Citizen Lab founder and director Ronald Deibert has been named to deliver the 2020 Massey Lecture series. Titled Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society, the five lectures will be delivered online, streamed on CBC Radio’s IDEAS, and published as a book by House of Anansi Press in September.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled by the invitation to deliver the 2020 Massey Lectures,” Deibert said. “I grew up reading (and listening to) the lectures. So many of them had a huge influence on me.”

Deibert joins a luminary list of past recipients, including Martin Luther King Jr., John Kenneth Galbraith, Ursula Franklin, George Grant, Noam Chomsky, Jane Jacobs, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Margaret Atwood.

The book and lecture series will explore how the expansion of society towards a system of surveillance capitalism had created and exacerbated social and political afflictions. The five lectures will investigate personal data surveillance, how social media platforms are insidiously designed to hijack our attention, how social media has created fertile ground for authoritarian practices to take root, the often overlooked negative environmental impacts of social media, and, finally, what can be done to address these maladies.