Year in Review: OONI in 2023

As the end of 2023 approaches, we publish this post to share some OONI highlights from the last year. We also share some of the things we’ll be working on in 2024!

OONI Explorer

OONI is now a registered NGO in Italy!

2023 was an important year for OONI, as we created OONI’s first non-profit legal entity. As of May 2023, OONI is a non-profit organization registered in Rome, Italy.

We are excited about this development as it marks a new era of growth for OONI.

While OONI was born more than a decade ago in 2011-2012, it started off as a small project under the Tor Project. At the time, internet censorship started to increase in several countries during the Arab Spring, and Tor Project developers (including Arturo Filastò, OONI’s founder) were eager to understand how access to the Tor network was being blocked (to support circumvention efforts). To this end, they developed various scripts to measure Tor blocking. This resulted in the following ideas: What if anyone could run these scripts? What if these scripts measured more forms of censorship, beyond Tor blocking? And what if the results of these scripts could be published as open data so that everyone around the world could learn about (and respond to) internet censorship?

Ultimately, these ideas gave birth to the vision for OONI: creating an open framework with open methodologies for measuring internet censorship globally based on open data. This idea was a shift from how internet censorship research was being carried out at the time – most of which was based on closed source software and without openly available data, limiting the possibility for independent, third-party verification of the findings. OONI paved the way for an open approach to censorship research and to this day, remains one of the few projects that measure internet censorship globally based on free software tools and open data.

OONI’s growth and success over the past decade wouldn’t have been possible without the Tor Project, who supported us every step of the way. We eventually reached a point where OONI had evolved into a project with global reach and impact, with its own distinct community, raising the need to transition from a project to a non-profit organization. We were not ready to do that immediately (due to limited team capacity), so we sought temporary fiscal sponsorship from the Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights in 2020, while operating independently in terms of fundraising and governance. 

This year, we finally made the Big Step and established a legal entity for OONI, officially becoming a non-profit organization registered in Italy. We chose Rome because some of our team members in leadership positions are based there and it made sense from a bureaucratic perspective.

If you’re interested in supporting OONI in this moment of growth, please consider making a donation. You can also purchase OONI swag (such as t-shirts, mugs, water bottles, stickers, and tote bags) in support of OONI’s work, or become an OONI supporter.

New OONI Project Manager

As part of OONI’s growth, we hired a dedicated OONI Project Manager to help manage our software development work. In May 2023, we published a job opening and we had the opportunity to meet and interview multiple strong candidates for the position.

In August 2023, we were thrilled to welcome Jessie Bonisteel as our new Project Manager!

Jessie joined us with a wealth of both engineering management and project management expertise, having previously worked with organizations that include Tails and Mozilla. As part of her role as OONI’s Project Manager, Jessie manages our software development team, ensuring that our projects are on track and supporting a global community that relies on our tools for measuring internet censorship.

New OONI measurement tools

Launched OONI Probe Web

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Probe Web.

In March 2023, we launched OONI Probe Web: a new browser-based tool for measuring the blocking of websites.

We built OONI Probe Web in response to long-term community feedback, requesting a censorship measurement tool that can be run from a browser, without requiring the installation of any software. Our goal is to support rapid response efforts to emergent censorship events.

OONI Probe Web advances the state of the art of browser-based measurements, and we’re excited to improve upon it over the next few years. But due to limitations in the API available to web browsers, it’s not possible to run advanced experiments (like the OONI Probe Web Connectivity experiment). Therefore, OONI Probe Web should not serve as a replacement for the OONI Probe apps, but as a complementary tool.

Launched News Media Scan app with Deutsche Welle (DW)

OONI Explorer

Image: News Media Scan app by DW.

In October 2023, Deutsche Welle (DW) and OONI launched the Android News Media Scan app for measuring news media censorship.

In collaboration with DW, we developed an OONI Probe-based app (“News Media Scan”) designed to measure the blocking of news media websites. Similarly to OONI Probe, News Media Scan app test results are published by OONI as open data in real-time.

We are excited about this new app, as we expect that it will help boost news media censorship measurement worldwide, supporting efforts to defend press freedom around the world.

Building OONI Run v2

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Run.

This year, OONI became a Mozilla awardee and a member of the 2023 Mozilla Data Futures Lab cohort: five projects creating crowdsourced datasets for the public good. As part of this, we have been working on creating a new and improved version of OONI Run (“OONI Run v2”), addressing key community feedback and needs.

OONI Run is a web platform that you can use to generate mobile deep links and widget code to coordinate the OONI Probe testing of websites. You can share these links with a community of volunteers (who are OONI Probe mobile app users) so that they can test the websites of your choice, contributing measurements that are published as open data in real-time.

OONI Run therefore enables decentralized, community-driven efforts aimed at coordinating the testing of website blocking. The goal of this platform is to enable community members to independently coordinate on the testing of websites, particularly when new blocks emerge. All test results are published as open data in real-time, supporting research and advocacy efforts.

Community members often run such campaigns leading up to and during an election, or in response to emergent new blocks during protests or other political events. Sometimes, researchers coordinate with communities of OONI Probe volunteers for the testing of their custom lists of websites.

For example, Sinar Project used OONI Run to coordinate an OONI censorship measurement campaign in Malaysia to encourage the testing of election-related websites during the country’s 2022 general election. India’s Software Freedom Law Centre ( embedded OONI Run widgets into their India Internet Shutdown Tracker project website, encouraging long-term OONI Probe testing of news media, blogs, human rights, and political websites in India. Venezuela Inteligente coordinated with OONI Probe volunteers in different regions of Venezuela to measure (and respond to) temporary website blocks which emerged in correlation with political events.

To improve the OONI Run platform and better meet community needs, we previously conducted an OONI Run usability study, through which we documented extensive community feedback. In 2023, we made significant progress towards addressing the key community feedback and needs identified through our usability study to better support censorship rapid response efforts worldwide.

We aim to launch OONI Run v2 in 2024. Stay tuned!

New OONI Explorer features

Arguably, some of the biggest OONI highlights from 2023 are the new OONI Explorer features!

OONI Explorer is the world’s largest open dataset on internet censorship.

This data is contributed by OONI Probe users worldwide, who run censorship measurement tests on their local networks, contributing test results as open data in real-time. Since 2012, OONI Probe users have contributed more than a billion measurements from 26 thousand networks in 241 countries and territories, all of which is publicly available on OONI Explorer. Every day, as OONI Probe users continue to run tests, new measurements are openly published in real-time.

Below we share the new OONI Explorer features that we launched in 2023.

Censorship Findings: 22 reports

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Explorer Censorship Findings page.

In November 2023, we launched the OONI Explorer Censorship Findings page. This page provides short reports on internet censorship around the world based on OONI’s open data. Our goal is to support research and advocacy efforts aimed at monitoring and responding to internet censorship around the world.

We published the following 22 reports on internet censorship that emerged in 2023:

In response to emergent censorship events, the OONI Explorer Censorship Findings page will be updated with new reports on an ongoing basis.

Domain-centric pages

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Explorer domain-centric pages.

The new domain-centric pages on OONI Explorer enable you to easily discover which countries block access to a specific domain, and to compare the blocking of that domain between countries over time based on empirical network measurement data. These pages also feature the countries where the blocking of a domain is automatically confirmed blocked based on fingerprints. Please note though that some measurements may have inaccurate geolocation.  

If you are a website owner, you may find the domain-centric pages particularly useful for tracking the accessibility (and blocking) of your website around the world (if your website is included in test lists). Researchers and advocates can also benefit from tracking the blocking of specific domains through these new pages.

Network-centric pages

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Explorer network-centric pages.

Censorship often varies from network to network, and it’s worth gaining insight into how internet censorship is implemented on each network. We therefore created new network-specific pages on OONI Explorer which enable you to learn about all OONI Probe testing on a specific ASN. Over the past decade, OONI Probe users globally have run tests on more than 26,000 networks, and you can find dedicated measurement pages for each of these networks.

Through these network-specific pages, you can view the measurement coverage for each network – which is important for assessing censorship findings (i.e. the more measurements collected from a network, the greater the confidence in the findings). You can also view charts with aggregate results from the OONI Probe testing of websites, instant messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal), and circumvention tools (Psiphon, Tor, Tor Snowflake) on each network. The final section of these pages also includes a chart (integrating data from Georgia Tech’s Internet Outage Detection and Analysis (IODA) project, Google Transparency Reports (Google traffic data), and Cloudflare Radar) which shows whether that network is experiencing an internet outage.

User feedback reporting mechanism

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Explorer measurement including the “Verify” button.

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve OONI data quality, we launched a new feature that enables you to help out! With the new user feedback reporting mechanism, you can share feedback on OONI measurements. Such feedback will help us improve our methods for measurement and analysis, improving the overall quality of OONI data.

By clicking on the “Verify” button on the top right corner of OONI measurements, you can share feedback based on what you see in the measurement data. Specifically, based on the raw data of the measurement, you can let us know if the tested service is OK, blocked, or down (inaccessible, but not due to blocking).

This feature is primarily intended for experienced OONI Explorer users who are familiar with how OONI Probe experiments work, and who can interpret the raw network measurement data in OONI measurements.

Charts on internet outages

OONI Explorer

Image: Chart for monitoring internet outages in Italy based on IODA, Google traffic, and Cloudflare Radar data (source: OONI Explorer).

Blocks around the world often emerge before and/or after complete internet connectivity shutdowns (“internet outages”). When investigating internet outages, we refer to several third-party datasets that provide relevant signals: IODA, Google traffic, and Cloudflare Radar data.

To enable the internet freedom community to monitor internet outages based on these datasets, we added charts to OONI Explorer which integrate IODA, Google traffic, and Cloudflare Radar data. These “internet outage” charts are available in each country-specific and network-specific page of OONI Explorer.

You can refer to these charts to monitor internet outages affecting specific countries or networks, while viewing multiple datasets in one chart. We hope this helps support relevant research and advocacy efforts!


OONI research reports

In 2023, we published the following 10 research reports based on the analysis of OONI data:

Notably, we published two reports documenting cases of throttling (in Turkey and Kazakhstan) based on our new methodology. Many of our reports also made use of our (relatively new) data analysis tool for the automatic detection and characterization of censorship.

We collaborated with our partners on several of the above research reports. For example, our report on Russia was produced in collaboration with Roskomsvoboda, who contributed a wealth of information, translated the report to Russian, and enabled us to compare blocked domains with those in the blocking registry that they maintain. In collaboration with Cloudflare, Access Now and Laura Schwartz-Henderson, we published a research report documenting the social media blocks and network outages in Senegal amid political unrest. In addition to network measurement findings, the report also shares qualitative findings from affected communities in Senegal, discussing the impact of the disruptions.

Unfortunately, China started blocking OONI in July 2023. We will therefore prioritize improving OONI Probe resiliency to blocking going forward.

Beyond the above 10 research reports, we also published 22 reports on the new (aforementioned) OONI Explorer Censorship Findings page.

OONI reports for ISOC Pulse shutdown timeline

OONI Explorer

Image: ISOC Pulse Shutdowns timeline: Ethiopia February 2023 (source: ISOC Pulse).

As a data partner for ISOC’s Pulse shutdown project, we created “OONI reports’’ (with relevant OONI data, interpretation, and charts) for the “service blocking” entries listed on the Pulse shutdown timeline. Specifically, we wrote the “Data and analysis” section for all “service blocking” entries of the ISOC Pulse Shutdown timeline (where relevant OONI data exists) between March 2018 to February 2023.

In total, we wrote 49 OONI reports for the ISOC Pulse shutdown timeline. As part of this work, we found that OONI data is available for almost all blocking events reported worldwide over the last 5 years (at least based on those listed on the ISOC Pulse shutdown timeline).


This year, we received the Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI) 2023 Community Award, recognizing the impact of our work in the field of Internet freedom on the wider community.

We also had the opportunity to deliver a keynote at HotPETs 2023 on “The Power of Community Participation in Shaping Digital Rights Tech”. As part of this, we shared examples from OONI’s community-driven approach to global censorship measurement, demonstrating how and why there is power in involving communities from around the world in shaping digital rights protecting technology.

Below we share highlights from how we expanded our collaboration and support towards the global OONI community in 2023.

New partnerships

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Partners page.

In 2023, we had the opportunity to establish 8 new partnerships with the following organizations:

Overall, we now have partnerships with 49 digital rights organizations. Many of these partnerships are with digital rights organizations in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, with whom we collaborate on investigating internet censorship in their respective countries through the use of OONI tools and data. We also have partnerships with circumvention tool projects and international organizations that defend digital rights. Through these partnerships, we aim to support decentralized efforts in increasing transparency of internet censorship worldwide.

New OONI Outreach Kit

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Outreach Kit.

Community engagement is at the heart of our work, as the availability of OONI data on internet censorship depends on people running OONI Probe around the world.

Interested in engaging your community with OONI censorship measurement?

In March 2023, we published a new OONI Outreach Kit, which is now available in English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili.

Our Outreach Kit includes flyers, brochures, workshop slides and other resources that you can use as part of your OONI community engagement efforts!

Specifically, the Outreach Kit includes:

We hope you find these materials useful! We thank you for your OONI community engagement efforts, and we thank Ura Design for the beautiful design of the OONI Outreach Kit.

New OONI screencasts and documentation

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Explorer User Guide.

Beyond the OONI Outreach Kit, we created several new resources to support OONI community engagement efforts around the world.

In 2023, we published new screencasts for:

We also published the following new user guides and documentation:

We hope you find these new resources helpful!


OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Explorer in Chinese.

Significant localization efforts took place in 2023, making OONI tools and resources available in many new languages! Thanks to the Localization Lab community and several of our partners, OONI tools and resources are now accessible for many more communities worldwide.

OONI Explorer

Notably, we launched OONI Explorer with localization support! As a result, real-time open data on internet censorship worldwide is now available in multiple languages.

As of 2023, OONI Explorer is available in the following 14 languages (beyond English):


In 2023, OONI Run copy was uploaded to Transifex to enable its translation by the Localization Lab community, who worked towards translating the platform in 12 languages.

Notably, we launched OONI Run with localization support! OONI Run is now available in the following 9 languages (beyond English):

As a result, more communities can use the platform to coordinate censorship measurement campaigns around the world.

OONI Probe

OONI Probe is available in numerous languages, including Farsi, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Thai, Indonesian, Swahili, Spanish, and French – among many others.

Throughout 2023, the Localization Lab community continued to improve upon OONI Probe translations, and we released OONI Probe in 2 new languages: Burmese and Vietnamese.

OONI documentation

Thanks to our partners and the Localization Lab community, OONI documentation was translated into multiple languages in 2023!


New OONI Community Interviews

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI Community Interviews: Siti Nurliza.

To highlight the important work of our community and the interesting ways that community members make use of OONI tools and data, we started an “OONI Community Interviews” video series on our YouTube channel several years ago.

In 2023, we published 2 new OONI Community Interviews with:

We’ll be publishing more community interviews in 2024. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay tuned!

OONI workshops and presentations

OONI Explorer

Image: OONI booth at the 2023 Global Gathering in Portugal.

This year, we had the opportunity to share OONI’s work as part of numerous (online and in-person) conferences, workshops, and events.

Notably, we facilitated OONI workshops for a total of 521 participants around the world in 2023!

Throughout 2023, we presented OONI as part of the following conferences, events, and workshops:


Each year, community members make use of OONI tools and data in many interesting ways!

Some highlights of OONI-related activities by our community in 2023 include:

We thank our community for their amazing efforts!


OONI Explorer

Image: The OONI team in Nairobi, Kenya for the 2023 OONI Team Meeting.

We have many exciting projects lined up for 2024!

Some highlights include:

Our above priorities for 2024 have been informed by community feedback collected over the years (as well as in response to the dynamic censorship environment worldwide). If there are additional areas that you think we should prioritize, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

If you would like to support our work, please consider donating to OONI.

Warm thanks to the global OONI community for supporting our work throughout 2023!

We are grateful to every OONI Probe user out there, and we’re excited for 2024. Stay tuned!