The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Canada focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), human rights, and global security. Learn more »

In Focus

One App, Two Systems: How WeChat uses one censorship policy in China and another internationally

In this report we provide the first systematic study of keyword and website censorship on WeChat, the most popular chat app in China

It’s Parliamentary: KeyBoy and the targeting of the Tibetan Community

In this report we track a malware operation targeting members of the Tibetan Parliament that used known and patched exploits to deliver a custom backdoor known as KeyBoy. We analyze multiple versions of KeyBoy revealing a development cycle focused on avoiding basic antivirus detection.

Harmonized Histories? A year of fragmented censorship across Chinese live streaming applications

In this report, we reverse engineer three popular live streaming platforms (YY, Sina Show, and 9158) and find keyword lists used to censor chat messages. Tracking changes to the keyword lists over the past year gives an inside look into how these applications implement censorship

Research News

Cashless Society, Cached Data: Are Mobile Payment Systems Protecting Chinese Citizens’ Data?

This research series presents an in-depth examination of mobile payment systems, a rapidly evolving form of financial technology. We will provide an overview of how they are used in China–where they are taking off faster than anywhere else in the world–and what implications their security and data protection practices may have for millions of users, by presenting a case study on Alipay.

Bill Marczak co-authors “Social Engineering Attacks on Government Opponents”

Citizen Lab Senior Research Fellow Bill Marczak has co-authored a paper titled “Social Engineering Attacks on Government Opponents: Target Perspectives,” along with Vern Paxson of UC Berkeley.

Cyber Stewards in Global Information Society Watch 2016 publication

Several Cyber Stewards Network Partners have contributed to the 2016 Global Internet Society Watch on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights on the Internet, a publication with 46 country reports and other topics.

Tibetans blocked from Kalachakra at borders and on WeChat

From January 2 to 13 2017, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is holding a popular Tibetan Buddhist teaching called Kalachakra in Bodh Gaya, India. Increased restrictions from the government of China has barred Tibetans in Tibet from attending the teachings. This report documents blocking of Kalachakra-related keywords on WeChat revealing how restrictions on the ritual extend online.

More Research...

Lab News

CBC highlights Citizen Lab research on China

A CBC article exploring the Chinese government’s use of surveillance techniques, what has been called the “Great Firewall,” highlights Citizen Lab’s work in studying the state and private enterprises that support it. In an interview, Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert comments on the surveillance practices that the regime uses.

Jon Penney’s research in Harvard Magazine

Citizen Lab Research Fellow Jon Penney’s research on the chilling effect of the Snowden revelations was featured in the January-February 2017 edition of Harvard Magazine, in an article exploring challenges to privacy in the United States.

Citizen Lab research on Hacking Team in NY Times

A New York Times article describing the growth of email spyware as a political weapon, titled “Cyberwar for Sale,” cited Citizen Lab research into Hacking Team, an Italian team that creates spyware for sale to governments. In particular, the article cites Citizen Lab’s work in exposing the use of Hacking Team software on the devices of Moroccan, UAE, and Ethiopian activists.

Canada’s IDRC profiles Cyber Stewards Network

In an interview with Canada’s International Development Research Centre and Canadian Geographic, Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert explained the work of the Cyber Stewards Network (CSN), which aims to increases cybersecurity in the global south, and conducts advocacy campaigns surrounding the protection of human rights in the digital sphere.

More Lab News...

Get Connected




Events