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 course of our multi-year investigation, we found that Dark Basin likely conducted commercial espionage on behalf of their clients against opponents involved in high profile public events, criminal cases, financial transactions, news stories, and advocacy. This report highlights several clusters of targets. In future reports, we will provide more details about specific clusters of targets and Dark Basin’s activities.
New York Times journalist Ben Hubbard was targeted with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware via a June 2018 SMS message promising details about “Ben Hubbard and the story of the Saudi Royal Family.” The SMS contained a hyperlink to a website used by a Pegasus operator that we call KINGDOM. We have linked KINGDOM to Saudi Arabia. In 2018, KINGDOM also targeted Saudi dissidents including Omar Abdulaziz, Ghanem al-Masarir, and Yahya Assiri, as well as a staff member at Amnesty International.
Studies of Internet filtering, network interference, and other technologies and practices that impact freedom of expression online.
Examinations of transparency and accountability mechanisms relevant to the relationship between corporations and state agencies regarding personal data and other surveillance activities.
Using the AMI approach, partners have launched projects around the world, including in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and South Korea. These projects focused on making data access requests to telecommunications companies in each country, led by a local researcher and a team of volunteers. Every country has specific laws, regulations, and corporate mechanisms that present unique challenges and opportunities in accessing data, but the results of each provide insights into the larger ecosystem of data access.
The proposed rationales for weakening encryption would exchange marginal gains in limited investigative situations for significant loses with regards to Canadians’ abilities to exercise their rights and freedoms while simultaneously undermining cybersecurity, economic development, and foreign affairs. Minister Goodale should stop calling persons with well-considered policy positions on the importance of enabling the availability of strong encryption as supporters of child abusers, and get on with his job of trying to keep Canadians safe instead of endangering them with his irresponsible and dangerous encryption policy.
Research into privacy, security, and information controls of popular applications.
This report examines the encryption that protects meetings in the popular Zoom teleconference app. We find that Zoom has “rolled their own” encryption scheme, which has significant weaknesses. In addition, we identify potential areas of concern in Zoom’s infrastructure, including observing the transmission of meeting encryption keys to China.
Outputs related to the global community of practice that the Citizen Lab helps to cultivate through our Cyber Stewards Network, various fellowships, and events.
Cyber Steward Network partner Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC) will lead a public hearing at the 167 extraordinary period of session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Taking place on February 28 at 11:30 am EST, the hearing is titled “Digital Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Freedom of Expression in America”. The topics to be addressed in… Read more »
Cyber Stewards Network organization Sula Batsu Cooperativa has been honoured with a 2017 EQUALS in Tech Award. Presented at the Internet Governance Forum at the United Nations in December, Kemly Camacho– Sula Batsu Coordinator– accepted the award on behalf of the group. They were recognized in the Leadership category for their work to create women-led… Read more »
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.