In the 2020 CBC Massey Lectures, bestselling author and renowned technology and security expert Ronald J. Deibert exposes the disturbing influence and impact of the internet on politics, the economy, the environment, and humanity.
Digital technologies have given rise to a new machine-based civilization that is increasingly linked to a growing number of social and political maladies. Accountability is weak and insecurity is endemic, creating disturbing opportunities for exploitation.
Drawing from the cutting-edge research of the Citizen Lab, the world-renowned digital security research group which he founded and directs, Ronald J. Deibert exposes the impacts of this communications ecosystem on civil society. He tracks a mostly unregulated surveillance industry, innovations in technologies of remote control, superpower policing practices, dark PR firms, and highly profitable hack-for-hire services feeding off rivers of poorly secured personal data. Deibert also unearths how dependence on social media and its expanding universe of consumer electronics creates immense pressure on the natural environment.?In order to combat authoritarian practices, environmental degradation, and rampant electronic consumerism, he urges restraints on tech platforms and governments to reclaim the internet for civil society.
RONALD J. DEIBERT is professor of Political Science and director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. The Citizen Lab undertakes interdisciplinary research at the intersection of global security, information and communications technologies, and human rights. The research outputs of the Citizen Lab are routinely covered in global media, including more than two dozen reports that received exclusive front-page coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other global media over the last decade. Deibert is the author of Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet,as well as numerous books, chapters, articles, and reports on internet censorship, surveillance, and cybersecurity.
PRAISE FOR RONALD J. DEIBERT AND RESET:
“Tech is at a crossroads between oppression and liberation, and Ronald J. Deibert is our leading expert on the forces steering it in either direction. Reset is a road map revealing the secret alleys and byways that brought us to this juncture, and the ways ahead that we could navigate to a better future.” — Cory Doctorow, bestselling author of Radicalized and Walkaway
“Ronald J. Deibert is a rare hybrid who combines an advanced understanding of computer technology with a rich background in political science. He is also already a legend in security and tech circles because of his work as the founder and director of Citizen Lab . . . In Reset, Deibert outlines with tremendous economy and verve the major threats that face us as a consequence of our rapidly growing dependency on internet technologies, AI, robotics, and, further down the line, machine-to-machine learning and quantum computing. The clarity of his writing enables Deibert to categorize each aspect of the threat on a profound level that will nonetheless be accessible to any reader . . . Covid-19 has made it clear that our globalized world faces fundamental challenges to the survival of our species, along with most others. If we listen to Ron Deibert, we are still in position to head off another of those threats.” — Misha Glenny, bestselling author of McMafia and DarkMarket
PRAISE FOR RONALD J. DEIBERT AND BLACK CODE:
“Black Code is terrifying. It effortlessly chronicles threats ranging from individual privacy to national security . . . [highlighting] the shadowy, lucrative war online, behind closed doors and in the halls of power, which threatens to control, censor, and spy on us, or worse.” — National Post
“Gripping and absolutely terrifying . . . Black Code is a manifesto for the twenty-first-century form of network stewardship, a sense of shared responsibility toward our vital electronic water supply. It is a timely rallying cry, and sorely needed.” — Cory Doctorow, Globe and Mail
“Ron Deibert is an excellent guide to the fascinating and disturbing world of cyber security.” — Joseph S. Nye Jr., distinguished service professor, Harvard University, and author of The Future of Power
“For more than a decade, Ron Deibert’s Citizen Lab has been at the forefront of decoding actions both crude and subtle to disrupt internet access and usage. A path from the Dalai Lama’s hacked laptop to a worldwide espionage ring is but one tale of many of the Lab’s singular exploits — now gathered here in this compelling volume that chronicles the ongoing wars amidst the internet’s rise.” — Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Law and professor of Computer Science, Harvard University, and author of The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It
“At a time when autocrats, criminal gangs, and others are trying to control and pervert the use of cyberspace, Ron Deibert’s Black Code rings like a fire bell in the night, warning us that the price of a new global commons of shared knowledge and connectivity is vigilance in defense of free expression and the rule of law. Anyone who cares about the future of democracy needs to read this timely and most important book.” — Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy
“Black Code stimulated my thinking about the potential for making the internet a much safer place.” — Vint Cerf, internet pioneer and “Father of the Internet”