By Paul Meyer, Bout De Papier, Winter 2013-14

Book Review: Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace

EXCERPT: "In both the domestic and foreign spheres, Deibert argues that it is urgent for those who support liberal democratic values "to articulate a compelling counter-narative to reflexive state state and corporate control over cyberspace". In Black Code, Ron Deibert has made a major contibution to the development of such a narrative." Read the full review [PDF].

By Sarah Myers, University of California, International Journal of Communication 7 (2013)

Book Review: Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace

EXCERPT: "Black Code only scratches the surface of the dark waters of the Internet, but it is an accessible volume that describes the broad landscape of cyber- security issues and suggests recommendations for sound policy making and informed advocacy that could help preserve cyberspace as a free and open commons." Read the full review [PDF].

By Laura DeNardis, Science Magazine, 18 October 2013, Volume 342

The Cyber-Espionage X-Files

EXCERPT: "Many readers will find Black Code both illuminating and terrifying. State power over the Internet is escalating, with the exact same technologies that provide unprecedented opportunities for free expression being used to enact surveillance and censorship of citizens by authoritarian governments and liberal democracies alike." Read the full review [PDF].

Embassy Magazine, 9 October 2013, Issue 471

"Most Notable Canadian Foreign Policy Books"

EXCERPT: "Well known for his work as the director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the trailblazing research hub Citizen Lab, Ron Diebert’s book is particularly timely. Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disturbing revelations about the United States National Security Agency this summer and more recent allegations of Canada spying on Brazil through its electronic eavesdropping agency have made his research all the more relevant." Read the full review [PDF].

By Alexander Wooley, Huffington Post, 20 September 2013

Cybersurveillance: We Put the Law on Our Side, Part I and Part II

EXCERPT: "Without resorting to unnecessary hyperbole, Deibert describes the battle for cyberspace as 'a constitutional question on a planetary scale.' He goes on: 'The liberal democratic core have lost sight of what we need to secure in the first place. From expanding the liberal democratic experiment worldwide, we've reverted to a more national security mindset, and an imperial project, frankly.'." Read the full review Part I and Part II.

Frontiers of New Media, 11 September 2013

Book Review: Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace

EXCERPT: "Ronald J. Deibert’s most recent book, Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace, is a thorough exploration of the varied powers attempting to exert control over the Internet. In particular, Deibert focuses on the conflicts that arise from governmental, criminal, and corporate attempts to corral the ever expanding population of Internet users."

"The perspective Deibert offers on these issues is the truly unique, defining feature of this book. His work with the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto has placed him in the nexus of conflict without requiring his allegiance to government or corporate (or criminal) interests. From this location, Deibert acts as storyteller, informing his audience of various battles and sites of struggle, including governmental censorship, online criminal gangs and data theft, and the ungainly disposal of a banner at the Internet Governance Forum. These stories are tied together by Deibert’s analysis of the trends underpinning each event and explanations of prevailing forces in each scenario." Read the full review.

By Tom Slee, Literary Review of Canada, September 2013

Hacking Society

EXCERPT: "Deibert recounts some of Citizen Lab’s own colourful exploits. Given unrestricted access to compromised computers belonging to the office of the Dalai Lama, Citizen Lab researchers uncovered an espionage network affecting more than 100 countries and tracked its control centre to the computers of China’s People’s Liberation Army. Discovering and downloading a database backup belonging to cybercrime ring Koobface that 'laid bare the entire operation from inside out,' they pinpointed a group of BMW-driving, World of Warcraft–playing Russians."

"But while these individual stories convey 'the thrill of the hunt,' it is the cumulative effect of Deibert’s global tour of cybercrime and cyber warfare that lingers. In one of the strongest chapters, he describes how post-Soviet states and unofficial 'Electronic Armies' in Syria and Iran, aided by western technology companies, combine internet surveillance with thuggery to suppress political opponents. He recounts how China successfully built its 'Great Firewall' at home and engages in digital espionage abroad, and how Somalia’s civil war has produced surprisingly robust wireless phone networks. Closer to home, he documents the combined corporate and state surveillance of our daily lives and how the border between digital and physical warfare was erased by United States/Israeli collaboration Stuxnet, a virus designed specifically to break the Siemens industrial centrifuges used in Iran’s nuclear enrichment program." Read the full review .

By Zeljka Zorz, Help Net Security, 7 August 2013

Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace

EXCERPT: "Sometimes I wish that I was more like my friends - not knowing and not really caring about the present and the future of the Internet and cyberspace, using it and enjoying it almost mindlessly, lulled into the illusion of its constancy and stability, ignorant of the real situation and the invisible battles that are going on between those who want to control it and those who want to safeguard it.

"Alas, that is impossible. Thanks to my job, I'm effectively living half of my day in cyberspace and can't be oblivious to all of the above. But I have another problem - concentrating on specific things that interest me more than others, I often stop being able to see the proverbial forest from the proverbial trees.

"This book changed all that - it made me see and comprehend a much bigger picture then I was able to do before. For the first time I grasped - really, thoroughly understood - how insecure the Internet, it's architecture, the software and communication protocols we use, and all of it are." Read the full review.

By Adam Thierer, The Technology Liberation Front, 16 July 2013

Book Review: Ronald Deibert’s Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace

"[...] Deibert’s book is a meticulous examination of the “malicious threats that are growing from the inside out” and which “threaten to destroy the fragile ecosystem we have come to take for granted.” (p. 14) It is also a remarkably timely book in light of the recent revelations about NSA surveillance and how it is being facilitated with the assistance of various tech and telecom giants." Read the full review.

By Mike Landry, Salon Books, 29 June 2013

The Internet's Black Eye

EXCERPT: "The director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Deibert has written the kind of book that should interest every one of us but that few are likely to read and even fewer will actually take to heart."

"This is because Deibert is saying things we don’t want to think about." Read the full review [PDF].

By Saleem Khan, Special to the National Post, 13 June 2013

Book Review: Black Code, by Ronald J. Deibert

EXCERPT: "In the late 1980s to mid-1990s, there was a triumphal spirit among the Internet’s denizens, who widely believed technology would enable free knowledge sharing that would spark an age of enlightenment, empowerment and freedom.

"This is not that story.

"Black Code is terrifying. It effortlessly chronicles threats ranging from individual privacy to national security, whose perpetrators span crime syndicates to authoritarian states, and security firms to Western democracies. Black Code highlights the shadowy, lucrative war online, behind closed doors and in halls of power, which threatens to control, censor, and spy on us, or worse." Read the full review.

In the Quill & Quire, June 2013 Edition

"Black Code is a timely book, and like most timely books, one suspects that a lot of the specifics won't be relevant five or 10 years from now. The essential political message, however, is as old as Toqueville, and more vital than ever." Read the full review [pdf].

By Margaret Atwood, 31 May 2013

Margaret Atwood tweeted that the book is a must-read for netizens

By Cory Doctorow, The Globe and Mail, 17 May 2013

How to make cyberspace safe for human habitation


"I spent February on a book tour for my YA novel Homeland, which concerns a group of American teenagers enmeshed in the surveillance/security apparatus. The kids are chased by private military contractors and anonymous hackers who infiltrate the teens’ computers, turning them into surveillance tools whose cameras, mikes, keyboards and hard drives are silently spying on them. On the first stop of the tour, in Seattle, I spoke to the audience about the real-world inspiration for all this: the companies, governments, crooks and schools that compromise our electronic infrastructure and our privacy in unimaginably invasive ways.

"Every part of our lives is touched by the Internet, and we interface with that network through our devices. I gave examples of network connections, laptops, phones and even implanted defibrillators being co-opted. When our devices betray us, we are compromised in every conceivable way." Read the full review.