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[tor-talk] New report: How Pakistan blocked news outlets, social media sites, and IM apps amidst protests


Today, in collaboration with Bytes for All Pakistan, OONI published a
research study titled "How Pakistan blocked news outlets, social media
sites, and IM apps amidst protests".

Our study is available here:
https://ooni.torproject.org/post/how-pakistan-blocked-social-media/ and

Last weekend, a number of social media sites and news outlets were
reportedly blocked in Pakistan during Islamist protests.

Through the collection and analysis of OONI network measurements from
Pakistan, we confirmed the DNS-based blocking of:

* 14 news websites

* Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram

* Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp's web interface (web.whatsapp.com)

All of these censorship events were temporarily implemented last weekend
(25th & 26th November), and no longer seem to be in place (at least not in
the networks where tests were/are run). This highlights the need to
monitor internet censorship on an ongoing basis around the world.

In our previous study with Bytes for All
Pakistani ISPs appeared to be applying "smart filters", selectively
blocking the HTTP versions of certain Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter
webpages, rather than blocking access to entire domains.

Last weekend, however, these sites were blocked entirely.

This is also the first time that we have collected technical evidence on
the censorship of news websites in Pakistan.

In addition to network measurement findings, our report also includes
censorship circumvention advice and information on how to reproduce this
study (in Pakistan or elsewhere).

Thanks for reading!

~ The OONI team.

Maria Xynou
Research and Partnerships Coordinator
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
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