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Citizen Lab staff and research in the news.

Citizen Lab in new Index on Censorship publication

Ron Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski contributed an article to Index on Censorship, Britain’s leading organisation promoting freedom of expression. The work describes the “‘next generation’ controls that are being exercised in cyberspace” such as just-in-time blocking and patriotic hacking.

Der Marsch der Geisterratten

Man nennt sie “trojanischen Pferde”. Tückische Angreifer, harmlos verpackt. Die Kriegslist mag so alt sein wie die alten Griechen, aber die Sache mit dem Holzpferd hat sich weiterentwickelt: Ein “trojanisches Pferd” greift am Bildschirm an. Und heute ist es nichts weiter als ein Stück Computercode, ein paar Zeilen in den Programmsprachen C++ oder Perl oder ASM, von Finsterlingen in einer harmlos erscheinenden Datei versteckt. In dem Bild mit den kleinen Hündchen etwa, das unvermutet im Eingangskorb der E-Mail auftaucht. In dem fröhlichen Anschreiben an den “Sehr verehrten Lottogewinner”. Wer es öffnet, lädt feindliche Heere auf seinen Rechner. Computer, durch die ein trojanisches Pferd geritten ist, können von Hackern in aller Welt ferngesteuert werden, können ausgeforscht, umprogrammiert und für finstere Verbrechen missbraucht werden.

In Google We Trust

Rafal Rohozinski speaks to Newsweek about the future of cyberspace and the recent cyber attacks on Google. He describes The Citizen Lab’s involvement in assisting the company based on their expertise with the GhostNet incident in March 2009. Questions are answered regarding the recent controversies with Google’s difficult business relationship with China, including the allegation that the attacks were “an inside job.”

Google, China, and the coming threat from cyberspace

The Citizen Lab’s Ron Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski contributed an opinion piece to The Christian Science Monitor regarding the current actors and trends in cyberwarfare. The researchers discuss the recent cyber attacks on Google, state-based cyberesipionage, and online criminal networks.

The fifth freedom

Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, is featured in an editorial piece from Canada’s The Globe and Mail regarding recent Open Net Initiative (http://opennet.net/) research which demonstrates that over 560 million people – or one third if Internet users – are censored around the world.

Can Google Beat China?

When Google made the surprising announcement on Tuesday that it would no longer censor search results in China, it was applauded by human rights advocates around the world. Since China isn’t likely to allow unfiltered results, which would bring up banned topics, Google would have to quit operating google.cn, its Chinese search engine.

Google, China and a wake-up call to protect the Net

Google’s announcement that it had been hit by cyberattacks from China and that it’s reconsidering its services in that country has smacked the world like a thunderclap: Why the drastic move? How will China respond? Will other companies with interests in China, such as Microsoft and Yahoo, follow suit? What does it mean for the future of cyberspace? Ron Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski write a piece in Friday’s Globe and Mail.

Citizen Lab research covered in Globe and Mail editorial

By refusing to accept China’s censorship for its Internet search engine, Google has sent a message to the authoritarian state and its 300 million Internet users. The hidden cost of doing business may be to sell out the values on which the business depends. It took courage for Google to refuse to pay that price and take on China so publicly, by threatening to pull out if limits on the search engine persist.