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Server-Side Investigation: Characterizing and Measuring VPN Service Providers

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Current efforts to understand the state of censorship often neglects the existence of server-side blocking, monitoring, and tampering; especially when private companies such as VPN providers manipulate user communication based on the country the user is from.

The magnitude of this manipulation is unknown. The project will develop rigorous measurement methods to investigate VPN manipulation, build a system to continuously and globally collect data on the phenomenon, curate tools for mapping and comparative analyses of the data and provide the relevant analysis in a centralized and easily accessible repository. The project outputs will shed light on the traffic manipulation and discrimination of users using these VPN services and help censorship measurement better isolate the effects.

Current project status

Just an idea (Pre-alpha)
It exists! (Alpha/Beta)
It's basically done (Release)
People use it (Production)

Funding to date

2017 $250,000 22 months
Internet Freedom Fund

Total Funding: $250,000

Addressed problems

  • Blocking, filtering, or modification of political, social, and/or religious content (including apps)
  • Policies, laws, or directives that increase surveillance, censorship, and punishment

Objective(s)

  • Research
  • Software or hardware development

Beneficiaries

  • Academia
  • Technologists
  • Journalists
  • General public
  • Activists
  • Advocacy groups/NGOs

Region(s) archive

  • Global

Technology attributes

  • Web application