As one of India’s premier legal institutions, the National Law University Delhi has emphasized the importance of research and engagement from its inception. It recognises that such rigour in research and engagement must go beyond the classroom and intertwine with real-world experiences. This led to the establishment of eight research centres, each engaged in cutting-edge research in important areas of the law.
The Centre for Communication Governance (CCG) is one such centre at NLU Delhi, and it stands at the intersection of law and technology. Technological developments have penetrated all areas of human life, but at the same time, we are largely unaware of the consequences and legal ramifications of our use of technology. Moreover, despite global and national effort, we find that the law lags behind ever-evolving technology, and lies outside the competence of lay citizens. As such, there is a need for institutions that educate and engage with people, as well as government and policy institutions – at the global and national level – in order to ensure that adequate safeguards are legally built into the use of technology.
It is this vacuum that CCG fills, with its in-depth academic research and robust engagement on several current issues at the crossroads of law and technology. At the global level, CCG is known for its research in several areas, such as the Aadhaar, privacy, hate speech, internet governance, cybersecurity and more. From the Freedom on the Net reports, which evaluate the openness and freedom enjoyed by citizens and entities on the internet, to engagement with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of speech and expression, CCG’s research has gone far in informing the civil liberties debate. CCG is part of rigorous and respected global academic research networks, ensuring that its work is always cutting-edge and relevant. Its continued engagement with the Law Commission of India and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology ensures that its research – such as the recent report on online hate speech – is prominent in national policy-making. At the same time, CCG recognizes its responsibilities to students; it has devised and taught open curricula on several issues, including national security, press freedoms, contempt of court, defamation, obscenity, media regulation and more, in order that students may be introduced to the increasingly important law-technology interface.
Despite the small size of its team, CCG has raised the standard of research and engagement – and continues to do so – in issues such as Aadhaar, privacy, hate speech, internet governance, cybersecurity and more. Its broad focus on these (and more) important issues allows it to have insight into the intrinsically linked nature of several issues, as a result of which CCG’s research has enjoyed a unique place in international technology-related legal research. I wish the Centre the very best in its future endeavours.
Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh