Citizen Lab director to speak at TEDxToronto

The cyber-sleuth who exposed Ghostnet, a Chinese cyber-espionage ring, and continues to advocate for the Canadian government to more actively pursue a cyber-security strategy will be a featured speaker at this year’s TEDxToronto.

Ronald J. Deibert is the director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. The Citizen Lab made headlines in 2009 when it issued a report titled Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network. It detailed how three servers in China and one in the U.S. infected with trojans foreign ministries and embassies located in a long list of countries including Iran, Germany, India, and Pakistan. In total, the spy network affected more than 1200 computers in 103 countries.

Since then, Deibert has gone on record saying Canada’s government must commit more resources to law enforcement agencies for cyber-crime tracking activities.

In an introduction video promoting TEDxToronto, Deibert describes the Citizen Lab as a “hactivist hot house.

“Hactivism is the combination of hacking in the original sense of the term and social and political activism,” he says. “Although the term hacker is virtually synonymous today with doing something criminal, originally the term had a very positive connotation. It referred to an ethic of experimentation, a desire to open up technology and not accept the technological systems around us at face value.”

TEDx events are independently organized speaking engagements in the spirit of the Technology, Education, Design (TED) Conference that features  inspiring talks from many different types of leaders across a wide variety of topics. Each conference is organized around a central theme.

At the Toronto conference, the theme will be alchemy. “The seemingly magical process of taking ordinary, common elements, usually of little value, and combing them to make something extraordinary of great value,” the conference’s Web site says.

TEDxToronto will be held Oct. 26 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

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