In the June 2012 issue of The Walrus, Citizen Lab is profiled in a piece entitled, “The New Cold War”. The Citizen Lab team is described as a group of “intrepid researchers — a far-flung network of advocacy-minded post-docs, human rights experts, and techies”.

Read a short excerpt below, and find the full piece here.

In that nervous time after 9/11, many Western governments imposed draconian surveillance laws allowing them to eavesdrop on cyber-communications among suspected terrorist groups. The legislation attracted muted criticism in some corners; in 2002, Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator, denounced the Bush administration’s Patriot Act as “unfair and unpatriotic.” But many techno-libertarians felt the scrutiny would prove irrelevant. They insisted the Internet had become too amorphous, too slippery, and too free to yield to the controlling impulses of the cyber-security complex in the United States and elsewhere.

As Ron Deibert pondered the implications of such measures —and the technologies required to enforce them — he felt far less sanguine about the Internet’s anarchic DNA. Deibert, director of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab and the Canada Centre for Global Security, knew that many despotic regimes also collect and restrict information. “I was a little skeptical about the assumption that authoritarian governments wouldn’t be able to control the technology,” he says. In his view, it was only a matter of time before repressive regimes would begin to assert their power in cyberspace.

He was absolutely right.