[tor-talk] New OONI & Amnesty report: Evidence of internet censorship in Ethiopia
maria at openobservatory.org
Wed Dec 14 09:46:51 UTC 2016
Hi Tor community,
Today OONI and Amnesty International released a joint report that
examines internet censorship events in Ethiopia from June to October
2016, in the midst of heavy protests and leading up to the country's
state of emergency.
You can find the report via the following links:
You can also find the *pdf* version of the report here:
As part of our study, OONI conducted network measurement tests in
Ethiopia with the help of anonymous researchers and Amnesty
International collected testimonies pertaining to censorship events
through interviews with Ethiopians. We were able to corroborate reports
on censorship events with technical data that now serves as *evidence*
of such events.
Our key findings show:
1. *WhatsApp was blocked* during the protests.
2. *Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)* technology was used to block access to
*ecadforum.com*, a major Ethiopian news website.
3. *16 different news websites appeared to be censored* in similar
fashion to ecadforum.com, indicating that they were likely blocked by
DPI technology as well.
4. Amongst the various different types of websites that appear to have
been blocked during the protests are the following:
- *LGBTI websites*.
- *Sites advocating for free expression*.
- *News outlets and online forums*.
- *Armed groups and political opposition websites*.
- *Circumvention tool websites *(including *torproject.org* and
*psiphon.ca*). However, we did not find tor software itself being
blocked, and Tor Metrics data indicates that there was an increased
usage of tor software over the last months (possibly due to increased
5. Third-party data (such as Google transparency reports) clearly shows
that there was an *internet shutdown in Ethiopia in August* in the midst
of heavy protests. While Ethiopians also reported a mobile shutdown in
October, third-party data does not show a total shutdown, but that there
was a decrease in the overall traffic originating from Ethiopia during
that month (indicating that some networks might have been shut down in
Many of the censorship events detected as part of this study can now
potentially be justified by the Ethiopian government under the state of
emergency. However, it's important to emphasize that WhatsApp, news
outlets, online forums, and various other websites were found to be
filtered /prior/ to the state of emergency declaration, and in the midst
of heavy protests.
OONI data can serve as evidence of such censorship events, and it can be
found here: *https://explorer.ooni.torproject.org/country/ET
*Please contact us with any questions you may have.
All the best,
Research and Partnerships Coordinator
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
PGP Key Fingerprint: 2DC8 AFB6 CA11 B552 1081 FBDE 2131 B3BE 70CA 417E
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