Canadian International Council

Canadian International Council

February 23, 2010 09:51 ET

Canada Should Lead Global Effort to Counter Internet Censorship and Cyber-Espionage in China and Elsewhere, New CIC Paper Argues

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2010) - With the world's third largest economy and the largest number of Internet users in the world, the impact of China's cyberspace control policies on Canada is formidable. Canada must strike a balance between its broader political and economic interests in China and open criticism of China's human rights policies, Internet censorship and computer espionage abroad, concludes a new paper released today by the Canadian International Council (CIC).

China's Cyberspace Control Strategy: An Overview and Consideration of Issues for Canadian Policy notes that "Canada is home to some of the leading research and development projects on Internet censorship, surveillance and information warfare that, at times, are antagonistically linked to China." The paper argues that the Canadian government should invest in areas where it can change China's Internet content filtering and censorship practices. "There are at least three ways in which Canadian policy could make a positive impact and counter growing tendencies towards the censorship, surveillance and militarization of cyberspace that China presently leads," says Ronald Deibert, author of the paper.

Dr. Deibert's paper argues that Canada should:

(1) Take a leadership position in promoting a global, multilateral agenda around arms control in cyberspace. The present state-based cyber security agenda is almost entirely absent of voices or forums dedicated to creating norms of mutual restraint, confidence building and information sharing.

(2) Take a more active interest in the role played by Canadian companies which support China's vast censorship and surveillance regime.

(3) Lead by example in domestic policy areas, including addressing loose laws on wiretaps, ambiguous oversight of intelligence agencies, shoddy content filtering mechanisms around access to pornography and hate speech, questionable deep packet inspection and data retention practices by internet service providers, and other areas in which Canadian practices provide justification for China's own domestic censorship and surveillance regime.

Dr. Ronald Deibert is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto. China's Cyberspace Control Strategy: An Overview and Consideration of Issues for Canadian Policy is part of the CIC's 2010 China Paper series.

For more information on China's Cyberspace Control Strategy: An Overview and Consideration of Issues for Canadian Policy or the CIC, please visit:

The Canadian International Council (CIC) is a non-partisan, nationwide council established to strengthen Canada's role and capacity in international affairs, which builds on the proud histories of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs and the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies. The CIC aims to advance research, discussion and debate on international issues by fostering a Canadian foreign policy network that crosses academic disciplines, policy areas, and economic sectors. CIC's research program is managed by the national office in Toronto. The CIC's 15 branches across Canada present a variety of activities to CIC members, including speakers programs, conferences and seminars, and study groups.

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