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Ron Deibert, University of Toronto

Tracking Digital Espionage at the Citizen Lab

Ron Deibert.A major area of the Citizen Lab’s work over the last 15 years has been research into targeted digital espionage against civil society. I will outline the major features of the mercenary surveillance industry that is at the heart of targeted digital espionage today, and then describe some of our case studies, including those that have precipitated worldwide attention: surveillance around Jamal Khashoggi leading to his execution, and the domestic surveillance scandals in Spain, Mexico, Greece, El Salvador, and elsewhere. I will describe our responsible disclosure process and the actions taken in response by big tech platforms, such as Apple, WhatsApp and Microsoft. Finally, I will point out some of the legal and regulatory developments that are happening to help mitigate the harms we and others have identified.

Dr. Ron Deibert, University of Toronto, is professor of political science and director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. His multi-award-winning research and scholarship has had wide-ranging impacts on media, policy, and scholarly debates at the intersection of information and communication technologies, human rights, and global security.