Digital Empowerment Foundation

Keep Us Online > Digial Empowerment Foundation


Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) is a New Delhi based social sector organisation that has worked extensively to empower marginalised communities to come online. It’s work has enabled more than one million people from weaker sections of society to gain access to the internet. It has supported 5000 entities such as schools, libraries, heritage sites, micro-enterprises leverage the power the digital world has to offer.

DEF has assisted the #KeepUsOnline campaign by authoring a research paper titled ‘Anatomy of Virtual Curfews: Human Rights v. National Security’. The paper analyses the international and national legal basis for network disruptions. It indicates that such actions are in contravention to human rights resolutions. Indian laws whilst allowing such actions are inadequate and/or are ambiguous enough to give governments enough room to misuse this power. It indicates that network shutdowns end up doing more harm than good, in terms of not allowing people access to emergency services, cutting of access for students who use online material to study, cause huge economic loss to banks, traders and e-commerce websites.

The paper recommends changes that can be brought about to ensure that Internet shutdowns are not disproportionate and arbitrary. Some of their recommendations are broader engagement with public and making the government agencies more transparent and accountable for these shutdowns. In addition to this research paper, DEF has also made a handy QR code based map of shutdowns in Indian states that links to news reports and incidents of network disruptions.


Have research we could feature on #KeepUsOnline? Write to us at policy@internetfreedom.in