The Citizen Lab wins the 2013 CLA Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada Award

The Canadian Library Association is pleased to announce that The Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, has been chosen as winner of the 2013 CLA Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada Award for its commitment to research, advocacy, and activism in national and global abuses of cyber technology and for its courage in defending intellectual freedom against human rights violations. The Citizen Lab’s vision calls for a strong Canadian role in protecting and preserving open communication at home and around the world.

The incredible speed at which information and communication technologies have advanced over the past two decades has far outpaced awareness and understanding by citizens of the increasingly elaborate mechanisms of cyber infringement on their personal safety and rights. Countries deficient in the traditions and core values of human rights enjoyed by liberal democracies have discovered that technology is now a powerful avenue for civilian monitoring and oppression. In the name of state security or political and social orthodoxies, or both, cyber surveillance and filtering technologies have swiftly become pervasive and sinister, yet remain clandestine.
The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary centre located in the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. Under the leadership of Professor Ron Deibert, who founded The Citizen Lab in 2001 and remains its sole director, The Citizen Lab works at the intersection of digital media, global security, and human rights. It is a pioneer in advanced research and development to monitor, analyze, and influence the exercise of political power and policy in cyberspace, not only in Canada and other countries but among international organizations as well. Its funding, grant, partner, and cooperating institutions are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute; the International Development Research Centre; the Ford Foundation; the Social Science Research Council Program on Information Technology and Social Transformations; Eurasian i‐Policy Network; Privaterra; Govcom.org; the University of California‐Berkeley; and the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland).

The Citizen Lab supports the principles of intellectual freedom and human rights enjoyed by Canadians, and fights for populations of less fortunate countries that do not have the benefit of these freedoms. It tracks and reports on global misuse of technology in the areas of citizen surveillance, snooping, tracing, and use of personal data, and has published numerous reports and articles, for example, on sophisticated cell phone Trojans installed on unsuspecting so‐called dissidents; on Big Data and the growing political importance of the corporate giants that own and operate cyberspace; and on Canadian cyber security policy. The Citizen Lab’s vision calls for a strong Canadian role in protecting and preserving open communication around the world.
Among The Citizen Lab’s many contributions are OpenNet Initiative, created to identify and document Internet filtering and surveillance practices; OpenNet Asia and OpenNet Eurasia, collaborative research, advocacy, and networking projects aimed at monitoring Internet and digital censorship and surveillance practices in and Eurasia; Information Warfare Monitor analyzing the exercise of power in cyberspace; Psiphon, censorship circumvention software; and the Cyber Stewards program. The Lab espouses ‘hacktivism’ in its original sense of the desire to open up Internet technology, not to accept it at face value, and to use it for positive social change.

The Citizen Lab has demonstrated outstanding courage and conviction in pursuing its vision of an unshackled Internet grounded in human rights and freedom of expression, a vision that is shared by the Canadian Library Association and the people of Canada. The many successes of The Citizen Lab in facilitating censorship circumvention in cyberspace and in monitoring and curbing malicious and abusive practices wherever they occur are contributions both to the international

community and to Canada. Whatever happens in cyberspace happens locally too. Canada is fortunate to have The Citizen Lab as an international leader in balancing cyber human rights with other global and state interests.

The award will be presented in Toronto on 28 February as part of Freedom to Read Week at: The Book and Periodical Council and Raconteurs Present: Censored, 7:30pm, The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W. Tickets/Info: freedomtoread.ca.

CLA Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada Award recognizes and honours outstanding contributions to intellectual freedom in Canada by individuals or groups. Preference is given to librarians and library institutions. However like‐minded individuals such as teachers or authors or groups such as schools or publishers are also eligible. The award is given from time‐to‐time, not necessarily on an annual basis, and there may be more than one recipient in any one year. For more information go to: http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm? ection=CLA_Advancement_of_Intellectual_Freedom_in_Canada_Award&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=12518

Previous Recipients:

2012 Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee

2011 Alan Borovoy

2010 Kent Weaver

2009 Kim Bolan

2008 Nancy Branscombe & Gina Barber

2007 Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

2006 June Callwood

2005 David Wyman

2004 Monique Désormeaux

2003 James Chamberlain

2002 Peter Carver/Nancy Fleming/Sarah Thring

2000 Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium

1999 Board & Staff of the Greater Victoria Public Library

1997 Alvin M. Schrader

1996 Burlington Public Library

1988 Les Fowlie & the Toronto Public Library Board

The Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques is Canada’s largest national and broad‐based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.