Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace

By Docksai, Rick | The Futurist, September-October 2013 | Go to article overview

Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace


Docksai, Rick, The Futurist


Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace by Ronald J. Deibert. McLelland & Stewart. 2013. 312 pages. $29.99.

The Internet's evolution has taken a troubling new course over the last decade, according to Ronald Deibert, political-science professor and director of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab. Whereas its innovators used to promote open communication and the Web's potential to connect users, they are now increasingly focused on surveillance and censorship.

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While cybercriminals do pose real threats, Deibert acknowledges, he finds that governments and businesses are having difficulty simultaneously keeping the Internet secure and ensuring users' privacy and freedoms of information and association.

As Web technology grows more sophisticated, it collects ever-growing troves of data about us and our everyday activities. Third-party companies and law-enforcement officers exploit this data with growing impunity. This holds true not only in authoritarian countries, where governments use new Web surveillance tools to monitor and suppress dissidents and human-rights groups, but in democracies, too, where national-security agencies invest hundreds of millions of dollars yearly in software to both deter hackers and keep a watch on private citizens' Internet use.

Meanwhile, counter-forces of vigilante Anonymous movements orchestrate denial-of-service and hacker attacks against corporations, government agencies, and individuals whose actions arouse their ire. …

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