[tor-project] OONI team's Status Report - March 2017

Arturo Filastò art at torproject.org
Mon Apr 17 09:40:02 UTC 2017

Hello Tor people,

Below is an update on what the OONI team has been up to in March 2017:

# OONI Monthly Report: March 2017

The OONI team made steady progress in March 2017. We published research
reports in collaboration with our Southeast Asian partners and we
participated in outreach and community engagement efforts. We released
ooniprobe 2.2.0 which features our new web UI, improvements based on
community feedback, and translations for 4 languages. We also developed
and released a new test that examines the reachability of Telegram.

Below we provide some highlights from OONI's activities in March 2017.

## Publication of research reports

Over the last months the OONI team has been collaborating with digital
rights organizations on the study of internet censorship in Southeast
Asia. In collaboration with our partners, we published the following
research reports in March:

1. The State of Internet Censorship in Thailand:
https://ooni.torproject.org/post/thailand-internet-censorship/ (OONI,
Sinar Project, Thai Netizen Network)

Over the last 4 months, ooniprobe was run across 16 local vantage points
in Thailand, through which we collected and analyzed    thousands of
network measurements with the aim of examining and uncovering recent
censorship events in the country. Our study also    includes an
examination of Thailand's legal environment and network landscape.

The key findings of our study confirm the blocking of 13 websites in
Thailand across 6 different ISPs, including the following types of sites:

* News outlets (nypost.com and dailymail.co.uk)

* wikileaks.org

* Circumvention tool sites (such as hotspotshield.com)

* Pornography

Thai ISPs appear to primarily be implementing censorship through DNS
hijacking and through the use of middle boxes (HTTP transparent proxies)
which serve block pages. Since sites were not found to be blocked across
all networks, Thai ISPs appear to be blocking websites at their own

On a positive note, the Tor network, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger
were found to be accessible across all 16 networks in Thailand where
tests were run during the testing period (6th November 2016 - 27th
February 2017).

2. The State of Internet Censorship in Myanmar:
https://ooni.torproject.org/post/myanmar-report/ (OONI, Sinar Project,
Myanmar ICT for Development Organization)

As part of our study, OONI software tests were run across 6 local
vantage points in Myanmar between 25th October 2016 and 28th    February
2017. These tests are designed to measure:

* Blocking of websites;
* Blocking of Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger;
* Blocking of Tor;
* Presence of middle boxes (i.e. systems that could be responsible for
censorship or surveillance).

Upon analysis of thousands of network measurements, we did not detect
any block pages that could confirm any cases of internet    censorship.
Five sites, however, including those of the U.S. embassy in Myanmar and
of the Organization of American States (OAS)    presented signs of
TCP/IP and HTTP blocking.

While OONI software tests detected the presence of Blue Coat software
(some types of which can potentially be used for internet    censorship
and surveillance) in Myanmar back in 2012, we did not detect the
presence of this software in any of the 6 networks where  tests were
performed. On another positive note, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and
the Tor Network were found to be accessible in all 6 networks in Myanmar
throughout the testing period.

3. Examining internet blackouts through public data sources:

In response to community requests for the need of a methodology for
measuring internet blackouts, OONI released a post which explains how we
examine internet blackouts through public data sources.

This post also includes an ipython notebook which shows how to
automatically analyze Google traffic data with the aim of identifying
internet blackouts:

## Stable release of ooniprobe 2.2.0

The OONI team worked towards the release of ooniprobe 2.2.0 in March.
The latest version of ooniprobe includes:

* Re-designed web UI

* New IM test for Telegram

* Improvements to ooniprobe based on community feedback

* Translations in 4 languages: Spanish, French, Italian and Hindi

Full release notes can be found here:

## Progress on data processing pipeline

Throughout March OONI made a lot of progress on our data processing
pipeline. We have been running the new iteration of the pipeline in
parallel to the current pipeline and fixing various issues that we have
been encourtering along the way.

## Outreach and community engagement

The OONI team participated at the following events in March as part of
its outreach and community engagement efforts:

* Vietnam Cyber Dialogue (VCD) -- Valencia, Spain: 5th March 2017

* Internet Freedom Festival (IFF) -- Valencia, Spain: 6th-10th March 2017

* Iran Cyber Dialogue (ICD) -- Brussels, Belgium: 27th-28th March 2017

* RightsCon -- Brussels, Belgium: 29th-31st March 2017

As part of these events, the OONI team facilitated the following OONI

1. OONI Knowledge-sharing session -- Vietnam Cyber Dialogue (5th March)

2. OONI Skill-sharing session -- Vietnam Cyber Dialogue (5th March)

3. "Investigating Information Controls with OONI" -- Internet Freedom
Festival (7th March)

4. "Building Community Resources for Censorship Measurement Research" in
collaboration with the Citizen Lab -- Internet Freedom Festival (9th March)

5. "Measuring internet censorship during the Iranian elections" -- Iran
Cyber Dialogue (28th March)

6. "Advances in measuring internet shutdowns" --- RightsCon (29th March)

7. "Collecting evidence of internet censorship in Southeast Asia and
beyond" in collaboration with Sinar Project -- RightsCon (30th March)

We published a blog about the above here:

In addition, the OONI team also attended the Tor Meeting in Amsterdam
between 23rd-26th March. This provided the OONI team with the
opportunity to work on its roadmap for the next 6 months.

Finally, the OONI team hosted an OONI Community Meeting on
https://slack.openobservatory.org/ on 21st March. As part of the
meeting, the following agenda items were discussed:

1. How to set up a script to check websites accessibility via Tor
Browser. It would be great to store the records on a website to stress
the importance of a smooth and troubleless Tor user-experience online,
pushing websites to allow Tor-users more access.

2. Brainstorming on ways to improve measurements in at-risk countries.

3. Discussion on how one can run custom tests, decks and inputs via

4. Discussion on setting up a large deployment in India to detect
region-specific mobile censorship.   

## Userbase

In March 2017 ooniprobe was run 84,829 times from 2,271 different
vantage points across 170 countries around the world.

This information can also be found through our stats here:

~ The OONI team

More information about the tor-project mailing list