Ron Deibert to head new Security Studies centre

October 14, 2010

University Professor Janice Stein, director of U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs, announced the appointment of Professor Ron Deibert as the inaugural director of the Canada Centre for Security Studies. Deibert previously served as director of the Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of digital media, global security and human rights.

“The Munk School is proud to announce that Ron Deibert will lead the newly formed Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, the first Canada branded centre at the University of Toronto, as its inaugural director,” stated Stein. “This appointment is a clear signal that the Canada Centre will bring an entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary approach to the study of security issues facing not only Canada and our traditional allies but also contemporary threats that countries, corporations and citizens cope with around the globe on a daily basis.”

Deibert will continue to head the Citizen Lab while providing leadership to the other initiatives housed at the Canada Centre including activities focusing on: cybersecurity, arctic security and regional (Asia/Europe/Americas) initiatives on global security.

“Our aim for the Canada Centre is to grapple with complex global security issues in innovative ways that help generate big ideas and new solutions,” said Deibert. “We intend to do so by building upon the model of the Citizen Lab, whose success is derived from interdisciplinary research and partnerships with the private sector, government and civil society.”

The Citizen Lab received worldwide media attention for two major investigations into global cyber espionage: Tracking Ghostnet and Shadows in the Cloud. The investigations were carried out in partnership with the SecDev Group, a private sector think tank based in Ottawa with which the Citizen Lab collaborates on a wide range of research activities. The Citizen Lab was an incubator for an Internet freedom technology project, called Psiphon, which has now become a private Canadian company with annual revenues of $1.65-million. The lab has also been instrumental in raising awareness about Internet censorship worldwide and has worked with tech companies, like Google, to become more transparent.

The creation of the Canada Centre was made possible through a $25-million grant by the Government of Canada which was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in April 2010.

“As our economies, civil societies and institutions become more global in nature so too are the threats that can interrupt such progress. The Canada Centre, its academics, researchers and students, led by Ron Deibert, will be an essential meeting point where we can gain a better understanding of these global threats and develop effective responses,” concluded Stein.

This news release is available here on the Munk School website.