Throw Weight Behind NETmundial

India was among the few governments that did not sign the NETmundial outcome statement. But why does it seem that

Internet Governance Debates Gain Steam Within India

The conversation about internet governance has started making headlines in India over the past few months. Much of this can

Issues of Drones in Our Daily Lives

There is a tiny division in the massive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US. Its size doesn't denote its

Ensuring Privacy in a Regime of Surveillance

According to India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority, at the end of 2013 India had over 904 million telecom subscribers. This includes

Negotiating Cyber Rules

After man learnt to split the atom and put it to military use nearly seven decades ago, the relations among

As Internet Matures, India Faces a Choice on Governance

For many years, the Indian public in particular had very little interest in who controlled the internet and decisions taken

No Splinternet

Washington's announcement last weekend, that it would soon cede control over a core function of the internet, will intensify the

Digital Debates – The Problem

The Snowden affair and the vocal debate on surveillance and cyber espionage have redefined the mostly benign and attractive imagination

Internet Governance: The Key Questions for India

The Snowden affair and the vocal debate on surveillance and cyber espionage have redefined the mostly benign and attractive imagination

Global and National Security Imperatives

Cyberspace security challenges are generally considered the ‘emerging frontiers’ in the security discourse although the reality is that they already

A New Paradigm for Cyber Security

  The Internet is more a story of chips and hardware than it is about social media, search engines and

Internet Realpolitik

Issues of multilateral internet governance must be kept separate from cybersecurity and espionage. In his article ‘In strategic interest, and

The UN and Cyberspace Governance

Introduction Cyberspace and its various networks including the Internet have become central to several economies, businesses and militaries. According to

India-US Cyber Relations

Although India's entry into the field of cyber security has been relatively late and much of the internal institutional streamlining

Social Media Finally has its Campaign in the Sun

Much has been written about the influence of social media in the upcoming Indian national elections, expected to take place

Is it the Dawn of an Electronic Age in India?

  There is an element of tautological rhetoric in India's claim to be an Information Technology superpower all set to

Finding a Middle Way: The Cyber Debate in India

The Security Times, November 2013, Berlin, Germany   India is uniquely dependent on the cybersphere – it is the chosen

Online Anonymity is Dead! Long Live Online Anonymity!

Published in ORF's Cyber Monitor, Vol 1, Issue 4: At ORF-FICCI's "Cyfy2013" - The India Conference on Cybersecurity and

Internet Architecture Can't be Left Solely in Hands of Developed World

According to World Bank estimates, India and China together account for more than 700 million Internet users. Citizens in both

Rules for Cyberspace: The Evolution of American Policy *

* This is an updated and more extensive version of the article “Cyberspace Governance: The American Approach”, published by the ORF

India Challenges Cyber Governance and Security

Just days before the United Nation’s led Internet Governance Forum in Indonesia, India, held its own – and first of

New Governance Paradigm for Cyberspace

    It's easy to interpret Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's recent decision to call off her visit to the United

Privacy, Property and Sovereignty in the Cyber Agecyb

* This essay draws on two previously published op-ed articles, Samir Saran and Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, ‘No to Peeping Sams’, The Hindu,

Social Media Becomes the Scapegoat in India

The regulation of social media in India has been a subject of great controversy.   India’s National Integration Council met

Cyberspace Governance: The American Approach

  The international discourse on cyberspace governance has come a long way since Russia introduced the resolution at the United

Navigating E-Commerce: What Alibaba Can Teach Indian Businesses

Adam Smith once wrote that “to widen the  market and to narrow the competition is always the interest of the

India: Right to Information and Privacy ‘Two Sides of the Same Coin’

India's Right to Information act is being challenged by questions of privacy protection.   In September 2013, India’s President Pranab

Keep Cyberspace Free

It is a global commons that cannot be controlled by any government or corporation. History today stands on the cusp

India’s Media Watchdogs Discuss Need for Universal Regulation

The driving question for the Indian media has been if it is able and willing to regulate itself. In an

Cyber Space Governance: Moscow and Beijing's Efforts at the UN

As challenges in cyber space rapidly expand, the United Nations (UN) has made efforts over the last decade to arrive

Indian Court Orders Facebook, Google to Offer Plans for Protecting Children

The New Delhi High Court has given Facebook and Google one month to submit suggestions on how minors can be

US – China Cyber Talks

  Cyber security has taken a front seat in the U.S.-China relations, as seen in the last two high level

TRAI Considers Cross Media Regulation

As talk in India turns to media plurality and regulation, attention is turning to murky ownership structures and monopolistic practices.

‘No’ to Peeping Sams

The challenge of cybersecurity lies in protecting people without entering their private space or making ‘national security’ an excuse to

On the Ground: In New Delhi

(This is a chapter from the latest Index on Censorship magazine, published by Sage. Link below)    From moral policing

Can the State Avoid Monitoring Internet?

The report that the US National Security Agency is mining a huge amount of information from the Internet is not

Is India About to Get its Own PRISM?

Two surveillance entities are being set up to monitor Indian citizens’ communications.   The first new system is the Central

Indian Broadcasters Draw Bans for Stepping Over Obscenity Lines

Recent decisions by India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting have raised questions about the country’s approach to broadcasting regulation.  

The New Digital Age: Book Review for Mint

An arresting survey of how technology is changing people and their destinies.   From the offices of Google, we get

India’s Plan to Monitor Web Raises Concerns Over Privacy

The Indian government has been implementing a system to track and access calls, texts, and online activities. Mahima Kaul reports

Will Social Media be a Game Changer for Indian Politics?

Election fever has completely gripped the Indian media. Though general elections are scheduled for 2014, the news cycle regularly carries

The Big Issues for Indian Web Users

Some of India’s most prominant internet writers, researchers and policy analysts came together in Bangalore on 9 April to discuss

The New Cyber Axis

A Sino-US dialogue may alter the international discourse on cyber security.   Last week, US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon

India has an Internet Problem

In a discussion on withdrawing the controversial Section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000, member of parliament from Karnataka,

Will New Plans for a Digital Rural India Hit or Miss?

Since the internet was introduced  in 1995 in India’s major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkatta, it has steadly

China and Cyberspace

In the absence of a legal framework, Beijing is in overdrive to build its cyberspace capabilities—with military ramifications—as the world

Does the Internet Liberate or Constrain Us?

A recent survey suggests that most users think of the Internet as a force for good. But we need to

India and Social Media: When Will it be Safe for the Average Citizen to Critique the Powerful?

Last week, in the small town of Palghar, Maharastra, a 21-year-old  was arrested for a Facebook post questioning a citywide

Why are India’s Politicians Scared of Social Media?

A war over free expression between Indian citizens and their government is raging, with social media serving as the battlefield.

India Changes its Internet Governance Position – Backs Away From UN Proposal

Following outrage from India’s civil society and media, it appears the country’s government has backed away from its proposal to

India Discusses Proposals to Regulate the Internet

The Indian government’s proposal to the United Nations General Assembly, to form a 50-member United Nations Committee on Internet Related

India's Telecoms Revolution Must be Extended to All

Across the world, debates around freedom of expression have intensified, in part due to people’s increased participation because of the

It's Mainstream vs Social

Mainstream and social media share an increasingly uneasy relationship. The Abhishek Manu Singhvi CD scandal brought into focus the increasingly

Mission Impossible

Tom Cruise should have stayed for this. The American actor, who visited India recently, had a decade ago starred in

Rise of Microblogs in China– A Challenge and an Opportunity

“The more the number of people, the stronger we are.” - Mao Zedong In recent years microblogs have emerged as a

Virtual Alarm: Social Engineering Attacks Imperil Cyber Security

Cyber security threats have amplified significantly in the last decade, creating security concerns across the globe. Media reports during this period on

OBL's Death Puts Twitter on Overdrive

Osama Bin Laden may have tried to duck technology, but it ultimately caught up with him. A fairly large house

Digital Inclusion Is the Need of the Hour

Hot on the heels of a Budget that aims to bridge India's "digital divide", a story comes to mind. About

Egypt has Lessons for the World’s Internet Freedoms

(Written for the Sunday Guardian) Last week, the Egyptian government blocked social networking sites in the country to control the