Tracking the Global Spread and Harms of Digital Espionage

When and Where

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm


Professor Ronald Deibert, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and Department of Political Science, University of Toronto


Abstract: Political struggles in and through the global Internet and related technologies are entering into a particularly dangerous phase for openness, security, and human rights. A growing number of governments and private companies have turned to "offensive" operations, with means ranging from sophisticated and expensive to home-grown and cheap. A large and largely unregulated market for commercial surveillance technology is finding willing clientele among the world's least accountable regimes. Powerful spyware tools are used to infiltrate civil society networks, targeting the devices of journalists, human rights defenders, minority movements, and political opposition, often with lethal consequences. Drawing from the last decade of research of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, I will provide an overview of these disturbing trends and discuss some pathways to repairing and restoring the Internet as a sphere that supports, rather than diminishes, human rights.