Ron Deibert

Globe

Articles

The Dangerous Effects of Unregulated Commercial Spyware

In recent days, United Nations Special Rapporteurs have released two revelatory reports that demonstrate the dangerous effects of unchecked technology in the hands of autocrats: one relating to the proliferation and abuse of surveillance software and one that investigates the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Both reports highlight the danger of unaccountable and unregulated surveillance technology sold to countries with egregious human rights records.

Installing Fear: A Canadian Legal and Policy Analysis of Using, Developing, and Selling Smartphone Spyware and Stalkerware Applications

This report provides an in-depth legal and policy analysis of technology-facilitated intimate partner surveillance (IPS) under Canadian law. Stalkerware apps are designed to facilitate remote surveillance of an individual’s mobile device use with the surveillance often being covert or advertised as such. Despite increasing recognition of the prevalence of technology-enabled intimate partner abuse and harassment, the legality of the creation, sale, and use of consumer-level spyware apps has not yet been closely considered by Canadian courts, legislators, or regulators.

The Predator in Your Pocket: A Multidisciplinary Assessment of the Stalkerware Application Industry

This report was collaboratively written by researchers from computer science, political science, criminology, law, and journalism studies. As befits their expertise, the report is divided into several parts, with each focusing on specific aspects of the consumer spyware ecosystem, which includes: technical elements associated stalkerware applications, stalkerware companies’ marketing activities and public policies, and these companies’ compliance with Canadian federal commercial privacy legislation.

Burned After Reading: Endless Mayfly’s Ephemeral Disinformation Campaign

Endless Mayfly is an Iran-aligned network of inauthentic websites and online personas used to spread false and divisive information primarily targeting Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel. Using this network as an illustration, this report highlights the challenges of investigating and addressing disinformation from research and policy perspectives.

Continued Correspondence with Novalpina on NSO Acquisition

Without Novalpina Capital—or the parties that you hired to conduct due diligence—concluding that Citizen Lab reporting is flawed and providing a substantiated basis to prove such a finding, it remains the case that you are purchasing a company implicated in serious human rights abuses and have decided to simply ignore this fact. It also remains the case that, without meaningful engagement with our research, your due diligence process will appear to many as nothing more than a superficial effort to check boxes and appease stakeholders concerned by NSO Group.

Open Letter to Jefferies Financial Group and Institutional Lending Firms Regarding NSO Group

The purpose of this letter is to alert Jefferies Financial Group and lending firms interested in the syndicated loan to the Citizen Lab’s structured, evidence-based research into the abuse of NSO Group spyware, as well as investigations and research conducted by organizations such as Amnesty International, security companies, and the security team at Google Inc.

Open Letter to Novalpina Capital on Involvement in the Purchase of NSO Group

We appreciate your commitment—as stated in your letter of February 15, 2019—to “helping NSO Group become more transparent about its business.” As a first step, we ask that Novalpina Capital provide answers to the following questions regarding Novalpina Capital and NSO Group’s human rights due diligence and corporate social responsibility practices.