Where The Light Gets In: Analyzing Web Censorship Mechanisms in India

08/06/2018
by   Tarun Kumar Yadav, et al.
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This paper presents a detailed study of the Internet censorship in India. We consolidated a list of potentially blocked websites from various public sources to assess censorship mechanisms used by nine major ISPs. To begin with, we demonstrate that existing censorship detection tools like OONI are grossly inaccurate. We thus developed various techniques and heuristics to correctly assess censorship and study the underlying mechanism involved in these ISPs. At every step we corroborated our finding manually to test the efficacy of our approach, a step largely ignored by others. We fortify our findings by adjudging the coverage and consistency of censorship infrastructure, broadly in terms of average number of network paths and requested domains the infrastructure surveils. Our results indicate a clear disparity among the ISPs, on how they install censorship infrastructure. For instance, in Idea network we observed the censorious middleboxes on over 90 whereas for Vodafone, it is as low as 2.5 devising our own novel anti-censorship strategies, that does not depend on third party tools (like proxies, Tor and VPNs etc.). We managed to anti-censor all blocked websites in all ISPs under test.

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