Citizen Lab — a hacker "grow op"

Wired News has a story about the history of hacktivism and the cDc, with some mention of the Citizen Lab as a “hacker grow-op.”

Hacktivism and How It Got Here

Michelle Delio 07.14.04

NEW YORK — Hacktivism isn’t found in the graffiti on defaced Web pages, in e-mail viruses bearing political screeds or in smug take-downs of government or organizational networks.

These sorts of activities are nothing more than reverse censorship and “the same old cheap hacks elevated to political protest,” according to Cult of the Dead Cow member Oxblood Ruffin.
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Internet Content Filtering in India

Internet Content Filtering in India: Variations in Compliance and Accuracy

We have just released this bulletin on some recent Internet content filtering patterns in India. The collateral blocking of a terrorist website is definitely weird, but story here is the compliance issue.

Newsforge article about ONI Advisory

Another one, from Newsforge, about the OpenNet Initiative Advisory on the IBB/Anonymizer we just released.

I must object to Lance Cotrell’s comments about Iranian monitoring and our analysis of the insecurity of the IBB/Anonymizer system.

Does anyone really believe the IBB and/or State Dept has intelligence “on the ground” that determines how and when Iranians and Iranian ISPs are monitoring email traffic??? You mean, like the intelligence on the ground in Iraq about WMD??

Harvard Crimson story about the ONI

The Harvard Crimson wrote a story about the OpenNet Initiative featured here.

HLS Team To Study Internet Censorship

Researchers at Harvard Law School are gathering empirical data on the censorship of internet content and are using it to develop software that can subvert filters.A handful of professors at the Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the University of Cambridge and the University of Toronto have dubbed their project, which hopes to map out the different methods of internet surveillance being used, the Open Net Initiative (ONI).

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Announcing The Open Net Initiative!

A new approach to university-based research striving to become the eyes and ears of digital censorship worldwide

“The Open Net Initiative represents a new approach to university-based research,” says Cambridge University’s Rafal Rohozinski. “We fuse cutting-edge intelligence-derived techniques with a networked model of analysis that includes some of the brightest minds in this field – we are striving to become the eyes and ears on digital censorship worldwide.”

The Open Net Initiative (ONI) was formed in 2004 with support from the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute and represents a partnership among groups at three leading global universities: Cambridge, Harvard, and Toronto. As Harvard’s Jonathan Zittrain explains, “The aim of the ONI is to excavate, analyze, and report censorship and surveillance practices in a rigorous, ongoing fashion. In order to fully understand the Internet’s evolution, we must be able to map it empirically.”

The ONI employs a unique interdisciplinary methodology that combines information derived from a global network of local researchers with advanced technical network probes to create a detailed picture of what goes on beneath the surface of the Internet.

As University of Toronto’s Ronald Deibert explains, some techniques of interrogation have been deliberately borrowed from the world of intelligence. “The tools we employ to probe the subterranean layers of the Internet are not necessarily new,” says Deibert. “The combination of electronic surveillance and human-based information gathering has long been the hallmark of state intelligence practices. What we are doing with the ONI is taking these tools and turning them inside-out, so to speak, focusing them back on the ‘watchers’ to measure their practices against general principles of human rights, and open the lid on the World Wide Web.”

ONI researchers in the UK, Canada and United States lead discrete aspects of the research, and jointly analyze the resulting data. Technical research is centered on University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, legal and statistical analysis is led by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, while managing human-based information gathering activities is the responsibility of the Advanced Network Research Group at Cambridge University.

Additional research and writing work conducted by the Berkman Center in this field is supported by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and other sources, while the work of the Citizen Lab and Advanced Network Research Group is supported by the Ford Foundation.

ONI research reports, bulletins, and advisories will be released periodically and can be found on the ONI website: <>.


Ron Deibert,  
Director, Citizen Lab, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto,                       

Jonathan Zittrain and John Palfrey
Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School, Harvard University,  and

Rafal Rohozinski,                                                                                                    
Director, Advanced Network Research Group, Cambridge Security Programme, University of Cambridge,