Year in Review: OONI in 2022

As the end of 2022 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 2023!


2022 was an exciting year for the OONI team, as we hired 5 new people!

During this year, we had the opportunity to welcome:

We are excited to have grown and diversified our team, improving our capacity to support the internet freedom community in investigating internet censorship over the next years.

In 2022, we had the opportunity to serve as the host organization for three OTF Information Controls Research Fellows: Ain Ghazal, Gurshabad Grover, and Kathrin Elmenhorst. Throughout their 1-year research fellowships with OONI, Ain designed methods for measuring VPN blocking, while Gurshabad studied the legal and technical infrastructure of censorship in Asia. During her 3-month research fellowship with OONI, Kathrin investigated HTTP/3 censorship and published a blog post sharing her findings.

During the summer of 2022, we also had the opportunity to host two Google Summer of Code (GSoC) students: Germa Vinsmoke and Mehul Gulati. Germa worked on OONI Explorer and Design System improvements, while Mehul worked on OONI Probe network experiments.

In early November 2022, we hosted the first in-person OONI Team Meeting (in Rome, Italy) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this 3-day meeting, we improved our roadmaps and discussed strategic priorities and implementation details for many new systems we’ll be building over the next few years.

OONI Probe

New OONI Probe experiments

In 2022, we shipped the following new experiments:

You can run these experiments through the OONI Probe apps. The Tor Snowflake experiment provides an automated way of measuring whether the Tor Snowflake pluggable transport works on a tested network, while the Vanilla Tor experiment measures the reachability of the Tor network. Our DNS Check experiment measures the reachability of encrypted DNS (DoH/DoT) services, and has been used to support research on DoH/DoT blocking in Kazakhstan, Iran, and China.

We also designed several other experiments (including DNS Ping, TCP Ping, TLS Ping, and simple QUIC Ping) and we made numerous, significant data quality improvements.

Notably, we designed new methods to improve how we measure website blocking. Our new methods enumerate all forms of website blocking, including support for HTTP/3, enabling the collection of richer data. We aim to incrementally ship these new methods as part of our Web Connectivity experiment over the next year.

New Test Lists Editor

In July 2022, we launched a new Test Lists Editor! This platform enables the public to review and contribute to the lists of websites (“test lists”) that are tested for censorship by OONI Probe users around the world.

Through this web platform, community members can add websites for OONI Probe testing, edit existing entries (for example, to change a website’s categorization or to update a URL), or propose the deletion of URLs. By enabling community members to dynamically contribute to and update the test lists, we aim to improve the quality of website censorship testing, supporting rapid response efforts to emergent censorship events.

OONI Run improvements

Based on community feedback, we made a series of improvements to OONI Run: a platform that you can use to generate mobile deep links and widget code to coordinate OONI Probe testing. We limited the OONI Run platform to website testing and we made improvements to the user interface.

To meet the needs of researchers performing custom testing, we designed and implemented a minimal version of the next generation version of OONI Run (“OONI Run v2”) that enables community members to run OONI Run links without backend support. We made this functionality available to miniooni users with the goal of enabling community members to start experimenting with this new OONI Run version and collect feedback that can support further development and design decisions. We also introduced a command line flag which enables users to repeat a measurement every given number of seconds.

We aim to continue to make improvements to OONI Run over the next year to further address community feedback.

OONI Probe Web prototype

In response to community requests, we built a browser-based version of OONI Probe (“OONI Probe Web”). Given that OONI Probe Web does not require the installation of software and can be run from a web browser, we hope that it can help support rapid response efforts.

We plan to launch OONI Probe Web in 2023. Stay tuned!

OONI data

1 billion measurements

On 6th October 2022, OONI published the 1 billionth measurement!

Since 2012, the OONI community has contributed more than 1 billion measurements from 25 thousand networks in 241 countries and territories. All such measurements are published as open data in real-time, shedding light on censorship events worldwide.

In 2022, we completed the migration of our infrastructure to the ClickHouse database, which enables the real-time processing and publication of OONI Probe measurements collected from around the world.

New OONI Measurement Aggregation Toolkit (MAT)

In April 2022, we launched the OONI Measurement Aggregation Toolkit (MAT)! This tool enables you to track internet censorship worldwide in real-time and create charts based on aggregate views of OONI data.

Through the MAT, you can plot charts to compare censorship between countries and networks, you can check the blocking of websites and apps globally or in specific countries, and you can check which categories of websites (e.g. news media, LGBTIQ, environmental, human rights) are blocked in each country.

Earlier this year, for example, the MAT showed that Iran started blocking Instagram on 21st September 2022, during the ongoing protests.

Over the past year, the MAT has enabled OONI and other internet freedom community members to monitor and rapidly respond to many other censorship events. Examples include the blocking of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp in Sri Lanka (April 2022), as well as the blocking of PayPal, Yahoo, Steam, Origin, Epic Games, and Dota2 in Indonesia (July 2022).

New Circumvention Tool Reachability Dashboard

In 2022, we launched a new Circumvention Tool Reachability Dashboard! This tool provides charts with aggregate views of real-time OONI data from the reachability testing of Psiphon, Tor, and Tor Snowflake. Through this platform, you can easily discover whether these circumvention tools work around the world, or whether they’re presenting signs of potential blocking.

Advancing OONI data analysis

In 2022, we created a new data analysis tool for exposing anomaly details of website measurements and characterizing website blocking. Some of the building blocks for designing this tool were applied in practice as part of our investigation into emergent website blocks in Russia, where we were able to characterize the blocking methods across ISPs.

The high level architecture of this new data analysis tool is that of transforming the raw network measurements coming from OONI Probes into normalized and post-processed “Observations”. These Observations are “time stamped” statements about some network condition that was observed by a particular vantage point. These observations are then in turn post-processed to generate what we call an “Experiment result”, which attributes to a set of observations from an individual test run a series of outcomes with an associated level of confidence.

In order to reach a design that would be flexible enough to be expanded, but also performant enough to run in a reasonable amount of time, we implemented several prototype iterations of this design. Throughout the process we carried out benchmarks of key components to identify any performance bottlenecks, working to resolve them. The last iteration, based on some cursory benchmarks, should be able to generate observations from raw OONI measurements in less than a week and re-generate all experiment results in about a day, running on a single machine.

Through this data analysis tool (which anyone can run on their own computer pointing it at the raw public OONI dataset), it’s possible to gain a much deeper understanding about the root cause of a blocking event, and to carry out more advanced research that might not be captured by the existing analysis.

The new design is an important shift in how we view results from OONI measurements and we are confident that it will allow us to characterize blocks in a much richer way. It also opens the door for empowering researchers to carry out more advanced censorship investigations using our datasets.


In 2022, we published the following research reports based on the analysis of OONI data:

We also published the following blog posts to share our findings from research papers:

In response to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’s call for submissions in support of the OHCHR report on internet shutdowns and human rights to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2022, we provided a submission with relevant information on the occurrence of mandated disruptions of access to social media and messaging platforms over the past 5 years based on empirical OONI network measurement data.

Through our submission, we shared OONI data and information on social media blocks that occurred during elections in Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, Benin, Togo, Burundi, and Zambia over the last 5 years. We also shared information on social media blocks that occurred during protests in Pakistan, Jordan, Iran, Zimbabwe, and Cuba. Moreover, we shared OONI data and information on social media blocks that emerged during sensitive political time periods in Ethiopia, Myanmar, and Venezuela.


New online OONI training course

To support OONI community engagement efforts worldwide, we created an online OONI training course which was launched on Small Media’s Advocacy Assembly platform.

This 90-minute free, online training course provides a deep-dive into measuring internet censorship with OONI Probe, and using OONI Explorer to access and interpret real-time OONI data collected from around the world. Designed for human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and researchers, the course includes a mix of videos, screencasts, slides, quizzes and hands-on exercises. It also features case study videos from OONI community members, and the course is available in English, Arabic, Spanish, and Farsi.

New community resources

In 2022, we created several new resources to support OONI community engagement efforts around the world.

We published new screencasts for:

We published new user guides and documentation for:

We also updated the user guides for OONI Probe Mobile, OONI Probe Desktop, and OONI Probe CLI, and we updated our general test list documentation.

To better meet community needs (particularly around OONI community engagement), we created educational materials and resources for a new OONI Outreach Kit. We plan to publish this Outreach Kit in 2023.

To help ensure a safe and inclusive environment for the global OONI community, we created a new Incident Response Committee with the goal of improving OONI’s Code of Conduct (CoC) and addressing any CoC violations when they occur. In collaboration with the Committee and based on community feedback collected from several meetings, we re-wrote and published a new version of OONI’s Code of Conduct (CoC).


Thanks to the Localization Lab community, OONI Probe has been translated to numerous languages, including Farsi, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Thai, Indonesian, Swahili, Spanish, and French – among many other languages. Throughout 2022, the community continued to improve upon OONI Probe translations, updating 47 languages. We updated our OONI Probe localization guidelines to support translation efforts.

In 2022, OONI Explorer copy was uploaded to Transifex to enable its translation by the Localization Lab community, who worked towards translating the platform in 21 languages. OONI Explorer has already been translated to Farsi, Turkish, Russian, Burmese, Spanish, and Chinese, among other languages. To support translation efforts, we published new OONI Explorer localization guidelines.

We also uploaded the OONI Probe Mobile and OONI Probe Desktop user guides to Transifex, both of which have already been fully translated to Farsi and Russian.

We thank the Localization Lab for bringing OONI censorship measurement to communities worldwide!

OONI’s 10th Anniversary

On 5th December 2022, we celebrated OONI’s 10th Anniversary!

Ten years ago, on 5th December 2012, we published the first OONI measurement. Thanks to our global community, we have now published more than a billion measurements collected from 25 thousand networks in 241 countries and territories, shedding light on internet censorship around the world.

As the OONI community has always been at the heart of our work, we consider it essential that community needs continue to inform OONI’s future goals and priorities. We therefore circulated a survey to collect community feedback that can help shape OONI’s strategic priorities for the future. We thank all community members for their valuable feedback!

In celebration of OONI’s 10th anniversary, we hosted two live-streamed events:

To mark the 10-year milestone, we also published:

Huge thanks to everyone who has supported OONI over the past decade!

OONI workshops and presentations

In 2022, we attended our first in-person conferences and events since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the conferences, workshops, and events that we attended though were hosted entirely online.

Throughout 2022, we presented OONI as part of the following conferences, events, and workshops:


2022 was a particularly challenging year for many community members in countries like Ukraine, Russia, and Iran, and our hearts go out to them.

We thank the global OONI community for continuing to contribute many measurements from most countries and territories around the world.

Some highlights of OONI activities by our community in 2022 include:

We thank our community for their amazing efforts!


We have many exciting projects lined up for 2023!

Some highlights include:

Our above priorities for 2023 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 2022!

We are grateful to every OONI Probe user out there, and we’re excited for 2023. Stay tuned!