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.
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.
The May 2019 WhatsApp Incident As reported in May 2019, WhatsApp identified and shortly thereafter fixed a vulnerability that allowed attackers to inject commercial spyware on to phones simply by ringing the number of a target’s device. Today Oct 29th, WhatsApp is publicly attributing the attack to NSO Group, an Israeli spyware developer that also… Read more »
Studies of Internet filtering, network interference, and other technologies and practices that impact freedom of expression online.
This document provides a high-level introduction to deep packet inspection, Internet filtering, and targeted intrusion dual-use technologies with the aim of familizaring the reader with their key technical features, the surrounding international human rights law framework, and some of the leading research to date on their deployment.
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.
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 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.