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Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace [Hardcover]

Ronald J. Deibert
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 21 2013

Cyberspace is all around us. We depend on it for everything we do. We have reengineered our business, governance, and social relations around a planetary network unlike any before it. But there are dangers looming, and malign forces are threatening to transform this extraordinary domain.

In Black Code, Ronald J. Deibert, a leading expert on digital technology, security, and human rights, lifts the lid on cyberspace and shows what’s at stake for Internet users and citizens. As cyberspace develops in unprecedented ways, powerful agents are scrambling for control. Predatory cyber criminal gangs such as Koobface have made social media their stalking ground. The discovery of Stuxnet, a computer worm reportedly developed by Israel and the United States and aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, showed that state cyberwar is now a very real possibility. Governments and corporations are in collusion and are setting the rules of the road behind closed doors.

This is not the way it was supposed to be. The Internet’s original promise of a global commons of shared knowledge and communications is now under threat.

Drawing on the first-hand experiences of one of the most important protagonists in the battle — the Citizen Lab and its global network of frontline researchers, who have spent more than a decade cracking cyber espionage rings and uncovering attacks on citizens and NGOs worldwide — Black Code takes readers on a fascinating journey into the battle for cyberspace. Thought-provoking, compelling, and sometimes frightening, it is a wakeup call to citizens who have come to take the Internet for granted. Cyberspace is ours, it is what we make of it, Deibert argues, and we need to act now before it slips through our grasp.

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Black Code is terrifying. It effortlessly chronicles threats ranging from individual privacy to national security…[highlighting] the shadowy, lucrative war online, behind closed doors and in the halls of power, which threatens to control, censor, and spy on us, or worse.”
National Post
“Gripping and absolutely terrifying. . . . Black Code is a manifesto for the 21st-century form of network stewardship, a sense of shared responsibility toward our vital electronic water supply. It is a timely rallying cry, and sorely needed.”
—Cory Doctorow, Globe and Mail

“Ron Deibert is an excellent guide to the fascinating and disturbing world of cyber security.”
—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard, and author of The Future of Power
"For more than a decade, Ron Deibert's Citizen Lab has been at the forefront of decoding actions both crude and subtle to disrupt Internet access and usage. A path from the Dalai Lama's hacked laptop to a worldwide espionage ring is but one tale of many of the Lab's singular exploits -- now gathered here in this compelling volume that chronicles the ongoing wars amidst the Internet's rise."
—Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law and Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University, and author of The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It
“At a time when autocrats, criminal gangs and others are trying to control and pervert the use of cyberspace, Ron Deibert’s Black Code rings like a fire-bell in the night, warning us that the price of a new global commons of shared knowledge and connectivity is vigilance in defense of free expression and the rule of law. Anyone who cares about the future of democracy needs to read this timely and most important book.”
—Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy

Black Code stimulated my thinking about the potential for making the Internet a much safer place.”
—Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer

About the Author

RONALD J. DEIBERT is professor of Political Science and Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, an interdisciplinary research and development “hothouse” working at the intersection of the Internet, global security, and human rights. He is a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative and the Information Warfare Monitor, which uncovered the GhostNet cyberespionage network of over 2,500 infected computers in 103 countries. Deibert’s work has received frontpage coverage in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, International Herald Tribune, and New York Times. He lives in Toronto with his family.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is an important book, especially given the NSA leaks and whistleblower Edward Snowden. The author is the director of the University of Toronto Citizen Lab that has been dedicated to tracking the abuses of cyberspace for espionage and for human rights violations. The citizen lab is most well-known for reporting about the Chinese government network of cyber-spies and Ghostnet (tracking Dalai Lama's every day movement). But Deibert is linked to several international organizations that monitor the abuse of cyberspace by corporations and by governments (on all sides of the spectrum). The sections of the book that speak to the ways that governments monitor and seek to control cyberspace. Perhaps the most frightening observations of this book relate to how we have willingly made all aspects of our lives available to corporations and to those who see k to keep us in line and in our place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A level-headed, approachable take. May 21 2014
Prof. Deibert provides a thoroughgoing analysis of the use of cyber power. Without resorting to the shrill alarmism of many authors, he reviews the geopolitical landscape of the Internet, and its use by and against states.

His take is grounded in both a sensible political framework and years of in-the-trenches experience with tough political and technical issues. It provides a swift, non-technical primer on the key conflicts within and about the cyber-domain.

Deibert treads the line between Internet celebrant and cynic, examining the promises and treacheries of communication technology with a critical yet at times idealistic eye. He is far from a technological determinist; Deibert is keenly aware of the determining effect of the human element, from greed to grievance, in defining the shape and usage of information and communication technology.

Deibert's brisk narratives and anecdotes deliver a readable and informative book with a perspective sadly unrepresented in the discourse - that of an informed, but disinterested observer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things you need to know. July 31 2013
By opinions4u TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is definitely a MUST READ book for everyone who goes online! It really drives home the point that although the internet can be useful, we must be careful. There is no such thing as "privacy" online. Once you put something out there, you really don't know what happens to the information. A great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important Perspective June 5 2014
Black Code is, in many ways, a diary of critical invasions over the web - both by the 'bad' guys and by government agencies. This chronological approach places events and progressive invasive steps in a wider perspective of what is going on and why we should be concerned. I found that it was a great resource to understand the latest book on the subject - No Place to Hide - the very interesting read on the Snowden disclosures. Be prepared - even postings like this are probably categorized in a nsa hard drive .......

ps on another note, when i ordered from amazon a yr ago, delivery was within days but this order took a wk - if this is due to their argument with their suppliers , think they are taking it out on the wrong target!
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