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Strengthening cyber policy research centres in the Global South (Asia)

Networking technologies are increasingly at the heart of economic, social, and political activities. But while digital tools improve people’s ability to innovate, organize, document, and share, they are also used for surveillance, tracking, censorship, and repression. Policies and regulations are key both in amplifying technology’s role in economic and political empowerment and in ensuring its harms are restricted. New standards, skills, and applications are needed to enable digitally-driven development.

Leaders and policymakers, particularly in the Global South, generally lack the evidence and objective advice to develop effective regulation in the digital space. However, they are increasingly confronted with cyber threats (such as crime and terrorism), and they need to ensure that unstable or insecure digital environments do not undermine innovative potential. They must also balance these priorities with obligations to protect privacy and free expression.

There are few organizations in the Global South that have a specific research orientation on cyber policy issues, and there is a shortage of experts able to provide rigorous, evidence-based advice on cyber policy. While there are civil society organizations engaged in valuable advocacy, they often have little evidence to inform that advocacy or to conduct their research.

This project will support the efforts of the Centre for Internet and Society in India to strengthen research and policy capacity on critical cyber policy issues. It will facilitate the Centre’s work to develop a robust cyber policy research agenda that addresses all facets of cyber policy, including human rights, security, innovation, and the interplay of these issues locally, regionally, and globally. It will build institutional capacity and sustainability to produce credible, legitimate, and locally-relevant research that convenes various perspectives on critical cyber policy issues. It will also help strengthen the Centre’s abilities to inform and influence policy development.

This will enable policy leaders to respond to the rapidly changing digital environment using objective, high quality research. It will also allow communities to benefit from the opportunities that digital innovation offers, including improved health, governance, education, and economic prospects, while shielding them as much as possible from the harmful aspects of the digital revolution.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
24 months
IDRC Officer
Ruhiya Seward
Total Funding
CA$ 800,000.00
Far East Asia
South Asia
Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Sri Lanka
Project Leader
Helani Galpaya
Institution Country
Project Leader
Sunil Abraham
[President] for and on behalf of Centre For Internet And Society