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Committee on Human Rights
Annual Breakfast Briefing
Monday, May 1, 2017
7:00 a.m.—8:15 a.m.


Led by Committee on Human Rights Chair Martin Chalfie (NAS/NAM), the annual breakfast briefing will highlight issues surrounding digital security and human rights.

John Scott RailtonGuest speaker John Scott-Railton of The Citizen Lab (Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto) will discuss the use of digital surveillance and technologies to target human rights activists and other members of civil society worldwide. For the past decade, The Citizen Lab has tracked abuse of the Internet to threaten these actors through surveillance and digital intrusions. Governments are typical perpetrators, enabled by weak laws and supplied by the growing global market for digital surveillance, intrusion, and filtering technologies. Citizen Lab researchers engage directly with the victims of these operations and, in a recent high-profile case, helped deter a cyber-attack against an Emirati scientific colleague whose case the CHR is following. Scott-Railton will provide an overview of the state of digital threats against civil society drawn from The Citizen Lab's peer-reviewed and mixed-methods research.

John Scott-Railton is a Senior Researcher at The Citizen Lab (Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto). His research involves tracking and mitigating digital threats against civil society. Along with his colleagues, he investigates how governments throughout the world abuse commercial spyware to target individuals, including human rights defenders and scientists.