Developing a Science of Internet Censorship Resistance: Opportunities and Challenges for Network Measurement

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 2:30 pm3:00 pm

Phillipa Gill, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, University of Massachusetts—Amherst


The Internet has become a critical communication infrastructure for citizens to obtain accurate information, organize political actions, and express dissatisfaction with their governments. This fact has not gone unnoticed, with governments clamping down on this medium via censorship, surveillance and even large-scale Internet take-downs. As online information controls become more common, circumvention researchers are left working tirelessly to stay one step ahead. In this talk, I will present my research which leverages network measurement as a basis to stay one step ahead in the censorship arms race. In this talk, I will overview how we measure Internet censorship and describe ICLab, our platform for measuring Internet censorship. I will then describe two case studies where ICLab has helped to understand filtering in Yemen and Iran. Specifically, I will describe how ICLab has been able to pinpoint specific products used for censorship and how it helped understand how sanctions impact users’ Internet experience in Iran.

Phillipa Gill, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, University of Massachusetts—Amherst

Phillipa Gill is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Massachusetts -- Amherst. Her work focuses on many aspects of computer networking and security with a focus on designing novel network measurement techniques to understand online information controls, network interference, and interdomain routing. She currently leads the ICLab project which is working to develop a network measurement platform specifically for online information controls. She was included on N2Women’s list of 10 women in networking to watch in 2016 and was recognized on MIT Tech Review’s list of top 35 innovators in 2017. She has received the NSF CAREER award, Google Faculty Research Award and best paper awards at the ACM Internet Measurement Conference (characterizing online aggregators), and Passive and Active Measurement Conference (characterizing interconnectivity of large content providers).

Presentation Video