Ronald Deibert is a professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto and the Director of The Citizen Lab, a public interest research organization that uncovers privacy and human rights abuses on the internet.

In his latest book, Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society (House of Anansi Press, 2020), Deibert unites a growing corpus of academic literature on the perils of surveillance capitalism to show how today’s data-hungry communications technologies have poisoned our political institutions, our minds, and even our environment. Deibert believes that it is not too late to rescue our politics from our technology, and he argues that the answer lies not in silicon or code but age-old political principles. Look to Montesquieu, not Zuckerberg, Deibert tells us, if you want to find a stable framework for digital governance in the 21st century.

On this episode, in addition to all the above, Professor Deibert and I explore the economic engines of surveillance capitalism, the dangers of ritualistic privacy policies, the internet’s immense carbon footprint, and the importance of data privacy law, among other topics.

John Sakellariadis is a 2020-2021 Fulbright US Student Research Grantee. He holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree in History & Literature from Harvard University.

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