Citizen Lab Founder and Director, Ronald Deibert, has been honoured with a 2017 Global Thinker Award by Foreign Policy Magazine. This year marks the ninth annual celebration of 100 leaders who are selected based on their innovation, impact, and ingenuity. Deibert is joined this year by French President Emmanuel Macron, whistle blower and network security expert Chelsea Manning, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, among other notable recipients.
“It’s an honour to be recognized by Foreign Policy Magazine — an honour which I share with my Citizen Lab colleagues,” Deibert says. “I’m exceptionally fortunate to work with a dedicated and extraordinarily talented team at Citizen Lab to undertake research on digital security and human rights issues.”
Deibert is recognized for documenting the full extent of digital espionage and lifting the lid off the Internet. As the magazine reports, “By closely studying code and computer infrastructure, Citizen Lab researchers turn the tools of surveillance back on the watchers.”
Breaking from tradition, this year Foreign Policy is honouring the award winners as Global re-Thinkers: individuals from around the world who disrupt the status quo and change lives.
“These amazing people are not only rethinking our world, but also reshaping it,” writes Foreign Policy editor-in-chief Jonathan Tepperman. “They defined 2017, and we’re thrilled by the chance to recognize their accomplishments.”
Past honourees include: Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Justin Trudeau, Angela Merkel, Salman Rushdie, Banksy, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Steven Pinker, and Martha Nussbaum.
In recognition of his own work or that of the Citizen Lab, Deibert has previously been awarded: the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer award (2015), the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity (2014), the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada Award from the Canadian Library Association (2014), the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Vox Libera Award (2010), and the Northrop Frye Distinguished Teaching and Research Award (2003). In 2013, he was appointed to the Order of Ontario and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, for being “among the first to recognize and take measures to mitigate growing threats to communications rights, openness and security worldwide.”