The first strand of my research is on data industries and infrastructures. As part of this, I study imperial datafication, exploring histories of datafication in colonial infrastructure projects, associated industries and labour in India. This strand then moves into exploring labour in the global value supply chains of the contemporary data industries and data work in them, to understand how coloniality gets compounded.
The second strand of my research explores macro and everyday trysts with data governance. On the theoretical front, I have written about critical data governance as a possible way to bridge critical and southern approaches to data. Empirically, I have been studying India’s approach to data governance since the conversations started after the Supreme Court of India’s privacy judgement and policy exercises on personal and non-personal data in 2017. In thinking about specific cases of practice, I am currently a Co-Investigator on an Industry SEED Project (2023) looking at volunteer-driven data governance of community platforms in Sri Lanka, with colleagues at Action Lab, Monash University, Australia. Further, I am currently developing my research on myelopathy and health data governance.
My first large-scale research project was for my PhD (2019), where I conceptualised and conducted a policy ethnography across Sri Lanka, Nepal, India and Bangladesh, drawing on over a 100 interviews and informal conversations. This work is now available as Community Radio Policies in South Asia: A Deliberative Policy Ecology Approach (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). The book conceptualises the theoretical approach of Deliberative Policy Ecology Approach to the study of media policy and presents an expansive critical policy ethnography conducted in South Asia. This theoretical approach has since been developed further, and has received good reviews from scholars on media governance. I am the recipient of the Best Paper Award from the Communication Policy and Technology Section at IAMCR 2018 for my paper, Airing Imperium: A Historiography of Radio Governance in South Asia.
I have since been involved in a few research projects. These include conceptualising and writing about Hated Speech and the Costs of Freedom in India (2022), which is now part of Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression curriculum. Further, as part of a multi-country team, I researched for and coauthored Gender-sensitive AI Policy in Southeast Asia (2023). From 2021 to 2023, I was a Country Expert (India) for the multi-country European Research Council-funded Bottom-up Initiatives and Anti-Corruption Technologies (BIT-ACT) project housed at the University of Bologna, Italy.
In terms of extending my academic work to the public and engaging with diverse stakeholders, I was part of a national consultation with the Government of India in 2018. I have also contributed opinion and think pieces to newspapers and institutional websites on education and media technology policies, and data governance and democracy.