Pandemic Privacy
A Preliminary Analysis of Collection Technologies, Data Collection Laws, and Legislative Reform during COVID-19

In this report, we undertake a preliminary comparative analysis of how different information technologies were mobilized in response to COVID-19 to collect data, the extent to which Canadian laws impeded the response to COVID-19, and the potential consequences of reforming data protection or privacy laws to enable more expansive data collection, use, or disclosure of personal information in future health emergencies.

Featured Publications

No Access: LGBTIQ Website Censorship in Six Countries

The Citizen Lab, OutRight Action International, and the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) collaborated to conduct research on LGBTIQ website censorship and its impact on LGBTIQ communities. The results indicate the technical and legal obstacles many users have in accessing LGBTIQ news, health, and human rights websites.

From Pearl to Pegasus: Bahraini Government Hacks Activists with NSO Group Zero-Click iPhone Exploits

We identified nine Bahraini activists whose iPhones were successfully hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware between June 2020 and February 2021. The hacked activists included three members of Waad (a secular Bahraini political society), three members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, two exiled Bahraini dissidents, and one member of Al Wefaq (a Shiite Bahraini political society).

Lifting the lid off the Internet.

The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto, focusing on research and development at the intersection of information and communication technologies, human rights, and global security. Learn more.

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Features & News

من اللؤلؤة إلى بيغاسوس: الحكومة البحرينية تخترق نشطاء عبر استغلال ثغرة “Zero-Click” من “NSO Group”

لقد حددنا تسعة نشطاء بحرينيين تم اختراق أجهزتهم الآيفون باستخدام برنامج تجسس “Pegasus” من NSO Group في الفترة ما بين يونيو 2020 و فبراير 2021. بعض النشطاء قد تم اختراقهم باستغلال ثغرتين zero-click في iMessage, كنا قد سمينا الثغرتين التي تم اكتشافها في 2020 ب KISMET، أما الثغرة المستخدمة في 2021 فنسميها FORCEDENTRY

Independent Peer Review of Amnesty International’s Forensic Methods for Identifying Pegasus Spyware

Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International requested that the Citizen Lab undertake an independent peer review of a sample of their forensic evidence and their general forensic methodology. We were provided with iTunes backups of several devices and a separate methodology brief, and independently validated that Amnesty International’s forensic methodology correctly identified infections with NSO’s Pegasus spyware.

Featured Video

Democracy Now: NSO Group Spies Secretly Seized Control of Apple Devices by Exploiting Flaw in Code

Ron Deibert joined Democracy Now to discuss how Citizen Lab research of a zero-click zero-day exploit—used by NSO Group—led Apple to issue a patch to over 1.65 billion products.