Year in Review: OONI in 2017
As the end of 2017 approaches, we publish this blog to share some OONI highlights from the last year. We also share some of the things we’ll be working on in 2018!
OONI Probe mobile apps
In February 2017, measuring internet censorship with OONI Probe suddenly became easier than ever before! With the launch of the OONI Probe mobile apps, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world started testing their networks for censorship. Thanks to their testing, millions of measurements have been collected (and published) from thousands of local vantage points in more than 200 countries, shedding light on numerous cases of internet censorship.
We consider the launch of the OONI Probe mobile apps an important landmark since it opened up the possibility for anyone (regardless of their technical skills) to join a global movement that monitors (and responds to) information controls on the internet.
Speed and performance tests
New tests were released along with the launch of the OONI Probe mobile apps:
Network Diagnostic Test (NDT): Measures network speed and performance
Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH): Measures video streaming performance
We’re excited about these tests because they can potentially help identify net neutrality violations. We recently joined forces with Fight for the Future to monitor potential net neutrality violations in the U.S. through the collection and analysis of OONI Probe network measurements.
We often hear of censorship events around the world, but measuring networks in those countries may not always be easy or feasible. In 2017, global coordination on censorship measurement research likely became a whole lot easier!
With the launch of OONI Run, you can engage others with censorship measurement tests by simply sharing a URL generated from the platform. This URL can include the OONI Probe tests of your choice, as well as the sites that you’re interested in testing for censorship. Anyone who clicks on this URL will be prompted to install the OONI Probe mobile app to run the tests and test the sites you have chosen.
Interested in knowing whether your site is blocked? With OONI Run, you can also monitor the accessibility of the sites you care about! We provide widget code that you can embed to have your site tested by the global OONI Probe community.
We’re particularly excited about OONI Run because it can help support evidence-based monitoring of global censorship events and rapid response by the internet freedom community.
Dynamically updated everyday with measurements collected from all across the globe (and consisting of millions of measurements collected since 2012), the OONI API is probably the largest public database on internet censorship to date.
We publish all measurements we collect to:
Increase transparency of internet censorship
Enable third parties to independently analyze OONI data and verify findings
Support reproducible research
We encourage data scientists and researchers to download and analyze OONI measurements to uncover cases of network interference.
OONI Partner Gathering
Over the last year and a half, we have had the opportunity to establish partnerships with digital rights organizations from around the world. In July 2017, we hosted the first OONI Partner Gathering.
This two-day event was held at the University of Toronto and brought together our partners from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia to share skills, knowledge, and findings on the study of internet censorship.
In collaboration with our partners, we published the following research reports based on the analysis of OONI network measurements:
OONI in 2018
Many of the things we worked on in 2017 were possible thanks to our passionate community. We would therefore like to express our gratitude by sharing and encouraging feedback for some of the upcoming things we’ll be working on in 2018. These include:
New OONI Probe desktop apps for Windows and macOS: Our aim is to build desktop apps that are as easy to install and use as popular software, enabling more communities to engage with censorship measurement research.
Censorship Alert System: We aim aim to disseminate timely alerts of emergent censorship events around the world through the analysis of OONI data.
Internet Blackout Monitoring methodology: We’ll be creating a methodology for automatically detecting and examining internet blackouts (i.e. when the internet as a whole is rendered inaccessible), supporting #KeepItOn and other advocacy efforts.
OONI Probe Orchestration System (OPOS): Dynamically instrumenting the collection of OONI Probe measurements from around the world, particularly in response to emergent censorship events.
Revamped OONI Explorer: We’ll be revamping OONI Explorer to improve upon its design and usability, enable the export of CSV files, and to present the top censorship findings per country based on OONI data (which will automatically be updated on an ongoing basis).
Revamped mobile apps: We’ll be revamping the OONI Probe mobile apps to improve upon their design and usability, and to include more tests.
Revamped OONI website: We’ll also be revamping the OONI website to improve upon its design and usability and to include more content pages.
Research reports: We’re eager to form more partnerships with digital rights organizations around the world and to publish more research reports on internet censorship.
Happy new year, and stay tuned!