On July 28-31, 2014, we convened the second annual Citizen Lab Summer Institute on Monitoring Internet Openness and Rights.
Studying how we can keep the Internet free and open and to protect our privacy and security online is an inherently multidisciplinary exercise. However, currently there is no established discipline that incorporates both technical and contextual research approaches because expertise is scattered across a range of disparate fields. The goal of the Citizen Lab Summer Institute is to address this gap and form a multidisciplinary community around the study of information controls. Information controls can be broadly understood as techniques, practices, regulations or policies that strongly influence the availability of electronic information for social, political, ethical, or economic ends.
The Citizen Lab Summer Institute included panels and presentations on information controls from a wide variety of disciplines and perspectives and two days of intensive participant-led breakout groups and discussions in which participants shared latest methods, challenges, and opportunities for collaboration. The panels discussed issues such as Network Measurement and Information Controls; Mobile Security and Privacy; and Corporate and Public Transparency. Participants were then divided into three tracks: Censorship, Network Interference, Circumvention; Surveillance and Defenses; and Transparency.
The Citizen Lab Summer Institute is sponsored by the University of Toronto’s Connaught Fund, an internal program that provides U of T researchers with funding to further their work, and the Open Technology Fund, which was created in early 2012 to promote global Internet freedom and combat online censorship.