SoK: Towards Grounding Censorship Circumvention in Empiricism

TitleSoK: Towards Grounding Censorship Circumvention in Empiricism
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsTschantz, M. Carl, Afroz S., Anonymous, & Paxson V.
Published inIEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy

Effective evaluations of approaches to circumventing government Internet censorship require incorporating perspectives of how censors operate in practice. We undertake an extensive examination of real censors by surveying prior measurement studies and analyzing field reports and bug tickets from practitioners. We assess both deployed circumvention approaches and research proposals to consider the criteria employed in their evaluations and compare these to the observed behaviors of realcensors, identifying areas where evaluations could more faithfully and effectively incorporate the practices of modern censors. These observations lead to an agenda realigning research with the predominant problems of today.


We thank the numerous tool authors who responded to our questions about their evaluations and the anonymous reviewers of our submission. We gratefully acknowledge funding support from the Freedom 2 Connect Foundation, Intel, the National Science Foundation (grants 0424422, 1237265, 1223717, and 1518918), the Open Technology Fund, the US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The opinions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any funding sponsor or the United States Government.

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security