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A pan-India initiative against the invasion of personal rights and freedoms
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The Digital Defenders Network (“DDN”) is envisioned as a pan-Indian network of lawyers committed to protecting digital rights. We call them “Digital Defenders”.

We believe that truly significant reform in the digital sphere can be achieved by hastening collaboration and building strong professional networks of lawyers throughout India. Justice need not suffer owing to demographic or logistical problems.
What is the Digital Defenders Network?
At its core, the Digital Defenders Network operates as a national community of lawyers who are committed to the defense of digital rights. The first cohort of Digital Defenders will comprise of twenty-five (25) lawyers selected from different states of the country.
Why Become a Digital Defender?
Training activities
Pro-bono legal services
Networking opportunities
  • 25 lawyers shall be selected from across India as Digital Defenders to participate in a comprehensive 5-week training program (more information below).
  • Participate in Digital Security Trainings (DSTs).
  • Participate in other panels hosted by SFLC.in.
  • DDN Helpline for lawyers/citizens to notify the violation of digital rights.
  • Assistance in filing of digital rights’ cases/ complaints before competent courts and authorities.
  • Guidance in drafting and filing of digital rights’ complaints/ petitions before the courts and authorities.
  • Opportunity to connect and collaborate with pre-eminent lawyers, academics, and policy experts in technology, privacy, software, informational technology, etc.
  • Hosting of physical events in pursuance of easing of Government-imposed restrictions.
  • Posting guest-editorials on the official website of SFLC.in.
How do the Digital Defenders benefit from the Digital Defenders Network?
Membership to the DDN will allow Digital Defenders several opportunities to lead landmark digital rights’ litigation, across the country. In addition, the Digital Defenders will be provided:
Roles and Responsibilities of the Digital Defenders
Membership to the DDN exemplifies a commitment to safeguarding human rights on the Internet. Digital Defenders are expected to perform certain functions and duties to justify membership to the Digital Defenders Network.

Digital Defenders are expected to undertake a minimum of 1 (one) litigation, based on digital rights, completely pro-bono. Digital Defenders will also act as local counsels for litigations that SFLC.in seeks to agitate before the District and High Courts of respective states.

Kindly peruse the Code of Conduct applicable to the Digital Defenders Network.
Selection Criteria
Training Program

SFLC.in shall select the 25 (twenty-five) lawyers on the basis of several factors, including their Resume and responses made on the DDN application form. Membership to the DDN is based solely on the prerogative of SFLC.in. At present, SFLC.in shall select lawyers with a minimum of 3 years’ experience for being part of the DDN.

More details can be found in the FAQs below.

The membership to the DDN shall be for at least 1 year, i.e., lawyers are expected to collaborate and associate with SFLC.in for at least 1 year from conclusion of the training program. Digital Defenders will be encouraged to continue participation in the Network on a long-term basis, and help expand the Network. This will also enable the Digital Defenders to participate in updated/relevant training sessions which take place in the future. We firmly believe in the power of numbers.

The training program shall consist of 8 modules covered across 5 weeks of training sessions scheduled on each Saturday & Sunday for the chosen Digital Defenders. To comprehensively cover the training material, a minimum of two [2] hours shall be devoted to each module. In toto, 20 hours shall be devoted to the training program.

The DDN curriculum has been devised keeping in mind pertinent issues and concerns prevailing on the Internet. The aim is to impart legal knowledge complemented with practical technological training to effectively defend one’s digital rights in the online sphere. Sessions shall include practical problems and emphasize interaction and discussion amongst the participants.

The DDN curriculum comprises pertinent subjects relating to data privacy, information technology, surveillance, and cyber-crimes. In addition to training on legal aspects, technological modules have also been subsumed within the curriculum to enhance the technical know-how for lawyers. The training sessions shall be interactive, knowledge-driven, and application-based with comprehensible material.

We have carefully curated the modules forming part of the Curriculum spanning 5 weeks, which would cover the following topics (not exhaustive):

  • The case of Intermediary Liability.
  • Understanding Cyber Crimes & Offences.
  • Dealing with Search & Seizures.
  • Role of electronic evidence.
  • Free speech offences and online harassment.
  • Data Privacy and Surveillance concerns in India.

The time to ensure the sanctity of digital freedoms is now! Equip yourself with the technical and legal knowledge and defend the digital freedoms of every citizen. Fill the form provided below to apply to the Digital Defenders Network. In case of any clarification or information, please contact us at digitaldefenders@sflc.in.
Apply Now

We will be selecting the next cohort of the Digital Defenders Network soon!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Digital Defenders Network?

The Digital Defenders Network, or DDN, is an online network of lawyers, academicians, and policy experts committed to defending digital rights online. Recourse against violations of digital rights would be taken through legal redressal, and activism.

What is the eligibility criteria to be a Digital Defender?

SFLC.in employs an inclusive selection criterion to identify the ideal candidates for the Digital Defenders Network. We are looking for lawyers with minimum litigation experience of 3 years, who are collaborative, earnest and passionate about safeguarding digital rights of the common people.

How are the Digital Defenders chosen?

The Digital Defenders shall be chosen according to the internal selection process instituted by SFLC.in. The candidates’ resumes and responses on the DDN application form shall be considered for the purposes of selection.

What is the objective of the Digital Defenders Network?

The Digital Defenders Network is envisioned as a nationwide community of lawyers who would act as local points of contact throughout the country for leading digital rights’ litigation. The objective of the DDN is to defend digital freedoms through timely and effective legal redressal.

How does membership to the Digital Defenders Network benefit members?

The Digital Defenders will have the opportunity to network with a wide net of lawyers, researchers, policy experts, and academicians collaborating with SFLC.in. They shall be provided an exclusive opportunity to trailblaze/ lead landmark digital rights litigation before various courts/authorities in the country. The Digital Defenders would also be encouraged to partake in various panels and events hosted by SFLC.in. A dedicated online form, “Virtual Digital Helpline” shall be established by SFLC.in, which will serve as the online portal for notifying any digital rights’ violations by the Digital Defenders, and pursuing legal remedies for the same.

What expectations does SFLC.in have from the Digital Defenders?

Being a part of the DDN entails certain expectations which the Digital Defenders are expected to meet. Each Digital Defender shall be expected to perform 1 [one] pro-bono case on any dispute related to digital rights, as being a part of the Digital Defenders Network. Membership allows for interaction and collaboration with lawyers from different states so as to increase collaboration.

What kind of cases can the Digital Defenders take up?

The Digital Defenders will be expected to lead litigations on important digital rights’ issues which affect citizens. As this can take several forms, the Digital Defenders must have the requisite knowledge to undertake such litigations successfully and defend digital freedoms to the best of their ability. Legal challenges on Internet shutdowns, privacy rights, cyber offences, free speech offences, surveillance, intermediary liability, etc., are some of the cases that Digital Defenders shall be expected to lead.

What is the minimum tenure of joining the Digital Defenders Network?

While being encouraged to join on a long-term basis, Digital Defenders shall be expected to join the DDN for at least 1 year. Membership to the Digital Defenders Network can be withdrawn or canceled by SFLC.in on observance of any conduct violating the Code of Conduct.

How will Digital Defenders go about assisting people with their digital rights’ issues?

SFLC.in shall be providing comprehensive training sessions to the Digital Defenders! The topics which shall be covered include pertinent aspects of cyber-crimes, search & seizures, electronic evidence, surveillance, digital security trainings, etc.

What is the training program?

The training program shall consist of 8 modules covered across 5 weeks of training sessions scheduled on weekends i.e., Saturday & Sunday. Each session shall be for two [2] hours. In all, a total of 20 hours of study material will be covered through the program.

Will any fees be charged for membership to the Digital Defenders Network?

No fees shall be charged from the Digital Defenders for membership to the DDN. This is a pro-bono initiative by SFLC.in.

Will any study material be provided to the Digital Defender?

Online study materials shall be provided to the Digital Defenders on their registered email address. The study materials shall be comprehensive and relevant to recent developments.

Will a certification of completion be provided at the end of the training session?

Yes, a certificate of completion will be awarded to each Digital Defender on successful completion of the training program.