[ooni-talk] OONI report on Belarus blocking websites

Maria Xynou maria at openobservatory.org
Wed Sep 16 13:25:12 UTC 2020


We published a report documenting recent censorship events in Belarus
amid ongoing protests.

Our report is available here:

We prepared this report in collaboration with folks from Human Constanta
and the Digital Observers Community Belarus.

At least 86 websites appear to have been blocked in Belarus over the
last month, according to OONI network measurement data. These include
news media, political opposition, pro-democracy, and election related
websites, as well as communication and circumvention tool sites.

We observe a variance in blocking both in terms of which websites are
blocked across ISPs (i.e. different sites blocked on different
networks), as well as in terms of censorship techniques.

In some cases, when sites are hosted on HTTP, we see that ISPs serve a
blockpage. But when sites are hosted on encrypted HTTPS, we observe
interference during the TLS handshake (after the TCP connection and
before the HTTP request), resulting in a connection reset error.

As blocking appears to be implemented during the TLS handshake, this
suggests that Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology is likely being
used. It seems likely that the SNI is being used to decide whether to
block or let connections go through.

These findings are limited to our analysis of OONI measurements
collected from multiple ISP networks in Belarus between 1st August 2020
to 3rd September 2020, and exclude websites which received limited
testing coverage during this period.

Further details are available in our report, where we also share our
analysis and relevant OONI measurements.

This study can be expanded upon through the use of OONI Probe
(https://ooni.org/install/) and OONI data (https://ooni.org/data/).

We thank all OONI Probe users in Belarus who made this study possible.

Please help share our research:



Maria Xynou
Research & Partnerships Director
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
PGP Key Fingerprint: 2DC8 AFB6 CA11 B552 1081 FBDE 2131 B3BE 70CA 417E

More information about the ooni-talk mailing list