Our mission. Our tools. Our importance.
What is Censored Planet?
Censored Planet is a system for continuously monitoring global Internet disruption. It uses novel measurement techniques that remotely detect instances of interference almost anywhere on the Internet without end-user participation. Compared to previous approaches—which relied on having volunteers in highly censored regions deploy special hardware or software—this results in significantly better coverage, lower costs, and reduced ethical risk. This system allows us to continuously monitor the deployment of network interference technologies, track policy changes in censoring nations, and better understand the targets of interference. Making opaque censorship practices more transparent at a global scale could help counter the proliferation of growing restrictions to online freedom.
Our mission and how we achieve it
Our mission is to provide a suite of tools to scan various layers of the internet for disruptions. In doing this, we hope to provide the first fully comprehensive dataset of disrupted Internet content around the globe. We are working towards achieving this goal through our three flagship tools for detecting disruption in the Internet: Augur, Satellite, and Quack. Through these three tools, we are able to detect disruptions at the network, application, and DNS layer. Each of our tools is conscious of the sensitive nature of the work being conducted and takes major steps to ensure that only ethical servers are used. We are devoted to making the internet a completely free and open space and, because of this, we place the livelihoods of the people around the globe our project aims to help at the forefront of all of our efforts.
Why is our work important?
The research we conduct provides unique and hereto inaccessible insights and data points on Internet disruptions on a global scale. This information is extremely valuable to researchers in diverse fields from political science to computer science as well as to activists and journalists living and operating in countries that participate in Internet disruption. By providing our data to the public, we hope to encourage future research in the field.
Censored Planet is a lab at The University of Michigan and was founded by Professor Roya Ensafi.