The impact of digital technologies in the labor market and the shifting nature of work in the platform paradigm has emerged as the central peg of focus for our research and advocacy. This year, we have built on the solid foundation of past work, to continue tracking the evolution of this dynamic in multiple ways.
As trade becomes the determining factor that shapes the digital economy, our work has focused on the implications of emerging digital trade deals for the right to development. We have joined trade activists to denounce stances espoused by the big powers — cross-border data flow without any controls, restrictions on regulation of transnational digital companies, and intensification of IP rights in digital service value chains
— conditions that will only end up reinforcing Big Tech’s power.
This year, we expanded our work on Big Tech, exploring through writing, research, and advocacy the policy directions necessary to rein in the monopolistic tendencies in the platform economy, and reclaim the potential of data for equitable development.
The architecture of the digital is often coopted into the private, where narratives of efficiency and seamless convenience are offered upfront, while concerns of privacy and data extraction are pushed to the background. Our work has advocated using data and its associated ecosystem as a knowledge commons through a measured approach that deters flagrant exploitation by the private sector, especially deep-pocketed Big Tech companies.
Our research and advocacy is focused on constantly interrogating new forms of erosion of the public and the commodification of the private in the digital paradigm and the implications for gender justice. We have continued to strive for a new political grammar of feminist digital justice, building on Southern feminist traditions.
Since 2005, our Prakriye field center has been engaged in leveraging new digital technologies for socio-political empowerment of women and adolescent girls from marginalized communities in three sub-districts of rural Mysuru. Two strategies are at the heart of the Prakriye center’s efforts: a network of seven community information centers that are the nodes of a women-centered information and knowledge ecosystem at the grassroots; and a para-counselling service comprising 37 gender help desks providing a first port of call for emergency responses to domestic violence.
The long shadow of the pandemic continues to expose and accentuate the stratification in the Indian school system, while giving impetus to an unchecked, unaccountable digitalization in education that robs the sector of its public nature. Our work continues to respond to these challenges.
This year, we worked with a committed focus to track and shape emerging debates on digitalization in health, food systems, and agriculture, advocating for community-centered data rights in these sectors. We have also underscored equitable distribution of data value as a key governance consideration in sectoral policies.