Open Observatory of Network Interference
May 1, 2012 12:14 AM   Subscribe

Tor developers Arturo Filasto and Jacob Appelbaum's OONI project seeks to provide "an accurate representation of network interference" such as website blocking, surveillance, and selective bandwidth slowdowns on the Filternet, aka the internet. Their OONI-probe software tool has already exposed T-Mobile USA's "Web Guard" mobile internet censorship program and Palestinian Authority's censorship of opposition websites, leading to the resignation of the MP overseeing the project. (main git repo)

There are of course various projects aimed at exposing internet censorship, like HerdictWeb and OpenNet Initiative (previously), but apparently OONI is the first to release open source tools aimed at helping people detect censorship.
posted by jeffburdges (8 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Fascinating project.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:41 AM on May 1, 2012

Some of the sites blocked by the T-Mobile Web Guard (Guard? lol) are strange:, Cosmo, a French tv guide, an Italian Womens website, Polish sports website, and among others.

This is Corporate fascism, shurely, when T-Mobile decide what you can look at on the internet.
posted by marienbad at 1:44 AM on May 1, 2012

This is Corporate fascism, shurely, when T-Mobile decide what you can look at on the internet.

Or you could not turn it on. It's off by default on everything except pay as you go accounts for a single phone, and it's trivial to disable.

Monthly4G T-Mobile Sidekick® accounts are activated with Web Guard enabled.

While the error page doesn't tell you how to disable it, half a second of googling got me that page as the first result.
posted by zabuni at 3:38 AM on May 1, 2012

and stop calling me shurely.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:03 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

The main site seems to be down. Does anyone know generally how this tool works?
posted by enn at 6:38 AM on May 1, 2012

Some of the sites blocked by the T-Mobile Web Guard (Guard? lol) are strange: gets blocked by most setups of this type, because allowing allows you to trivially visit any other website which is blocked (albeit at least 6 months old in this case). The come under the category of proxies, if you don't block them there's not much point trying to block anything else. Either that or your blocking algorithm has to get an order of magnitude more complicated.
posted by robertc at 6:55 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

There is a confusing "go to secure site" link that takes you to their .onion address, which requires Tor, but that site doesn't offer anything more, enn. You must instead obtain the OONI-probe python scripts from github.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:56 AM on May 1, 2012

This bit from the Forbes article is misleading:

The Palestinian Authority minister responsible resigned three days later.

If you follow the Jerusalem Post link and read the original Maan News scoop, you find the minister who resigned was actually one who publicly criticized the censorship and clearly stated the Palestinian Authority's attorney general was responsible and the censorship was implemented over his (the minister's) objections.

So, this particular resignation is most likely more a sign of the consolidation of power of the censors than any victory for free expression. Strange of Forbes to obscure that.
posted by mediareport at 7:27 AM on May 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

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