Tag Archives: um

Ethics of Censorship Measurement

I gave a talk this past summer at DEFCON on the ethical quandary that continues to play a role in the academic discussion of network censorship measurement. Over the course of my phd studies, there was a significant arc of time where the community yielded to caution as the issues around ethics were better understood.

These issues have not gone away, and in the intervening six months since this talk, we’ve seen new groups re-develop techniques deemed problematic by the prevailing winds of the academic community.

Watch on Youtube

Slides

Corporate Censorship

One of the most interesting lines of inquiry within the Censored Planet project at the University of Michigan is trying to pull apart the different actors involved in Internet  censorship. One of the interesting quirks is that a significant factor in why content might not be available to users is that the web publisher themselves have limited who they’ll respond to.

This relates to existing phenomenons like increased balkanization of the web, where regions and nations promote domestic services and networks, but is as much a function of where lucrative markets are and a reaction to the background of fraud and malicious online traffic.

One outcome of this research is a set of measurements looking at how and where CDNs limit access, that will be presented tomorrow at IMC.

Like many parts of the Internet, a take-away here is that attribution is hard.

Initial Measurements of the Cuban Street Network

Internet access in Cuba is severely constrained, due to limited availability, slow speeds, and high cost. Within this isolated environment, technology enthusiasts have constructed a disconnected but vibrant IP network that has grown organically to reach tens of thousands of households across Havana. We present the first detailed characterization of this deployment, which is known as the SNET, or Street Network. Working in collaboration with SNET operators, we describe the network’s infrastructure and map its topology, and we measure bandwidth, available services, usage patterns, and user demographics. Qualitatively, we attempt to answer why the SNET exists and what benefits it has afforded its users. We go on to discuss technical challenges the network faces, including scalability, security, and organizational issues. To our knowledge, the SNET is the largest isolated community-driven network in existence, and its structure, successes, and obstacles show fascinating contrasts and similarities to those of the Internet at large.

Talks

The Internet in Cuba: A Story of Community Resilience. Chaos Communication Congress. 2017

Publication

P Pujol, Eduardo E., Will Scott, Eric Wustrow, and J. Alex Halderman. “Initial measurements of the cuban street network.” In Proceedings of the 2017 Internet Measurement Conference, pp. 318-324. ACM, 2017. Slides