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[tor-talk] New report on internet censorship in Cuba


Today the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) project
published a new report, titled: "*Measuring Internet Censorship in
Cuba's ParkNets*"

You can read the report here:


You can also find a summary of the report on the Tor blog:

Last May we traveled to Cuba and performed a variety of network
measurement tests across eight vantage points in Havana, Santa Clara,
and Santiago de Cuba, with the aim of measuring internet censorship.

As part of our study, we were able to confirm the *blocking of 41
websites*. Many of these sites include news outlets and blogs, as well
as pro-democracy and human rights sites. Many of the blocked sites,
directly or indirectly, express criticism towards the Cuban government.
Interestingly enough though, various other international sites which
also express criticism were found to be accessible.

Web proxies, like Anonymouse, were amongst those found to be blocked,
potentially limiting Cubans' ability to circumvent censorship. The Tor
network though was found to be accessible across the country, likely
because Cuba has relatively few Tor users.

*Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology was found to be resetting
connections and serving (blank) block pages.* Through latency
measurements, we were able to confirm that the blocking server is most
likely located in Havana (and in any case, for sure in Cuba). Only the
HTTP version of sites was found to be blocked, potentially enabling
users to circumvent the censorship by merely accessing them over HTTPS.
Most blocked sites, however, do not support HTTPS.

*Skype was found to be blocked. *By examining packet traces, we were
able to determine that the DPI middlebox blocked Skype by means of RST
injection. Other popular communications tools, such as WhatsApp and
Facebook Messenger, were found to be accessible.

*Chinese vendor Huawei was also found to be supporting Cuba's internet
infrastructure.* The server header of blocked sites, for example,
pointed to Huawei equipent. It remains unclear though whether they are
actually implementing internet censorship in the country.

Lastly, we accidentally discovered that *Google is blocking Google App
Engine from Cuba (when trying to run NDT).*

Overall, internet censorship does not appear to be particularly
sophisticated in Cuba. The high cost of the internet and the limited
availability of public wifi hotspots across the country remain the main
barriers to accessing the internet. But as Cuba's internet landscape
evolves, so might techniques and practices around internet censorship.
Therefore, we think it's important to continue to measure networks with
ooniprobe in Cuba and elsewhere around the world.

Thanks for reading our latest report - happy to address any questions
you may have!

~ The OONI team.

Maria Xynou
Research and Partnerships Coordinator
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
PGP Key Fingerprint: 2DC8 AFB6 CA11 B552 1081 FBDE 2131 B3BE 70CA 417E

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