iThena integration of OONI Probe boosts censorship measurement coverage worldwide

Over the last months, the iThena project integrated OONI Probe into their platform, resulting in a major spike in OONI censorship measurement coverage around the world.

In this blog post, we’re excited to introduce you to iThena and discuss how they helped support censorship measurement worldwide.

About iThena

iThena, developed by the Cyber-Complex Foundation, is a distributed computation and measurement project based on the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) platform. iThena aims to generate a dynamic topological model of the Internet, based on measurements from distributed devices.

To this end, iThena maps network structures by performing a sequence of traceroute procedures and performance tests from client stations (BOINC) and other nodes. The resulting data is sent back to their server and submitted to their main database, where it is further analyzed. Based on this data, iThena plans to publish network structure mapping summaries.

In the meanwhile, you can refer to their data visualization which shows iThena data transmissions from around the world (during a period of 120 seconds, collected within the past 5 minutes).

iThena data map

Image: iThena data map,

OONI Probe integration into iThena

Our app, OONI Probe, is free and open source software designed to measure internet censorship and other forms of network interference. Every month, OONI Probe is run by tens of thousands of users in more than 150 countries and territories, who contribute network measurements that are openly published in real-time.

Currently, OONI Probe includes tests designed to measure:

In September 2021, OONI Probe was integrated into the iThena platform. As a result, users who participate in iThena measurements automatically run OONI Probe on a regular basis. Their OONI Probe measurements are automatically submitted to OONI servers, processed, and openly published by OONI in real-time.

Thanks to iThena’s integration of OONI Probe, OONI measurement coverage has increased significantly! The following chart shows the global volume of OONI measurement coverage by platform over the last months, illustrating the major spike in coverage by iThena’s OONI Probe client (beginning from September 2021).

OONI measurement coverage by platform

Figure 1: Global OONI measurement coverage by platform between July 2021 to December 2021.

As is evident from the above chart, the iThena OONI Probe client is the distinct client contributing the largest volume of measurements.

As iThena OONI Probe measurements are primarily contributed from servers in datacenters (leased from hosting companies by iThena project users), the hosts used to run OONI Probe experiments have a much better uptime in comparison to OONI Probe clients which are run from the personal devices of volunteers. Moreover, the Linux version of OONI Probe which has been integrated into the iThena platform is currently configured to run automated tests every 12 hours, whereas automated testing on other OONI Probe clients is not always as regular (since it depends on users’ mobile devices being connected to power and WiFi, and manually enabling the automated testing setting in the OONI Probe app). Software compilations for 32-bit, 64-bit and ARM processors are available for iThena OONI Probe.

Overall, iThena OONI Probe measurements are contributed from 38 countries (covering 172 AS networks), as illustrated in the following chart.

iThena OONI Probe measurement coverage by country

Figure 2: iThena OONI Probe measurement coverage by country between September 2021 to December 2021

The above chart demonstrates that the largest volume of iThena OONI Probe measurements is contributed from the U.S. (with 7,606,694 measurements), followed by Germany (6,430,573 measurements), Spain (3,234,386 measurements), the UK (2,003,058 measurements), France (1,890,631 measurements), and the Netherlands (1,240,740 measurements).

It’s worth highlighting that iThena OONI Probe measurement coverage also includes several countries which are known to experience more pervasive levels of internet censorship, such as Russia (178,584 measurements) and China (6,881 measurements).

We are thrilled by iThena’s OONI Probe integration because it contributes a large volume of stable measurements from around the world on a regular basis. OONI data contributed by iThena will help support longitudinal studies on internet censorship around the world, as well as advocacy efforts in response to emergent censorship events.

We therefore thank the iThena project for integrating OONI Probe, boosting OONI measurement coverage, and supporting the research and advocacy efforts of the global internet freedom community.

We encourage other projects to consider integrating OONI Probe as well! If you are interested in integrating OONI Probe into your platform, please start off by reaching out to the OONI team. You can send an email to, and/or message us on the OONI Slack channel. We would love to be in touch with you to discuss which integration approaches would work best based on the architecture of your platform, and so that we can coordinate on an ongoing basis and assist where we can.