Visible to the public CAREER: Sustainable Censorship Resistance Systems for the Next DecadeConflict Detection Enabled

Project Details

Performance Period

Jul 01, 2016 - Jun 30, 2021

Institution(s)

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Award Number


The Internet enables people around the world to communicate, fostering free speech, a free press, and democracy. For billions of people, however, the freedom to communicate via the Internet is regulated, monitored and restricted by governments or corporations. To combat such censorship, researchers have designed and deployed a variety of censorship circumvention systems. Unfortunately, such systems have been designed based on ad hoc heuristics (rather than on solid, theoretical foundations) and can be defeated by typical state-level censors. This research project is developing theory, methodologies, and tools to formally design, evaluate, and compare censorship resistance systems.

The researchers are developing a formal model for the Internet censorship problem based on theoretical foundations. In particular, they are deriving a standard set of metrics for modeling the parties involved in each Internet censorship scenario, and leverage game theory, network science, and information theory for the analysis of specific censorship resistance systems. An important part of this project is the design and deployment of effective censorship resistance systems that will provide reliable, sustainable censorship resistance to Internet users. One approach being targeted by the researchers is leveraging emerging communication paradigms such as content caching, mobility, and cloud computing in the design of censorship circumvention tools. The second approach targeted by the researchers is adapting the design of circumvention systems to the architectural evolutions of the Internet. Specifically, the researchers are investigating the impacts of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) on Internet censorship and adapting the design of circumvention systems to ensure sustainable circumvention performance for the future.