Tag Archives: Surveillance

Every Rose Has Its Thorn: Censorship and Surveillance on Social Video Platforms in China

In this paper presented at USENIX FOCI 2015 we use reverse engineering to provide a view into how keyword censorship operates on four popular social video platforms in China: YY, 9158, Sina Show, and GuaGua. We also find keyword surveillance capabilities on YY. Our findings show inconsistencies in the implementation of censorship and the keyword lists used to trigger censorship events between the platforms we analyzed. We reveal a range of targeted content including criticism of the government and collective action. These results provide evidence that there is no monolithic set of rules that govern how information controls are implemented in China.

Information Controls Research at FOCI 2015

At the  2015 USENIX Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI) workshop, held in Washington DC on August 10, Citizen Lab and collaborators present three papers.

The papers include: investigation of censorship and surveillance on China’s most popular social video platforms, an updated analysis of China’s Great Canon, and examination of securing cookie-based identifiers from passive surveillance.

Pakistan to ban BlackBerry encrypted messaging

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), a government agency responsible for the establishment and operation of telecommunications in the country, ordered the shutdown of BlackBerry’s encrypted communication services.

Hacking Team leak highlights Citizen Lab research

Hacking Team, a Milan-based developer of “offensive security” technology that markets its products to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world, was significantly compromised when hackers leaked nearly 400 GB of its internal data, including emails, client files, and financial documents. The leak was announced via Hacking Team’s own compromised Twitter account, and the content made publicly available. Among other things, the leaked documents confirmed our findings that the company sells its software to several governments with repressive human rights records, such as Ethiopia, Sudan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and more.

Ron Deibert at the National Endowment for Democracy

Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert spoke at the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), joining a panel discussion on “The Global Campaign Against Democratic Norms.”

Citizen Lab and Cyber Stewards Network at 2015 APrIGF workshops

July 1-3 – Macau

Pakistan’s DAWN newspaper on FinFisher and cyber crime

In an article entitled “Fishing in troubled waters,” Pakistan’s English newspaper DAWN highlighted issues surrounding surveillance and cyber crime in the country.

Jon Penney on Canada’s Bill C-51

In an article published in the Institute for Research on Public Policy’s (IRPP) “Policy Options” blog, Research Fellow Jon Penney observed that the debate on Canada’s Bill C-51 Anti-Terror law has been “contentious and ranging, yet few commentators have drawn on experience or expert voices elsewhere to understand its implications.”

Jason Q. Ng on Apple accommodating Chinese demands

According to state media organization People’s Daily, Apple agreed to Chinese government “security checks.” Citizen Lab Research Fellow Jason Q. Ng expressed concern that this practice may set a trend of compliance to such demands amongst other firms.

Chris Parsons on CSE targeting Canadians

In an article contributed to the National Post, Citizen Lab Postdoctoral Fellow Christopher Parsons explains that the activities of the Communications Security Establishment constitute spying on Canadians. Parsons summarizes several findings regarding the mandate and practices of the organization leaked over the last year and a half, many of which strongly undermine CSE’s claim that Canadians are not “targeted” by domestic security agencies.