The Division of Engineering Science and The Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs has one position available for an Engineering Science student completing Year 2 or Year 3.

The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary research laboratory that investigates the intersection of human rights, security, and information technology. Based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, we use a mixed methods approach that combines techniques from network measurement, information security, and the social sciences for researching and documenting practices and technologies that impact the openness and security of digital communications and pose threats to human rights.

Students from Engineering Science have been placed with the Citizen Lab for a summer position since 2007. The Engineering Science E4TW fellow will have the opportunity to contribute to ongoing research projects within the general themes described below. The specific summer project will be determined based on the student’s interests and strengths and current research priorities at the Citizen Lab. The Division of Engineering Science will provide $3000 in funding to the student that will be matched by The Citizen Lab for a total of $6000.

Project areas

Privacy and security of mobile apps and social media

This area works to uncover censorship and surveillance in popular apps and social media platforms (e.g, chat apps, microblogs, etc), and evaluate the privacy and security of popular consumer apps (e.g., browsers, fitness trackers, etc). We are particularly interested in widely used apps and platforms that are understudied by security researchers. The goal of this work is to help users make more informed decision about the technologies they use.

Measuring Internet filtering and network interference

This area includes developing new tools and methods for network measurement to document Internet filtering systems, and correlate network interference with political events (e.g., elections, protests, conflicts, etc).

Targeted malware attacks against civil society

This area focuses on investigating politically motivated targeted malware campaigns against civil society groups. Specifically, reverse engineering malware, mapping malware infrastructure, tracking malware development, and linking contextual information to technical data.

Corporate and public transparency

Projects in this area include developing software platforms for empowering citizens to exercise their rights to data protection and access requests, and analyzing the systems and policies practices of telecommunication and Internet companies.

The research reports below are recent examples of projects done with E4TW Fellows:

Citizen Lab, Iraq Information Controls Update: Analyzing Internet Filtering and Mobile Apps, July 24 2014,

Citizen Lab, Asia Chats: LINE and KakaoTalk Disruptions in China, July 10, 2014,

Who we are looking for

Candidates should have some computer programming proficiency, experience documenting designs and implementations, and a general understanding of TCP/IP and related protocols. Knowledge and experience in any of the following skills and areas is relevant to many of our projects and highly desirable, but not necessarily required: Python, SQL, web technologies (e.g. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Django or any other web framework), mobile development (Android or iOS), course work or interest in networking or operating systems. We encourage students with general interests in information security, technology policy, and global affairs to apply. The fellowship is a learning opportunity and will expose the student to a range of research methods and skills for technical projects grounded in current political issues. Eligible students will have a mature attitude and ability to work well as part of a team.

How to Apply

If you’re interested in this position, please submit a CV/Resume along with a cover letter by email to Scott Sleeth, Engineering Science Curriculum Officer, at by Monday, March 6th, 2017 at 9:00am, explaining why you’d like to work with the Citizen Lab this summer and highlighting any relevant professional experience, course work, and personal projects and interests that relate to the research areas and skill sets described.

Visit the E4TW website for more information.