In his 2020 Massey Lectures and in Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society, the book on which the lectures were based, the political scientist and security expert Ron Deibert carries out a compelling stocktaking of the networked era in which we find ourselves. He conducts a penetrating re-examination of the communications ecosystem in which we live, contemplates its now-manifest dangers and argues for a ‘reset’ — the computational term for a measure that terminates a runaway process and leads to a system reboot. His diagnosis of the problems of the networked world synthesises much of the research and scholarship to date, and provides the underpinning for an exposition of novel ideas of how a long tradition of theorising about security, liberty and power can be harnessed to reclaim the Internet for civil society and bring the concentrations of unaccountable power which it has enabled under democratic control.
Ronald Deibert is a professor of political science and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. He founded the Citizen Lab in 2001 as an interdisciplinary laboratory focusing on research, development, and high-level strategic policy and legal engagement at the intersection of information and communication technologies, human rights, and global security. The idea behind the Lab was to use the powerful methods, tools and techniques in computer science and engineering to uncover what goes on beneath the surface of the networked world — to conduct an ongoing “MRI of the Internet” and build a “counter-intelligence agency for global civil society”. He is also a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative and Information Warfare Monitor projects.
In this Webinar, Ron will be in conversation with David Runciman, Professor of Politics at Cambridge and author of a string of influential books about democracy (including How Democracy Ends, The Confidence Trap, Where Power Stops and The Politics of Good Intentions). He is also a Contributing Editor of the London Review of Books and founder and host of the weekly Talking Politics podcast which in its five years has racked up 20m downloads and currently has over 150,000 monthly listeners.