Modinet - Center for
Media and Democracy
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
Internet Censorship, Surveillance and Resistance for Global Civic Networks
by Associate Professor Ronald J. Deibert
Department of Political Science, University of Toronto
Scholars across a wide range of disciplines have developed an increasing interest in the use and impact of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) as these technologies have progressively insinuated themselves into the fabric of everyday life. The technological nature of these new developments has created both opportunities and needs to deploy new tools to interrogate, collect and analyse relevant data. In spite of the fact that such tools are now readily available on the open-market and employed by network administrators and other users, social scientists have not taken advantage of these opportunities to their fullest. Without the use of technical means to undertake research, however, scholarship will yield only partial insights into the workings of ICTs and their spread and impact around the world. Researchers working at the Citizen Lab/the University of Toronto, under the direction of Ronald J. Deibert, have employed "hacker" tools to investigate computer networks in dozens of countries worldwide for content filtering that reveals extensive Internet censorship with the assistance of western technologies. Such widespread Internet censorship, in combination with increased electronic surveillance practices initiated post 9/11, are beginning to call into question some of the deeply held assumptions about the "open" nature of Internet communications.