India and other South-Asian countries have made leapfrogs in the technology sector to adapt to digital lifestyles. The Government of India’s push towards digital initiatives and the increasing ubiquity of digital tools and services renders it imperative to discuss our lives in the fast changing digital world. And to tackle the way the definition and context of being a digital citizen evolves in the future. In recent years, there has been a disturbing trend towards mass surveillance by government agencies, the invasion of privacy, and acts to curb free speech online. The government is creating sophisticated tools to enable the monitoring of the internet and social interactions online. The Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) organized the first Digital Citizen Summit on the 11th November 2016 to address these issues. The summit was organised with the intention of providing a platform to facilitate dialogue and share knowledge about common issues. The key objective of the summit was to generate actionable policy-based recommendations and lay down steps to promote human rights online. Additionally, the summit aspires to develop strategic partnerships between citizens and all other stakeholders. One of the major recommendations that came out of the summit was to initiate working groups engaged in issues relating to freedom of expression, access, and privacy.
Taking the initiative forward, DEF will be organizing the second Digital Citizen Summit in 2017 in New Delhi. We invite scholars, researchers, academics, civil society organisations, and government representatives to engage by presenting papers, participating in sessions, conducting workshops and demonstrations, and attending the summit. We hope to make this a truly multilateral summit by inviting all stakeholder groups to participate. This time, the objective is to find a solution to bridge the digital divide, finding ways to provide as many with the means to access information, and creating a platform for youth, women and social media enthusiasts to raise awareness about internet rights, digital literacy, and digital security.