31 Jul 2020 Building a digital rights movement in India
WACC is supporting a project in India that will help civil society sectors understand and address policy issues around digital rights, which have been greatly affected during the Covid-19 pandemic. The use by many governments of monitoring tools in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has raised concerns about their impact on privacy, freedom of expression, and democracy in general.
The project will be implemented by IT for Change, an NGO based in Bengaluru, and Just Net Coalition, a global network of civil society organizations and individuals advocating for “an open, free, just and equitable Internet.” It will focus on the rights of peoples and communities to own their data and digital intelligence about them, “which are key to shaping and reclaiming their rights in a digital society,” said Lorenzo Vargas, WACC program manager for Communication for Social Change. These ideas are embodied in the Digital Justice Manifesto presented by the Just Net Coalition during an event at the Internet Governance Forum last November in Berlin.
“The post-Covid-19 context, which seems to be accelerating the concentration of digital power, will be addressed as well,” said Vargas.
The project hopes to develop advocacy strategies in four key areas – social media, e-commerce, digital payments, and data commons.
“All these are of immense immediate policy relevance, especially in developing countries,” said Vargas.
“The project is expected to have strong policy impacts and to enhance the capacity of civil society organizations to participate in policy processes from a digital justice and communication rights perspective,” he added.
Parminder Jeet Singh, executive director of IT for Change, said the project “is an important start to make sure that digital policies globally are adequately informed by grassroots perspectives from all the sectors that such polices impact, and that such policies are infused with considerations of equity and social justice.”