To apply please fill in the application form by 11 PM EST July 27 2020

Recent protests on racial justice and police brutality have put a spotlight on systemic racism and inequality in the United States, Canada, and beyond. Just as anti-Black racism has shaped legal and political structures leading to continued discrimination, so too has it impacted the design, creation, and application of technologies. Specifically, surveillance technologies have become central tools for policing. When these tools are deployed in the criminal justice system, their use can further institutionalize discrimination and oppression.

The Citizen Lab is also aware that the information security community has long standing problems with diversity. These problems cannot be allowed to continue unchallenged and we stand firmly in solidarity with calls for structural changes to correct this course. In the absence of deeply integrated and meaningful representation across a spectrum of communities and experiences, we risk perpetuating systemic racism in our own work. We also miss out on creativity, talent, and opportunities to make progress on some of our world’s most pressing problems.

As an academic institution focused on the advancement of human rights within the technological sphere, we are committed to addressing systemic racism and inequality while also making our own space more representative of the communities we serve.

To better achieve these goals, we are pleased to announce a fellowship program on issues related to surveillance, digital security, and race.

To address the lack of diversity in the information security research community this fellowship is for applicants who identify as Black (including Black Africans and people of African heritage from the Caribbean, North America, and Latin America)

Application Deadline July 27 2020, 11 PM EST 

Program Details

  • Applicants must identify as Black to be eligible for the fellowship
  • The fellowship is based on a project you propose (see Project Proposals below).
  • 3 or 6 month project options
  • Support of $4,000 CAD distributed in monthly payments
    • 3 month total: $12,000 CAD
    • 6 month total: $24,000 CAD
  • There are no location, VISA, or work permit requirements
  • You will work remotely and will collaborate with a team of researchers at the Citizen Lab, University of Toronto
  • Applications are open to people from a variety of professional backgrounds and disciplines and can include students and junior to mid-career practitioners. While individuals with unique career paths are encouraged to apply, likely candidates have experience as software developers, systems administrators, information security researchers, computer science and engineering students and researchers, social science students and researchers (e.g., political science, sociology, etc), lawyers and law students, community organizers, journalists, and others. 

Project Proposals

Project Scope

The scope of the project is up to you and the program duration you choose. 

  • 3 months is well suited for existing projects or developing an idea. You can get a boost needed to complete or amplify an existing project or turn a new idea into a pilot study,  proof of concept, beta software release, etc. 
  • 6 months is for more involved projects that the 3 month duration would not be enough to realize. 

Project Topic Areas

Projects can have a technical and / or legal and policy focus. Potential topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Technical, legal, and / or policy Investigations of surveillance technologies (e.g., IMSI catchers, drones, facial recognition, CCTV, bodycams, etc.) in communities of colour and / or deployed during protests
  • Developing privacy enhancing technologies and tactics (e.g., encryption and anonymity tools, contextualizing these tools for racialized communities).

The fellowship could result in a variety of outputs from research reports, software, data visualizations, etc. 


To apply fill in the application form by July 27, 2020 11 PM EST

If you have any questions about the program please email 

About the Citizen Lab

The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto, focusing on research, development, and high-level strategic policy and legal engagement at the intersection of information and communication technologies, human rights, and global security.

We use a “mixed methods” approach to research combining practices from political science, law, computer science, and area studies. Our research includes: investigating digital espionage against civil society, documenting Internet filtering and other technologies and practices that impact freedom of expression online, analyzing privacy, security, and information controls of popular applications, and examining transparency and accountability mechanisms relevant to the relationship between corporations and state agencies regarding personal data and other surveillance activities.