Latest Research: Articles, Papers, and Reports

Photo of construction in Hong Kong - bamboo scaffolding

Indebted Dragon: The Risky Strategy Behind China’s Construction Economy

November 28, 2012

Lynette Ong writes for Foreign Affairs on China’s problematic construction economy and urbanization. Financing the Middle Kingdom’s recent building boom has been expensive: Estimates put local government debt alone at between $800 billion and $2 trillion, or around 13 to 36 percent of GDP. If the real estate bubble pops, financial and social crises will follow.

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The Canadian Connection: One Year Later

November 20, 2012

This is an update to our November 2011 report titled “The Canadian Connection: An investigation of Syrian government and Hezbullah web hosting in Canada”, which examined the use of web servers based in Canada, the U.S., and European countries to host Syrian government websites and websites of the Lebanese political party Hezbullah. Our findings indicate that, while many of the websites we examined in 2011 have changed hosting providers, a number of Syrian government and Hezbullah websites still maintain an online presence through the services of North American and European web hosts.

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Backdoors are Forever: Hacking Team and the Targeting of Dissent?

October 15, 2012

In this report, Citizen Lab Security Researcher Morgan Marquis-Boire describes analysis performed on malicious software used to compromise a high profile dissident residing in the United Arab Emirates. The findings indicate that the software is a commercial surveillance backdoor distributed by an Italian company known as Hacking Team. The report also describes the potential involvement of vulnerabilities sold by the French company, VUPEN.

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The Smartphone Who Loved Me: Finfisher Goes Mobile?

August 29, 2012

The Citizen Lab has announced the publication of a detailed and collaborative research report written and coordinated by Morgan Marquis-Boire analyzing several samples believed to be mobile variants of the FinFisher Spy Kit targeting iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Symbian platforms. In addition, the new report also provides details on the geographic locations of FinFisher command and control servers.

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Turtle Island Blues: Climate Change and Failed Indigenous Securitization in the Canadian Arctic

August 24, 2012

The circumpolar Arctic is being radically transformed by the interaction between an altered physical environment due to anthropogenic climate change and various economic and political forces that have emerged in the post-Cold War period. The effects of climate change on the Arctic ecology, and the impacts of those changes for human life in the region, are eliciting intensified research attention.

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Communications Disruption & Censorship under International Law: History Lesson

August 6, 2012

Canada Centre and Citizen Lab Research Fellow Jon Penney wrote a paper titled Communications Disruption & Censorship under International Law: History Lesson, which was presented at this year’s Second USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI).

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Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunication in the Context of International Security: Work of the UN First Committee 1998-2012

August 3, 2012

Canada Centre and Citizen Lab Fellow Eneken Tikk Ringas wrote a brief on the work of the UN General Assembly.

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From Bahrain With Love: FinFisher’s Spy Kit Exposed?

July 25, 2012

This post contains analysis of several pieces of malware obtained by Vernon Silver of Bloomberg News that were sent to Bahraini pro-democracy activists in April and May of this year.

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Human Security in the Arctic: The Foundation of Regional Cooperation

July 17, 2012

This series seeks to stimulate deeper academic dialogue on Arctic security issues in Canada. It is supported by the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program and the ArcticNet project on The Emerging Arctic Security Environment.

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Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance

July 16, 2012

Science assessments indicate that human activities are moving several of Earth’s sub-systems outside the range of natural variability typical for the previous 500,000 years. Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change.

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