Case study: Understanding internet censorship in Africa’s repressive environments through the deployment of OONI software probes and Citizen Lab mixed research methods.

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Case study: Understanding internet censorship in Africa’s repressive environments through the deployment of OONI software probes and Citizen Lab mixed research methods.
Presenter(s) Arthur Gwagwa, Kuda Hove. Moses Karanja and representatives from Citizen Lab and OONI
Title(s)
Organization(s) CIPIT, Strathmore University
Project(s) Analysis of the Relationship between Information Controls and Political events in Africa
Country(ies) The Gambia, Zambia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Swaziland
Social media @arthurgwagwa
2017 theme Regions and Groups

The workshop will draw examples from our partnership with Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) and also Citizen Lab to discuss our findings, in particular: 1.How we have been bridging the expectations of our Global North partner who design and develop open source software and our own expectations in the Global South, when we deploy and test such software; 2. How such projects may help to increase transparency around internet censorship through the collection of network measurements; and 3.How we can implement further work with our Global North partners to implement globally-accessible and secure communication tools where network interferences were detected.

We will examine how we have combined OONI's software design and development capabilities with our consummate understanding of country contexts in Sub-Saharan Africa. OONI’s software, in particular, is designed to perform specific tests that are designed to examine whether (and how) websites are blocked, as well as whether systems that could be responsible for censorship and/or surveillance are used in a tested network by an ISP. The data that is collected through their software and can be useful to researchers like us, as well as organisations such as Freedom House, since such data shows exactly how censorship is implemented in a network. This data can be used as technical evidence of censorship. In turn, we help to deploy the software and provide the country contexts within which the software is being deployed. Among other issues, the workshop will examine how we collaboratively make decisions , for example, in assessing country risk, mobilising partners, creating testing lists for the Github and in deciding whether to run the software from a laptop (command line or web user interface) or from a Raspberry Pi (a type of mini-computer). We will also examine the strengths and weaknesses of the mixed approach including some of the research limitations we have encountered in both the processes as well as those inherent in the countries of study. This session will also be a great opportunity to highlight or outline the other forms of information controls that various governments are now using as an alternative to outright internet shutdowns.


Format Conversation
Target Groups Circumvention and censorship detection tools developers, Funders and those interested in Internet policy and practice in Africa
Length 1 hour
Skill Level Advanced
Language English


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