Cyber Stewards

In 2012, the Citizen Lab – an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs (University of Toronto) – launched a program called the Cyber Stewards Network (CSN), “an IDRC-funded initiative aiming at providing support to cyber security scholars, advocates and practitioners of the global South in order to help them articulate a vision of cyber security in which rights and openness are protected on the basis of shared research and empirical knowledge.” The network participants are located in Asia, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the issues that the CSN seeks to address are: Internet governance; Internet censorship; Internet surveillance; data privacy and retention; and information security. In 2013, DECI-2 started providing U-FE and ResCom mentorship to some of the Citizen Lab staff to help them evaluate the CSN and strengthen the program’s policy-influencing capacity. One of the first realities that became evident was that a network as such had yet to be created. Instead, there was a group of advocates and researchers who were participating in the Cyber Stewards program and who presumably wanted to become a network. Given this scenario, the U-FE process was conducted as developmental evaluation and its intended use was to help develop the network. The ResCom mentorship also aimed at supporting the networking efforts but had a more limited focus. However, an introductory ResCom presentation sparked interest among CSN network participants and grantees in April 2014, which led DECI-2 to providing mentorship to ADC Digital (Argentina) and Justice Forum (UK).