In the 2020 CBC Massey Lectures, bestselling author and renowned technology and security expert Ronald J. Deibert exposes the disturbing influence and impact of the internet on politics, the economy, the environment, and humanity. Digital technologies have given rise to a new machine-based civilization that is increasingly linked to a growing number of social and political maladies. Accountability is weak and insecurity is endemic, creating disturbing opportunities for exploitation.
Drawing from the cutting-edge research of the Citizen Lab, the world-renowned digital security research group which he founded and directs, Ronald J. Deibert exposes the impacts of this communications ecosystem on civil society. He tracks a mostly unregulated surveillance industry, innovations in technologies of remote control, superpower policing practices, dark PR firms, and highly profitable hack-for-hire services feeding off rivers of poorly secured personal data. Deibert also unearths how dependence on social media and its expanding universe of consumer electronics creates immense pressure on the natural environment. In order to combat authoritarian practices, environmental degradation, and rampant electronic consumerism, he urges restraints on tech platforms and governments to reclaim the internet for civil society.