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[tor-talk] New report: The State of Internet Censorship in Venezuela


Today Venezuela Inteligente, IPYS Venezuela and OONI jointly published a
research report examining internet censorship in Venezuela.

Our research report is available here:

Our study is based on the analysis of hundreds of thousands of OONI
Probe network measurements collected from multiple local vantage points
over the last 4 years.

Key findings include:

1. Media censorship: A number of independent media websites are
blocked (primarily by means of DNS tampering) by (at least) 4 Venezuelan
ISPs. These include El Pitazo and El Nacional, two of Venezuela's major,
independent news outlets known for reporting extensively on corruption
(and other political issues). All 3 of El Pitazo's domains
(elpitazo.info, elpitazo.com, elpitazo.ml) were found to be blocked
across ISPs (possibly in an attempt to reinforce the censorship).

Over the last days, state-owned CANTV appears to have started blocking
investigative journalism site armando.info as well (by means of HTTP
blocking). This though requires further testing, since some measurements
aren't consistent.

2. Blogs expressing political criticism, Zello (heavily used by
protesters), and a number of currency exchange websites were found to be
blocked. This suggests that internet censorship in Venezuela may be a
symptom of its economic and political crisis.

3. Tor blocking: We were able to confirm the blocking of the Tor
network and obfs4 by state-owned CANTV through OONI measurements and
through a number of additional tests and experiments. Our report shares
relevant data (in tsv files). The blocking started about two months ago,
and appears to be ongoing.

Overall, internet censorship in Venezuela doesn't appear to be
centralized, since different ISPs were found to adopt different
censorship techniques and censor different platforms. Moreover, ISPs
don't always appear to roll out the same censorship in all regions (for
example, CANTV appears to block armando.info in Caracas, but not in
other states).

The recent blocking of Tor and (more) independent media sites signifies
that internet censorship in Venezuela is potentially becoming more
pervasive. Further research and testing is therefore required.

You can expand upon our study through the use of OONI Probe
(https://ooni.torproject.org/install/) and OONI data

Thanks for reading!



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

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