Asia Tech Correspondent
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Rina Chandran is Tech Correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Prior to joining the foundation in 2016, Rina was a business journalist for more than a dozen years in India, Singapore and New York, with Reuters News, Bloomberg and the Financial Times. Rina has an MFA in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University and an MA in Business & Economics Reporting from New York University.
December 04, 2023
For a few weeks this year, villagers in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka read out dozens of sentences in their native Kannada language into an app as part of a project to build the country's first AI-based chatbot for Tuberculosis.
There are more than 40 million native Kannada speakers in India, and it is one of the country's 22 official languages and one of over 121 languages spoken by 10,000 people or more in the world's most populous nation.
November 27, 2023
Hours after Hamas attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, a WhatsApp message purporting to list the names of 17 Indian Hindus killed or wounded in the assault went viral in India, drawing horrified reactions. But the list was fake - none were hurt.
In the following weeks, hundreds of messages referencing the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group spread rapidly on Indian social media accounts, said fact-checkers and researchers documenting online disinformation about India's Muslim minority.
October 31, 2023
Hours after the Israel-Hamas conflict erupted on Oct. 7, Bharat Nayak, a fact-checker in the east Indian state of Jharkhand, noticed a surge of disinformation and hate speech directed at Muslims on his dashboard of WhatsApp messages.
The viral messages from hundreds of public WhatsApp groups in India contained graphic images and videos, including many from Syria and Afghanistan falsely labelled as being from Israel, with captions in Hindi that called Muslims evil.
October 12, 2023
"If this is not surveillance, what is?"
That was the question posed by one Indian journalist after police last week raided the news portal where he worked, seizing dozens of mobiles, laptops and hard disks, and interrogating reporters deemed hostile to the government.
October 04, 2023
Rapid advances in artificial intelligence are boosting online disinformation and enabling governments to increase censorship and surveillance in a growing threat to human rights, a U.S. non-profit said in a report published on Wednesday.
Global internet freedom declined for the 13th consecutive year, with China, Myanmar and Iran having the worst conditions of the 70 countries surveyed by the Freedom on the Net report, which highlighted the risks posed by easy access to generative AI technology.
October 03, 2023
In a video that first appeared on Facebook in June, an Aboriginal woman looks intently into the camera as she says Indigenous people will lose their rights over their tribal lands if the upcoming referendum in Australia is in favour of constitutionally recognising Indigenous people.
The more than eight-minute long video quickly went viral, racking up tens of thousands of views and shares across social media platforms even after its claims were debunked.
September 27, 2023
Deeply entrenched gender norms, biases and perceptions are affecting the ability of girls and young women to use the internet, influencing their online activity and hurting their access to information and work, a new report has found.
A survey of more than 10,000 users aged 14-21, and their parents, in over half a dozen countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and India, found that girls are constantly being monitored and told they are vulnerable and not competent online, "creating a crisis of confidence".
September 11, 2023
After communal clashes in Delhi's Jahangirpuri area last year, police said they used facial recognition technology to identify and arrest dozens of men, the second such instance after a more violent riot in the Indian capital in 2020.
In both cases, most of those charged were Muslim, leading human rights groups and tech experts to criticise India's use of the AI-based technology to target poor, minority and marginalised groups in Delhi and elsewhere in the country.
September 05, 2023
As women workers at India's Urban Company, an app-based firm providing beauty and home care services, prepared for a nationwide protest against its new rules and account deactivations, they exchanged hundreds of messages on WhatsApp on every small detail of the days-long action.
Thousands of Urban Company's female employees, backed by the All India Gig Workers' Union, took to the streets in July in about half a dozen Indian cities to protest unfair response and rating requirements that led to their accounts being blocked.
August 23, 2023
A stand-up comedian and a renowned musician in India are the unlikely faces of petitions challenging laws restricting online speech and expression in the country, a rare sign of dissent from public figures that digital rights groups have welcomed.
Kunal Kamra, who for nearly a decade has satirised politics and social norms in his routines, is fighting an amendment to the IT rules that allows the government to order social media platforms to take down any news that its fact-checking unit identifies as "fake or false or misleading".