Becoming CYRILLA: A Quick Recap of the Past Year

Welcome! This is CYRILLA’s most recent update to the Digital Rights Law mailing list, but we wanted to share it with everyone following the project as well. If you are interested in the development of digital rights law, you can subscribe to the mailing list.

We’re excited to share with you some news on the significant progress we’ve made in the past year! We’ve now transformed our early Arab Digital Rights Datasets into the CYRILLA Collaborative, a global initiative to map and analyze legal frameworks for digitally networked spaces through open research methodologies, data models, taxonomies, and databases.

The CYRILLA Collaborative (CYRILLA stands for Cyberrights Research Initiative and Localized Legal Almanac) is a joint effort across a number of digital rights research and advocacy organizations. It seeks to make legislation and case law that affects human rights in digitally networked spaces more accessible to a wider range of actors, so they can more readily and confidently assess digital rights legal trends and their impacts. The core tools of the Collaborative are an online database (hosted on the HURIDOCS Uwazi platform) and suite of open tools, which can be adopted and adapted by any individual or organization grappling with questions involving the legal realization of digital rights:

  • A working definition of digital rights
  • A legal research methodology to help researchers locate laws that affect digital rights in existing and evolving legal frameworks.
  • An open data model on top of which developers will be able to build new applications, including those that pull and merge data from other similar datasets (in development).
  • A collaboratively produced taxonomy of digital rights topics (in development).
  • An open API

Get Involved!

CYRILLA is a community-supported, network-centric resource, for which we actively and enthusiastically seek broad participation and contribution. There are several ways you can get involved:

  1. Mapping the legal framework for digital rights in your country or across a specific issue area
  2. Alerting us to new digital rights law, case law, or related analysis in real time, by forwarding links to or tagging @cyrilla in a tweet
  3. Becoming a trusted contributor or peer reviewer of new law, case law, or analysis on
  4. Reviewing our developing digital rights issue taxonomy and/or data model
  5. Visualizing the data we have in new and interesting ways
  6. Developing new tools on top of our API
  7. Experimenting with our datasets using machine learning, natural language processing, or other techniques?

Whatever makes sense for your work, we want to explore how to get you involved! Email to get in touch, or follow us on Twitter at @cyrilla

The CYRILLA Collaborative used string and index cards to develop a draft of the data model at the partner meeting. February 2019.

Meanwhile, here are some highlights and updates from the past few months:

CYRILLA Partners’ Meeting

  • Over the course of three days, we set key thematic and semantic parameters for a digital rights legal taxonomy, mapped the foundation for the CYRILLA data model, created user stories for the design of the database’s user interface and taxonomy, and explored how to maximize collaborative synergies between partners.

Presentations, Panels and Workshops

  • In August 2018, incubating director and SMEX executive director Jessica Dheere presented CYRILLA at the Annenberg Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute, which coincided with the formal launch of the project. In November 2018, CYRILLA Collaborative partners met at the Internet Governance Forum in Paris, where SMEX’s session “Making National Laws Good for Internet Governance,” had been accepted into the program.
  • Finally, earlier this month, SMEX presented on the CYRILLA collaborative and database at the 2019 Internet Freedom Festival in Valencia, Spain, during which SMEX explained how to navigate the website through specific user stories, introduced the CYRILLA Collaborative, and explained how people could get involved (including joining this mailing list!).

In the Coming Months

  • The Association for Progressive Communications will begin to upload data from its Unshackling Expression report for South and Southeast Asia to the CYRILLA database;
  • CIPIT will expand and reformat its trademark database of Africa ICT policy to make it more interactive and searchable;
  • Derechos Digitales will follow suit and improve the data in its RedLatam database for the Latin America region;
  • Columbia Global Freedom of Expression will add an Arabic language database of seminal case law on free expression as well as cases from across the global south;
  • SMEX will continue to refine the CYRILLA database and add more caselaw in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Likewise, HURIDOCS will continue working to make the Uwazi platform more amenable to the collaborative’s data.

Again, if you’d like to collaborate with us, we want to hear from you! Email to get in touch.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *