Year in Review: OONI in 2018

As the new year begins, we publish this post to share some OONI highlights from 2018. We also share some of the exciting new projects we’ll be launching in 2019!

New partnerships

Our network of partners grew significantly in 2018!

Throughout the year, we had the opportunity to establish 8 new partnerships with the following digital rights organizations:

With our growing coalition of more than 20 digital rights organizations, we will continue to measure and report on internet censorship around the world.

Research publications

In collaboration with our partners, we published the following 10 research reports:

We also published:

Dev work behind the scenes

The OONI software ecosystem is quite big, consisting of multiple different, but interdependent, software projects (expanding beyond user-facing apps).

During 2018, OONI developers worked on improving upon and maintaining existing software projects, in addition to creating new ones.

Below we list some of the exciting new software projects we expect to launch in 2019!

Revamped OONI Probe mobile app

Earlier this week, we launched a revamped version of the OONI Probe mobile app!

Since “a picture is worth a thousand words”, here’s a comparison of the old vs. new app:

OONI Probe Mobile: Old vs. New

We spent most of 2018 revamping the OONI Probe mobile app to improve its usability and include new features.

Ever since we first launched the OONI Probe mobile app (back in February 2017), we have been collecting community feedback on an ongoing basis (through monthly community meetings, workshops, daily interactions with partners, etc). To collect community feedback in a more structured way, we:

The feedback that we collected and analyzed from the usability studies informed the design and development of the OONI Probe mobile app. In November 2018, we released the public beta of the revamped app.

You can now install the stable version.

Revamped OONI Explorer

OONI Explorer is likely the largest, publicly-available, dataset on internet censorship to date.

Consisting of millions of network measurements collected from thousands of networks from more than 200 countries since 2012, OONI Explorer serves as a growing, public archive on network interference around the world. But the current version of OONI Explorer could benefit from a series of improvements (we have collected lots of community feedback on this over the years).

To this end, we started working on revamping OONI Explorer entirely.

We are excited that Sarath M S joined the OONI team in 2018! He has since been developing the new and improved OONI Explorer.

We expect to launch the revamped version of OONI Explorer by mid-2019… so stay tuned!

New OONI Probe desktop apps

In 2018, we started building OONI Probe desktop apps.

These apps are a big step forward compared to the previously released macOS and Linux web UI, as they feature a more native platform integration and will be supporting Windows computers as well.

Our aim is to ensure that OONI Probe is not only available on more platforms, but that it is also as easy to install and use as possible.

We released a beta version of the OONI Probe desktop apps for Windows and macOS in 2018, and plan to launch the apps in 2019.

Probe Orchestration

We have been working on creating the OONI Probe Orchestration System to dynamically instrument the collection of OONI Probe measurements around the world, particularly in response to emergent censorship events.

Throughout 2018, we made a fair amount of progress on implementing unattended Probe Orchestration, which means that OONI Probe deployments would be “smart enough” to know when it’s the right moment to run certain tests.

The specification and design of Probe Orchestration received a security audit and we are planning to roll it out in production in 2019.

OONI workshops and presentations

As part of our community engagement and outreach activities in 2018, we facilitated workshops and presented OONI at the following conferences and events around the world:


We started experimenting with the creation of videos! In 2018, we set up an OONI YouTube channel, where we published the following:

We also interviewed many other community members and plan to publish their interviews on our YouTube channel in 2019.

Expanding OONI-verse

The OONI-verse expands beyond the projects that the core OONI team works on.

For starters, projects like OONI Explorer would not be possible without the tens of thousands of community members who run OONI Probe every day, contributing measurements to us and to the world.

In 2018, OONI Probe was run in around 210 countries every month, covering more than 5,000 networks. This expanded coverage (in comparison to previous years) is evident through our stats:

OONI Probe usage stats

We thank every single OONI Probe user out there.

We are also excited to see communities take leadership, engaging their local communities with OONI Probe and OONI data.

Malaysia’s Sinar Project, for example, has been engaging journalists and human rights defenders across Southeast Asia with censorship measurement research over the last years. They recently organized and hosted the OONI Southeast Asia Regional Workshop, engaging local communities from Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam with the use of OONI Probe and OONI data (particularly within the context of election monitoring).

These initiatives help decentralize OONI and strengthen the global fight against internet censorship. We hope to see more local community initiatives in 2019!