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U of T Citizen Lab honoured


– Nov. 29, 2010, Jon Foster

After many years of hard work, the Munk Centre for International Studies’ Citizen Lab is being recognized by the Canadian Journalists of Free Expression (CJFE). The Citizen Lab, founded by Professor – and current director – Rob Deibert, will be receiving the Vox Libera award, an award handed out to a Canadian individual or organization for an outstanding commitment to the principles of free expression.

The Citizen Lab is best known for their fight for human rights such as the freedom of expression, and freedom of information on the internet. “The Citizen Lab is very proud to have been selected for this year’s CJFE Vox Libera Award. We hope that our work and that of our partners will help raise awareness of these threats and safeguard the Internet as an open commons,” said Deibert.

In addition to the pursuit of human rights, Citizen Lab also monitors cases of internet espionage and censorship around the world. One such example is in relation to Google’s site in China, where certain phrases were banned and/or blocked as a means to control the information to the Chinese people in what was called “the Great Firewall of China”.

Citizen Lab developed software to circumvent this censorship giving the people the ability to access any information that they wished online. In 2010 Citizen Lab uncovered computers, embassies and government departments in 103 countries that had been compromised by a virus that originated in China.

The award was presented on November 25 at the CJFE annual gala, which is attended by 500 Canadian journalists. Other award winners that were honoured at this year’s gala include Emilio Gutierrez Soto and Luis Horacio Nájera of Mexico, and Serge Sabouang, Robert Mintya and the late Bibi Ngota of Cameroon.

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