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.
Citizen Lab Research
Citizen Lab 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.
Investigations into the prevalence and impact of digital espionage operations against civil society groups.
Over the last month, two Citizen Lab staff members were contacted by two separate individuals in what appears to be an attempt to compromise our work. Each of the contacts purported to show an interest in the staff members’ personal, non-Citizen Lab related interests, and presented themselves as serious and professional.
Studies of Internet filtering, network interference, and other technologies and practices that impact freedom of expression online.
In this work, we study how Tencent implements image filtering on WeChat. We found that Tencent implements realtime, automatic censorship of chat images on WeChat based on what text is in an image and based on an image’s visual similarity to those on a blacklist. Tencent facilitates this realtime filtering by maintaining a hash index of MD5 hashes of sensitive image files.
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.
Examinations of transparency and accountability mechanisms relevant to the relationship between corporations and state agencies regarding personal data and other surveillance activities.
Research into privacy, security, and information controls of popular 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.
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.
Outputs related to the global community of practice that the Citizen Lab helps to cultivate through our Cyber Stewards Network, various fellowships, and events.Read More from Global Research Network
While the Citizen Lab is primarily focused on high-level academic research, we also produce accessible tools and educational resources to help everyone better navigate their online lives. Below are some of the latest projects that are aimed at making everyone safer online.