Censored Planet

Censored Planet Lab

Censored Planet is a research lab at the University of Michigan that investigates and exposes different types of privacy and security violations in the Internet. We design and deploy scalable techniques and systems to detect and protect users’ Internet experience from censorship, geo-discrimnation, third-party tracking, and surveillance. By making our data and measurement practices easily accessible, we seek to facilitate multi-disciplinary research that promotes network accountability and transparency and leads to development of new technical approaches for safeguarding users at global scale.

This lab is founded and directed by Prof. Roya Ensafi, we are always looking for strong students to join the team.

💥 New Reports

We released a report on the National-level Censorship Policies in Russia. Read our report to learn more: https://censoredplanet.org/russia


We investigated the carrier-level HTTPS interception that significantly weakens Internet for Kazakh Internet users. Read our report to learn more: https://censoredplanet.org/kazakhstan. See live measurement results here: https://censoredplanet.org/kazakhstan/live

Our Research

Our research community is a vibrant and growing subfield that exists at the intersection of networking, security and privacy, Internet measurement, and social and political science. Its research problems are often broad and complex, with a potential to impact large populations of vulnerable users, and practitioners draw on (and advance) techniques from across these disciplines to address them. Our major publication venues include systems security and privacy conferences (USENIX Security, IEEE S&P, ACM CCS, NDSS, PETS, and SIGCOMM) and measurement conferences (ACM IMC), as well as more specialized interdisciplinary workshops (USENIX FOCI).


Some of our projects include:


  • Operating Censorship Observatory: A platform that provides continuous, global data about Internet censorship practices in countries around the world. The Censored Planet Observatory builds on a long line of work that develops remote censorship measurement techniques. We operate several of these systems, curate the collected data, and publishes semi-weekly datasets that are used by external research groups to understand and track global censorship, including by computer scientists, social scientists, and NGOs.


  • Designing novel scalable techniques for reliable and robust detection of network interference: We develop empirical studies to understand network interference phenomenon. Examples of such techniques and studies are: HyperQuack, Quack, Satelite, Augur, Spookyscan


  • Country specific studies: We perform interdisciplinary investigation into uncovering and exposing malpractices by different actors such as governments and service providers. Examples of such stuidies are Russia, Kazakhstan MiTM, Great Cannon, Great Firewall of China


  • Investigating dual-use technologies: Studying how these technologies are configured and applied, and where they are deployed, can help us better understand how to monitor and defend against interference. An example of such a study is our FilterMap, a novel framework for discovering and monitoring DPI-based filtering at Internet scale, based on the blockpages DPI systems display.


  • Investigating Geo-discrimination: The Internet is becoming increasingly regionalized due to sanctions, financial regulations, copyright and licensing rights, perceived abuse, or a perceived lack of customers. We performed the first wide-scale measurement study of geoblocking; our data showed that certain practices by content-delivery networks (CDN) likely contributed to overly aggressive blocking by their customers, resulting in entire national populations being unable to reach valuable sites and content.


  • Web Privacy: We look into how web protocols are deployed and are evolving, while collecting empirical evidence on how websites and 3rd party services collect user data.

Contact Information

To get in touch with Censored Planet you can do one of the following:



Funding

The University of Michigan Google The National Science Foundation