While this is not, per se, a subject directly for this list, I feel that as
many Wikimedians as possible ought to appreciate the subtle establishment
of hegemony here.

ICANN is an independent body, true, but it has been seen in the past to act
in favour of US interests, in case of significant conflict of interest. For
good reason, many people opine that continuing effort needs to be made to
maintain the nature of the Web (the whole Net, actually, but most people
really don't perceive anything beyond the Web) and not allow governments to
acquire control. Worryingly, the interests of governments and private
sector corporations are also being seen as aligned, although it is very
clear that corporate control is in the hands of a very small number of
individuals (ref an analysis published in New Scientist last year, 155
individuals effectively control the 48,000 top global corporations).

This was recently quite naked, with an ITU meeting in Dubai where an effort
was made to hand over control of ICANN to a governing body drawn from the
diplomatic corps of 55 countries.

This move was evidently authored, behind the scenes, by India, hence my
raising it here.

Now that ICANN has made its move to establish a framework for the
other-than-English Web, we see that the Indian government is playing God
(DeITy, the official acronym of the department of electronics) in terms of
controlling the transitional phase. Some listmembers will recall this same
department, a dozen years ago, did nothing to cut access costs until
presented with NIXI, the switch that is supposed to keep local traffic
local, which it simply annexed, without even a show of hands, or a flag
march, the way that traditional takeovers of territory used to be
accomplished. Incidentally, this switch still does precious little to keep
local traffic local, and is instead used primarily for surveillance of
Indian IP users, and to facilitate website blocking. It has a second job,
the registrar for tld .in, and here too, there are concerns about its
functioning (e.g., the domain iipm.in is apparently registered with a false
declaration of physical address, but no action has been taken against the
owner. Indeed, some 60 odd urls were blocked at this same outfit's behest a
few weeks back, despite the fact that the accompanying court order was very
likely mala fide – one of the urls was a page of the UGC website, for

As Wikimedians, we face some struggle to ensure our rights are not
constrained, especially the right to freedom of expression and its obverse,
freedom of information.

While it is great to know that some effort will be made to ensure Indian
content creators will now have a straightforward way to bring people to
Indian-language pages, I question how much effort has been made and is
being made on the ground. For instance, to what extent has the team
building the Android uploader been supported, and what is the roadmap to an
Android local language content creation app? I'm not saying nothing has
been done, I'm just saying I don't know, and I would like to hear from our
local players.

Also, I somehow sense a certain amount of arrogance in the remark that Web
creators in Chennai don't know how to use Tamil typing on vanilla
keyboards. Are we to conclude that Tamil websites can only be created in
Chennai? Nobody else anywhere else can use Tamil? That probably wasn't the
intention, but that is how it comes across.

Fool On The Hill
"The cameras were all around. We've got you taped; you're in the play.
Here's your I.D. (Ideal for identifying one and all.)
Invest your life in the memory bank; ours the interest and we thank you."
Jethro Tull: A Passion Play (1973)
On Mar 9, 2013 11:17 AM, "Tejaswini Niranjana" <t...@cscs.res.in> wrote:

> http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/soon-the-web-will-have-bharat-in-local-languages/article4485576.ece?ref=sliderNews
> --
> Tejaswini Niranjana, PhD
> Lead Researcher - Higher Education Innovation and Research Applications
> Senior Fellow - Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS)
> Visiting Professor - Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)
> Visiting Faculty - Centre for Contemporary Studies, Indian Institute
> of Science (CCS-IISc)
> t: 91-80-26730476, 26730967, 26730268
> f: 91-80-26730722
> http://heira.in
> www.cscs.res.in
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