[tor-project] OONI Monthly Report: February 2024


This email shares OONI’s monthly report for February 2024.

# OONI Monthly Report: February 2024

Throughout February 2024, the OONI team worked on the following sprints:

  • Sprint 110 (1st-11th February 2024)
  • Sprint 111 (12th - 25th February 2024)

Our work can be tracked through the various OONI GitHub repositories: https://github.com/ooni

Highlights are shared in this report below.

## New partnership with Digital Rights Foundation Pakistan

In February 2024, we had the opportunity to formally establish a partnership with Digital Rights Foundation (https://digitalrightsfoundation.pk/), a leading digital rights organization in Pakistan. As part of this partnership, we aim to collaborate on the study of internet censorship.

## Published report on blocks in Pakistan ahead of 2024 elections

In February 2024, we published a report (based on OONI data) on the blocking of an investigative news platform (Fact Focus), as well as on the blocking of PTI political party websites in Pakistan leading up to the country’s 2024 general election.

The report is available here: https://explorer.ooni.org/findings/108298926901

## Published FOCI paper on EU internet sanctions on Russian media

In collaboration with researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago, the University of Twente and the University of Amsterdam, we co-authored a paper which analyzes how different ISPs in EU member states implement sanctions on Russian media.

This paper (which made extensive use of OONI data) was published by FOCI in February 2024: https://petsymposium.org/foci/2024/foci-2024-0001.pdf

SIDN Labs published a blog post, providing a summary of the paper: https://www.sidnlabs.nl/en/news-and-blogs/internet-sanctions-on-russian-media-diverging-actions-and-mixed-effects

This blog post was cross-posted on the OONI blog: https://ooni.org/post/2024-eu-sanctions/

## OONI Probe Mobile

We released OONI Probe Mobile 3.8.6 on iOS: https://github.com/ooni/probe-ios/releases/tag/v3.8.6

The latest version includes an important fix for the data quality of the Signal Private Messenger App experiment results. The Signal experiment fix is also available in the latest versions of OONI Probe Android (3.8.6), OONI Probe Desktop (3.9.3), and OONI Probe CLI. As part of the OONI Probe iOS 3.8.6 release, we also fixed an issue with RTL language support on the iOS app (https://github.com/ooni/probe/issues/2578), and we made several other bug fixes and improvements.

To enable the localization of Deutsche Welle’s News Media Scan app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dw.ooniprobe), we added support for Transifex in the app (https://github.com/ooni/translations/pull/32).

## OONI Run

As part of our work on creating the next generation version of OONI Run (“OONI Run v2”), there were several key activities we undertook this month.

The main highlight is that we officially started QA testing for the Android version of the new OONI Probe app that has both an improved UI and support for new OONI Run links. This is a big next step in the progress for this project! Thus far, we completed a major initial testing pass to test the new user-interface. We also started QA testing for the new OONI Run v2 dashboard, which will allow users to create and maintain their OONI Run links.

Some other highlights worth noting:

## OONI Probe CLI

Most of the OONI Probe CLI development work in February 2024 was focused on continuing to bring Web Connectivity v0.5 to production (as documented further in the next section).

We also:

## Creating a methodology for measuring throttling

To measure throttling more effectively, we need to ship Web Connectivity v0.5, which is based on an underlying measurement library specifically designed to collect additional throttling-related information and, more generally, easier-to-process measurements. To this end, we continued our efforts to ensure a high standard of data quality for Web Connectivity v0.5 and made progress on our plans for rolling it out to production.

Specifically, we:

## OONI Design System

As part of our work on the OONI design system (https://github.com/ooni/design-system/), we upgraded dependencies and configured storybook to use Vite instead of Webpack (https://github.com/ooni/design-system/pull/172), which makes Storybook faster and requires less configuration. We also replaced Eslint and Prettier with Biome for code linting and formatting (https://github.com/ooni/design-system/pull/173), which is all part of maintenance work to simplify the repository.

We explored different frameworks for building and maintaining frontend components. To this end, we created two different examples of Button component implementation, using two of the most popular approaches in 2024:

## OONI Explorer

To identify which censorship findings would be most useful (for the internet freedom community) to present on OONI Explorer (https://explorer.ooni.org/), we organized a user research study (https://github.com/ooni/ooni.org/issues/1543) so that we can better understand the habits and needs of our community (and determine how best to present this information on OONI Explorer).

In February 2024, we drafted and finalized the user research survey, and we prepared for the user research interviews. We disseminated the survey and conducted user research interviews in March 2024.

## Test list updates

Ahead of Pakistan’s 2024 general elections, we updated the Citizen Lab test list for Pakistan: https://github.com/citizenlab/test-lists/pull/1651

## Research collaborations with partners on upcoming reports

In February 2024, we continued to coordinate with our partners on research efforts required for upcoming research reports. Specifically, we coordinated with our partners on extensive updates to the Citizen Lab test lists for Russia, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, and Iran. Each of these test list updates has a thematic focus based on the specific research questions of each (upcoming) research report.

## Planning the OONI Partner Gathering 2024

In preparation for the upcoming OONI Partner Gathering in Malaysia in May 2024, we continued to coordinate with the travel agency on booking flights for participants and other travel logistics. We also continued to coordinate with participants and the hotel on numerous other logistics.

## Updated the OONI Data Policy

On 23rd February 2024, we updated the OONI Data Policy: https://ooni.org/about/data-policy

As part of this update, we replaced the use of Matomo analytics with Umami analytics. The Data Policy changes are visible here: https://github.com/ooni/ooni.org/pull/1550/files

## Rapid response efforts

### Blocking of TikTok in Senegal

Starting from (at least) 25th January 2024, OONI data suggests that Senegal had been blocking access to TikTok. OONI data shows that the block was primarily visible on Sonatel (AS8346), and appears to have been implemented by means of TLS interference.

In response, we posted about the block on Twitter/X (https://twitter.com/OpenObservatory/status/1754944166130327716) and we shared relevant OONI data with local partners and advocacy groups.

### Unblocking of social media in Guinea

On 23rd February 2024, we reported the unblocking of social media platforms in Guinea on Twitter/X (https://twitter.com/OpenObservatory/status/1761049064752177282) and shared relevant OONI data and information with advocacy groups.

We had previously published a report on the blocking of social media platforms in Guinea, sharing OONI data on the blocking of WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube (https://explorer.ooni.org/findings/296303006301). OONI data shows that the blocks lasted between 24th November 2023 to 22nd February 2024.

## OONI citations

### Tor Project blog post about defending internet freedom during elections in 2024

In February 2024, the Tor Project published a blog post about defending internet freedom with Tor during elections in 2024. As part of this blog post, they cite OONI research reports documenting censorship events that emerged during previous elections in countries around the world, and encourage the use of OONI tools and data.

Their blog post is available here: https://blog.torproject.org/2024-defend-internet-freedom-during-elections/

### CPJ statement on West African lawsuit against Senegal internet shutdowns

In February 2024, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published a statement on the lawsuit filed against Senegal at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice challenging Senegal’s internet shutdowns in 2023. This statement cites OONI’s research report, which documented social media blocks and network outages in Senegal during political unrest in 2023 (https://ooni.org/post/2023-senegal-social-media-blocks/).

CPJ’s statement is available here: https://cpj.org/2024/02/cpj-welcomes-west-african-lawsuit-against-senegal-internet-shutdowns/

## OONI Community Meeting

On 27th February 2024, we hosted the monthly OONI Community Meeting on our Slack channel (https://slack.ooni.org/).

The topic of this meeting was “Litigation against internet censorship and shutdowns”, and we invited the following speakers:

  • Natalia Krapiva, Tech-Legal Counsel, Access Now
  • Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy
  • Yelzhan Kabyshev, Director, Internet Freedom Kazakhstan (IFKZ)
  • Unggul Sagena, Head of Internet Access Division, Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet)

As part of this meeting, our invited guests shared their experiences from litigating against cases of internet censorship and internet shutdowns, while other community members who participated in the meeting shared questions (https://pad.riseup.net/p/ooni-community-meeting-keep).

## Measurement coverage

In February 2024, 57,616,784 OONI Probe measurements were collected from 2,981 networks in 173 countries around the world.

This information can also be found through our measurement stats on OONI Explorer (see chart on “monthly coverage worldwide”): https://explorer.ooni.org/

~ OONI team.

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