Subhashish is the digital rights manager at Engage Media. He is a researcher and documentary filmmaker focused on open internet, digital rights, and Indigenous community media. He was a community builder with Wikimedia, Mozilla, and the Internet Society.
What can be done?
Access to critical information in native languages in inclusive and accessible mediums is one of the most urgent steps to take. Most people are too unaware of their civil liberties and rights to be able to make informed decisions. For instance, India has an extremely diverse and large population that speaks over 700 languages. But most government notifications are published in just two official languages at the federal level, and only a small number of official languages in provinces.
There also has to be a rights check for each new major technological deployment to avoid the massive exploitation of personal data as happened in the case of Aadhaar, India’s digital ID and Aarogya Setu, the COVID contact tracing app.
India’s ancient caste system made its way into big tech companies in the US, making work conditions difficult for members of lower castes, who fell victim to discrimination.