Launch: New OONI Censorship Findings platformImage: OONI Censorship Findings platform.
Today we are thrilled to announce the launch of the OONI Censorship
Internet censorship is frequently being reported around the world, but
how can we verify such events with empirical evidence?
Our new platform provides short reports on internet censorship around the world based on OONI’s open data. With the launch of the platform, we are publishing 20 reports on internet censorship that emerged in 2023. In response to emergent censorship events, this
platform will be updated with new reports on an ongoing basis.
Learn more below.
If you’re not familiar with our work, the Open Observatory of Network
Interference (OONI) is a non-profit
free software project which started back in 2012. Our goal is to empower
decentralized efforts in increasing transparency of internet censorship
around the world.
To this end, we provide free and open source software – called OONI
Probe – which you can install
on your mobile or
desktop device to run
network measurement tests to
detect various forms of internet censorship. Since 2012, OONI Probe has
been run in 241 countries and territories, and users have contributed
more than a billion measurements which we publish
as open data. Every day, new
measurements from around the world are published in real-time, shedding
light on emergent censorship events.
We therefore maintain what is arguably the largest open dataset on internet censorship to date.
To enable researchers and human rights defenders to investigate and
respond to internet censorship based on OONI data, we created OONI Explorer (originally launched in 2016):
a web platform that includes a Search Tool for exploring the measurements, and a Measurement Aggregation Toolkit (MAT) for generating
charts based on OONI data. In collaboration with our
partners, we have published
85 research reports based on
the analysis of OONI data. Over the past decade, OONI data has
supported a wide range of research and advocacy efforts.
About OONI’s Censorship Findings platform
Today we are launching a new section on OONI Explorer: the Censorship Findings platform.
This platform provides short reports on emergent censorship events
around the world based on OONI data. Our goal is to support
research and advocacy efforts aimed at monitoring and responding to
internet censorship around the world.
With the launch of the platform, we published the following 20 reports on internet censorship events that emerged in 2023:
Each of the above reports links to relevant OONI data (that can serve as
evidence of internet censorship), providing charts that are generated
from our Measurement Aggregation Toolkit (MAT). The reports
also provide concise interpretation of OONI censorship measurement
Why did we create this platform since we already provide OONI Explorer and publish research reports?
Using the various OONI Explorer tools requires
knowing how to use them and what to
look for. The OONI Explorer MAT, for example,
is a powerful tool for those interested in digging through OONI data to
investigate internet censorship, corroborate reported cases, and
discover (potentially unreported) cases of internet censorship. But as
part of community feedback, we have learned that providing summary
information about key censorship findings is important for rapid
response efforts. And this is precisely what we are trying to achieve
with the Censorship Findings platform.
New censorship events frequently emerge worldwide on an ongoing basis,
but producing an in-depth
report and analysis on each
event (in a timely manner) is not easily scalable. Meanwhile, rapid
response efforts benefit from censorship findings that are easier and
quicker to consume.
Therefore, we created the Censorship Findings platform to
regularly provide short reports with summary information on emergent
censorship events based on OONI data and charts. We hope that this will
enable journalists and human rights defenders to more easily learn about
and respond to censorship events. Over time, we expect the platform will
become an archive of known censorship incidents from around the world
based on OONI network measurement data.
Currently, the Censorship Findings platform is
limited to censorship events that emerged in 2023. We plan to continue
publishing reports on an ongoing basis over the next years.
The platform does not include all censorship events that occurred in
2023, nor do we consider it possible to ever cover all censorship events
in all countries over time. Almost every country in the world
experiences some form of internet censorship, and many countries (such
pervasive levels of censorship that change on an ongoing basis.
Moreover, the availability of OONI data depends on whether, when, and
how frequently OONI Probe
users in a country run tests and contribute measurements. As a result,
OONI measurement coverage varies significantly from country to country, limiting our
ability to document and report on all censorship events.
The main criteria that influence which cases we report on the
- Impact. We prioritize censorship cases which have larger public impact, such a the blocking of popular instant messaging apps and social media platforms. As our goal is to defend human rights on the internet, we also aim to report on censorship cases that have an impact on human rights.
- Public interest. We aim to report on censorship cases that are of public iterest. For example, this includes cases involving the blocking of news media websites. We also take into account the censorship cases that are of interest to (and reported to us by) the digital rights community.
We acknowledge the potential for bias in our reporting selection. The
platform is our attempt to highlight some key censorship findings based
on OONI data, which we hope journalists, researchers, and human rights
defenders will find useful. We encourage you to also use OONI Explorer to discover
many more censorship events around the world!
We thank the OONI community around the world for contributing
measurements, making the creation of the Censorship Findings platform