The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is pleased to announce that New Delhi-based Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) has joined GNI as a member of the civil society constituency.   

GNI Executive Director Judith Lichtenberg said, “With one of world’s largest, growing digital user bases, ongoing legal and policy discussions in India pose significant implications for global digital rights. We are thrilled to add DEF’s demonstrated policy expertise and on-the-ground presence at this critical juncture for free expression and privacy online.”  

Founded in 2002, DEF works to connect marginalized communities in India, empowering them with digital literacy, digital tools, and last mile connectivity. DEF links these practices to policy advocacy through research, network building, and capacity development on Internet governance and Internet-related human rights issues. 

DEF General Manager for Research & Advocacy Ritu Srivastava said, “We believe that the Internet is a public good capable of providing livelihood to the poor and bringing millions into prosperity. For this, the participatory and open nature of the Internet needs to be preserved, and we believe that collaborative, multi-stakeholder dialogue is the only way to ensure that all actors uphold their commitments to human rights online.”

From work on network disruptions, to privacy and surveillance, to broader human rights violations in the Indian digital environment, DEF’s research and advocacy is a tremendous addition to GNI’s policy and learning efforts. Learn more about DEF on their website, and for more about GNI’s membership, visit the homepage.