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Report from the IT and Empowerment conference, India

Numerous online initiatives around the world - in countries like Iceland,

Italy, Spain and Sweden -- are empowering citizens with access to basic

information about health, social amenities, and government policymaking.

On the flip side, e-surveillance by private and government agencies is also

increasing, Liang cautioned.

Legislation like the IT Act 2000 and the upcoming Convergence Bill are

geared more towards e-commerce activities, and not towards social movements

or citizens rights.

"The IT Act 2000 requires a huge bureaucracy to support features like

digital certificates and digital signatures," Liang added.

Other notable South Asian NGO resources online include BytesForAll.org,

Child Relief and You, CauseAnAffect.org, India Network Foundation, and


But in many NGOs, there are people resistant to the introduction and

adoption of IT. "NGOs should remain dedicated to the issue of empowerment

by multiple means, and not act as new middlemen who deny their

constituencies the potential benefits of IT," cautioned Munira Sen of


NGOs must work towards giving people an informed choice with respect to new

media, she concluded.