Donoho Colloquium: Spyware, Big Brother & How To Sleep At Night

Ron Deibert, (OOnt, PhD, University of British Columbia) is Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.

The Spring 2017 Donoho Colloquium

  • 5:00 PM, Monday, May 1, 2017
  • Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall, Dartmouth

Citizen Lab has written regularly about the digital crisis facing civil society, exposing threats against targets ranging from Tibetans to Ethiopian journalists, from the Syrian opposition to UAE activists, and beyond. While digital media have empowered civil society to learn, educate, organize, and make themselves heard by those in power, the vulnerabilities inherent in our technologies have also exposed civil society to serious risks. The ability of threat actors (particularly those with links to states) to know everything about you and your networks, to even predict your future actions, and to respond accordingly, is unparalleled. Not even physical borders keep one safe anymore. Drawing from recent reports and research of the Citizen Lab, This presentation will outline how Citizen Lab undertakes the research it has done on targeted attacks on civil society, what those attacks look like, and what might be done to mitigate them.  

Read more about this presentation.

Biographical note

Ron Deibert, (OOnt, PhD, University of British Columbia) is Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary research and development laboratory working at the intersection of the digital technologies, global security, and human rights. He was a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative (2003-2014) and Information Warfare Monitor (2003-2012) projects. Deibert was one of the founders and (former) VP of global policy and outreach for Psiphon, one of the world’s leading digital censorship circumvention services.

Deibert has published numerous articles, chapters, and books on issues related technology, media, and world politics. He was one of the authors of the landmark Tracking Ghostnet and the Shadows in the Cloud reports, which documented two separate major global cyber espionage networks, and the Great Cannon report, which documented a new offensive “cyber weapon” co-located with China’s Great Firewall. He is a co-editor of three major volumes with MIT Press: Access Denied: The practice and policy of Internet Filtering (2008), Access Controlled: The shaping of power, rights, and rule in cyberspace (2010), and Access Contested: Security, Identity, and Resistance in Asian Cyberspace(2011). He is the author of Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia: Communications in World Order Transformation (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), and Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace (Signal/McClelland & Stewart/Random House, 2013).

Deibert presently serves on the editorial boards of the journals International Political SociologySecurity DialogueExplorations in Media EcologyReview of Policy ResearchJournal of Global Security Studies, and Astropolitics.  He is on the advisory boards of Access NowPrivacy International, and PEN Canada, the technical advisory groups of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the Board of Directors of Open Effect, and the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy.

Deibert was awarded the University of Toronto Outstanding Teaching Award (2002), the Northrop Frye Distinguished Teaching and Research Award (2002), and the Carolyn Tuohy Award for Public Policy (2010). He was a Ford Foundation research scholar of Information and communication technologies (2002-2004). He was named among Esquire Magazine’s “Best and Brightest List of 2007, and in 2010 he was listed among SC Magazine’s top “IT Security Luminaries.”  In 2013, he was appointed to the Order of Ontario and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, for being “among the first to recognize and take measures to mitigate growing threats to communications rights, openness and security worldwide.”