[ooni-talk] OONI Monthly Report: June 2022

Maria Xynou maria at openobservatory.org
Fri Jul 15 11:06:26 UTC 2022


OONI's June 2022 status report is shared below.

*# OONI Monthly Report: June 2022*

Throughout June 2022, the OONI team worked on the following sprints:

* Sprint 66 (1st - 5th June 2022)
* Sprint 67 (6th -19th June 2022)
* Sprint 68 (20th - 30th June 2022)

Our work can be tracked through the various OONI GitHub repositories:

Highlights are shared in this report below.

*## OONI’s submission for the OHCHR report on internet shutdowns and human

In response to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’s call for
submissions in support of the OHCHR report on internet shutdowns and human
rights to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2022, the
OONI team provided a submission with relevant information on the occurrence
of mandated disruptions of access to social media and messaging platforms
over the past 5 years based on empirical OONI network measurement data.

Read our submission here:

We share OONI data on social media blocks during elections and protests
over the last 5 years.

*## OONI Probe Mobile*

We made a private beta release of OONI Probe Android 3.7.0, which we tested
extensively and shared with community members for testing.

Notably, the private beta of OONI Probe Android 3.7.0 includes:
* Support for running the Experimental group card automatically
* New Vanilla Tor test
* In-app support for changing languages
* Support for sharing a link to the OONI Probe app
* Measurement engine synced with OONI Probe CLI 3.15.2

Based on testing and community feedback, we worked on various bug fixes and
improvements to the OONI Probe mobile app in preparation for the public
release (3.7.0).

Specifically, we worked on:
* Fixing a bug to ensure that the correct ASN is displayed (when a failed
test is re-run) when a different network is selected (
* Removing deprecated methods from Android (
* Fixing a bug affecting the view of data for uploaded measurements (
* Fixing an Android UX bug affecting the screen lock and back button
behavior (https://github.com/ooni/probe/issues/2156);
* Investigating a bug that makes the Android app slow when loading and
showing measurements (https://github.com/ooni/probe/issues/2150);
* Fixing a bug that caused the Android app to crash after a clean install
with default settings (https://github.com/ooni/probe/issues/1911);
* Ensuring that automated runs on OONI Probe Mobile are appended to the
software name (https://github.com/ooni/probe/issues/2167).

*## OONI Run*

We started drafting a plan for incrementally releasing a new version of
OONI Run (https://run.ooni.io/). During the final week of the month, we
discussed 3 different design documents for supporting a version of OONI Run
that doesn’t require a backend. In parallel, we started drafting a
specification for the new version of OONI Run (

*## OONI Probe Web*

The OONI Probe Web app (https://ooni.github.io/probe-web/) includes a
website measurement experiment called “browser_web”. In June 2022, we wrote
a test specification for this experiment (
https://github.com/ooni/spec/pull/244/files). As part of this, we
identified some of the limitations to this testing methodology and we
documented some of the precautions that should be taken when analyzing the

We also added support for:
* Detecting an incompatible browser in the web application (
* Skipping the testing of a URL on HTTP (
because HTTP targets cannot be measured when the probe web application is
deployed on a HTTPS site due to the requests being “mixed content” (see:

*## Expanding censorship measurement methodologies*

While reflecting on the difficulties of merging Websteps into OONI Probe
and, more generally, on the toil of maintaining OONI Probe, we came up with
a better plan for organizing new experiments that should significantly
reduce the maintenance overhead.

This plan, called step-by-step, has been discussed internally, as well as
with our ICFP fellows (Ain Ghazal and Gurshabad Grover) and GSoC student
(Mehul Gulati). After several rounds of review, we published a design
document (https://github.com/ooni/probe-cli/pull/814), which was
accompanied by many proof of concepts.

*## Measuring DoT/DoH Blocking Using OONI Probe: A Preliminary Study*

Last year, we wrote a research paper ("Measuring DoT/DoH Blocking Using
OONI Probe: A Preliminary Study") which was presented at the Network and
Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS'21) as part of the DNS Privacy
Workshop. You can read this paper here:

This study involves an investigation of encrypted DNS (DoT & DoH) blocking
in Kazakhstan, Iran, and China with a new OONI Probe experiment (DNSCheck).
In June 2022, we published a blog post with a summary of findings (and
video presentation): https://ooni.org/post/2022-doh-dot-paper-dnsprivacy21/

We also shared a summary of findings through a Twitter thread:

*## A Quick Look at QUIC Censorship*

In previous months, OONI had the great pleasure to serve as the host
organization for Kathrin Elmenhorst's Open Technology Fund (OTF)
Information Controls Fellowship. As part of her fellowship with us, Kathrin
investigated QUIC blocking & QUIC's potential for censorship resistance.
Her findings reveal QUIC censorship in China, India, Russia and Uganda, and
she shares approaches for QUIC censorship evasion.

To help share her findings with the community, we cross-posted her blog
post (originally published on the OTF website):

*## OONI Explorer*

We implemented new network-centric views inside of OONI Explorer (
https://github.com/ooni/explorer/pull/750). These views enable users to
view OONI measurements from a network perspective.

We also made some small improvements, such as adding the input field on the
OONI Explorer Search tool and Measurement Aggregation Toolkit (MAT) pages (
https://github.com/ooni/explorer/pull/759), as well as other bug fixing (

*## Building a web platform for updating test lists*

We continued to polish our new web platform for updating test lists (
https://test-lists.ooni.org/) in preparation for a public launch.
Specifically, we removed the nickname field from the login page (
https://github.com/ooni/test-lists-ui/pull/41) and we made several other
bug fixes (https://github.com/ooni/test-lists-ui/pull/42,

*## OONI backend### Migration to the Clickhouse database*

We continued to work on the ongoing migration to the new OLAP database. As
part of this work, we migrated the test helper rotation script to the new
backend host.

We also worked on cleaning up (i.e. removing the legacy code), adding
changes (to support the new database), and moving our test list updater to
the new database/backend host on Clickhouse (
https://github.com/ooni/pipeline/pull/387). We made a configuration change
on the OONI API to migrate traffic to the new test helper (

*### URL prioritization*

In response to community feedback (
https://github.com/ooni/backend/issues/582), we adjusted the URL
prioritization system to prioritize the testing of URLs on an ASN-level (as
opposed to a countrywide-level). We tested the new ASN-based URL
prioritization system successfully (https://github.com/ooni/api/pull/293).
We also added support for filtering the URL prioritization query by week (

*## Test list updates*

To improve the quality of global website testing, we worked on cleaning the
Global test list (https://github.com/citizenlab/test-lists/pull/1006). This
involved reviewing URLs and associated category codes, updating URLs,
removing non-operational/irrelevant URLs, and updating category codes.

We also contributed the following updates to the Citizen Lab test lists:
* Updated the test lists for Azerbaijan and Russia (
*  Added social media sites to the Global test list (
* Other updates (https://github.com/citizenlab/test-lists/pull/1004,

We also reviewed and merged many test list pull requests opened by
community members (

*## Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2022*

During the summer of 2022, we have the opportunity to host 2 Google Summer
of Code (GSoC) students: Germa Vinsmoke and Mehul Gulati. They started
working with us in June 2022.

In particular, our GSoC 2022 students will work on the following projects:
* OONI Probe Network Experiments:
* OONI Explorer & Design System Improvements:

*## Interviewed Community Coordinator candidates*

Following the publication of a job opening for an OONI Community
Coordinator (
https://ooni.org/post/2022-job-opening-ooni-community-coordinator/), we
reviewed all applications carefully, created a shortlist of candidates for
the first round of interviews, prepared interview questions, and followed
up with all applicants.

In June 2022, we completed the first round of interviews for the OONI
Community Coordinator position. Based on these interviews, we created a
shortlist for the second (and final) round of interviews (for early July
2022) and coordinated with candidates.

*## Improved OONI’s Code of Conduct*

Based on some initial community feedback, we edited OONI’s Code of Conduct
to improve upon it (https://github.com/ooni/ooni.org/pull/1194). We further
discussed and collected community feedback for the improvement of OONI’s
Code of Conduct during our June 2022 OONI Community Meeting (

*## Created OONI video recording for the Internet Without Borders event in

Between May 2022 to June 2022, eQualitie, Roskomsvoboda, and other Russian
civil society organizations organized and hosted a series of conferences
(called “Internet without Borders”) for the Russian diaspora in 5 cities
(Tbilisi, Yerevan, Vilnius, Berlin, Warsaw), with the goal of fighting
internet censorship. Information about these conferences is available here:

We created a 15-minute video recording, which included a brief presentation
of OONI’s tools, methods, and dataset. This video recording was shown to
participants at the Internet Without Borders event in Yerevan, Armenia, on
3rd June 2022 (https://internetborders.net/project/yerevan/).

*## Notable community use of OONI Probe and OONI data### Access Now paper
on taxonomy of internet shutdowns*

Access Now published a paper providing a taxonomy of internet shutdowns
(citing OONI data):

*## Community activities*

*### OONI training session for civil society groups from Zimbabwe, Zambia,
and South Africa*

On 1st June 2022, OONI’s Maria facilitated an OONI training session for
civil society groups from Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. This was
organized by our partner, Digital Society of Africa (

*### RightsCon 2022*

As part of our participation at RightsCon 2022 (https://www.rightscon.org/),
we co-facilitated/spoke at the following sessions:

* Workshop on "Building capacity to document and circumvent internet
shutdowns" co-hosted with SFLC.in and Top10VPN (6th June 2022)
* Community lab on "Monitoring internet censorship in South and Southeast
Asia" co-hosted with Sinar Project (7th June 2022)
* Panel on "Internet splintering due to server-side blocking and embargo
sanction", hosted by Censored Planet (8th June 2022)
* Social hour on "A light in the dark: learning about internet shutdowns
and the #KeepItOn campaign" co-hosted with organizations from the #KeepItOn
campaign (9th June 2022)

We also participated in two Private Meetings (where we presented OONI)
hosted at RightsCon by community organizations.

*### OONI presentation and hackathon at Internet without Borders event in

We traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania, where we attended the Internet Without
Borders conference (for the Russian diaspora) in person (

As part of our participation, we:
* Presented OONI (10th June 2022);
* Facilitated a workshop on using OONI’s Measurement Aggregation Toolkit
(MAT) for investigating internet censorship in Russia (10th June 2022);
* Facilitated a day-long OONI hackathon (11th June 2022).

As part of the OONI hackathon, participants primarily worked on analyzing
OONI data from Russia and investigated the correlation between the spike of
failed and anomalous measurements.

*### OONI presentation and hackathon at Internet without Borders event in

We traveled to Berlin, Germany, where we attended the Internet Without
Borders conference (for the Russian diaspora) in person (

As part of our participation, we:
* Presented OONI (17th June 2022);
* Facilitated a day-long OONI hackathon (18th June 2022).

*### DW Global Media Forum 2022*

OONI’s Arturo traveled to Bonn, Germany, to attend Deutsche Welle’s (DW)
Global Media Forum 2022 (https://gmf-event.com/) in person, where he
participated as a speaker on a panel discussion on documenting internet

*### OONI Community Meeting*

On 28th June 2022, we hosted the monthly OONI Community Meeting on our
Slack channel (https://slack.ooni.org/), during which we discussed the
following topics:

1) Request for community feedback on improving OONI's Code of Conduct (

2) Enabling researchers to dynamically adjust custom test lists used by
community networks of volunteers (needed in countries like Iran and

*## Userbase*

In June 2022, 38,147,681 OONI Probe measurements were collected from 2,833
AS networks in 170 countries around the world.

This information can also be found through our measurement stats on OONI
Explorer (see chart on “monthly coverage worldwide”):

~ OONI team.
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