ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Transition to Big Data in India

Lives of Data: Essays on Computational Cultures from India edited by Sandeep Mertia and foreword by Ravi Sundaram, Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2020; pp 160, price not indicated.

Professionalising Election Campaigns

The 2014 and 2019 general elections in India were referred to as “WhatsApp elections,” which had IT cells, bots, and political consultants strategically using data mining tools to build resonant narratives to tell voters what they wanted to hear. By the 2014 national election, the industry was reported to be worth $40–$47 million. Between 2014 and 2018, industry specialists approximated that the number of firms in this market had at least doubled. These unprecedented tools of technological campaigning come with new forms of identifying, targeting, and defining issues of political importance. This article suggests that such developments are turning electoral politics into a thriving business being data-driven, technologically oriented, and having far-reaching implications for democratic processes.

China’s New Rules for Algorithms

A set of draft rules released by the Cyberspace Administration of China, to regulate algorithm-empowered recommendation activities on the internet, are congruent with the demands made by civil societies worldwide and more substantive than the actions proposed or taken by the governments in western liberal democracies.

Translating Public Protests into the Digital Realm

Notes from an Ambedkarite cultural troupe about taking the protest site online.

Troubles with Cash Food Subsidy

A pilot project of cash food subsidy to replace the public distribution system in Nagri block of Ranchi district in Jharkhand is analysed to highlight the problems experienced by Jharkhand in implementation of cash food subsidy through the direct benefit transfer system in the PDS. Further, the limitations of cash transfer as a means to replace the PDS are highlighted as also the infrastructural and institutional constraints to impose digitalisation in rural Indian conditions.

Banning Child Pornography

The government needs to find a mechanism to ban child pornography, and not pornography as a whole, without appearing to be a censoring filter for content on the internet.
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