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IAB Workshop on Barriers to Internet Access of Services (BIAS) (biasws)

Slides

Title Abstract Curr. rev. Date Last presented On agenda
Paper: iMAP (Internet Monitoring Action Project) 2023 Internet Censorship Report
As part of the iMAP project which promotes and defends Internet freedoms, these reports aim to report on the monitoring of network interference and restrictions …
As part of the iMAP project which promotes and defends Internet freedoms, these reports aim to report on the monitoring of network interference and restrictions to the freedom of expression online in the region and in each of the countries. Each of the country reports contains background information on socioeconomic state, political landscape, legal environment and reported cases of internet censorship, as well as network landscape and findings of internet censorship based on data collected through OONI (Open Observatory Network Interference). The 2023 edition of the report covers 10 countries: Cambodia, Hong Kong (China), India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam, and the data covers a one-year period from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
02 2024-02-05 interim-2024-biasws-03 (-01)
Paper: M-Lab Position Paper
Measurement Lab takes the position that Internet quality should be measured by metrics beyond traditional bandwidth measurements of “speed” and in a longitudinal, persistent and …
Measurement Lab takes the position that Internet quality should be measured by metrics beyond traditional bandwidth measurements of “speed” and in a longitudinal, persistent and multi-method manner. We also believe that, as much as possible, data used for public decision-making should be published in the open and produced by open source code.
00 2024-02-05
Slide: Investigating the VPN Ecosystem through the lens of Security, Privacy, and Usability 00 2024-01-17 interim-2024-biasws-03
Slide: Online censorship in India, Pakistan and Indonesia 00 2024-01-17 interim-2024-biasws-03
Slide: Internet Monitoring Action Project (iMAP) 2023 Internet Censorship Reports 01 2024-01-17 interim-2024-biasws-03
Slides: Network Measurement Methods for Locating and Examining Censorship Devices 00 2024-01-17 interim-2024-biasws-03
Slide: Introduction 01 2024-01-16 interim-2024-biasws-03 (-None)
Paper: The infrastructure of censorship in Asia
Nation states around the world engage in blocking access to websites and online services. The presentation will cover the legal architecture and technical mechanisms of …
Nation states around the world engage in blocking access to websites and online services. The presentation will cover the legal architecture and technical mechanisms of state-directed censorship in India, Pakistan and Indonesia, including the role of public infrastructure and private internet service providers (ISPs).

Papers and essays covered in this contribution:

* 'The infrastructure of censorship in Asia' by Gurshabad Grover in 'Eaten by the Internet' (ed. Corinne Cath) published by https://archive.org/details/eaten-by-the-internet

* Also see 'The Decentralized Infrastructure of Online Censorship in Asia' by Gurshabad Grover on the Open Tech Fund blog: https://www.opentech.fund/news/the-decentralized-infrastructure-of-online-censorship-in-asia/

* 'CensorWatch: On the Implementation of Online Censorship in India' by Divyank Katira, Gurshabad Grover, et al. published in the Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI '23) Proceedings: https://www.petsymposium.org/foci/2023/foci-2023-0006.pdf

* 'How India Censors the Web' by Kushagra Singh, Gurshabad Grover, et al. published in the 12th ACM Conference on Web Science: https://cis-india.org/internet-governance/how-india-censors-the-web-websci
00 2024-01-16 interim-2024-biasws-03 (-None)
Slides: Universal Acceptance of Domain Names and Email Addresses: A Key to Digital Inclusion 00 2024-01-16 interim-2024-biasws-02
Slides: A Framework for Improving Web Affordability and Inclusiveness 00 2024-01-16 interim-2024-biasws-02
Slides: Evidence for a digital divide? Measuring DNS dependencies in the context of the indigenous population of Australia
We recently presented a work-in-progress paper at the Work- shop on Transparency, Accountability and User Control for a Responsible Internet (TAURIN 2023). Our paper investigates …
We recently presented a work-in-progress paper at the Work- shop on Transparency, Accountability and User Control for a Responsible Internet (TAURIN 2023). Our paper investigates the relationship between the digital divide, Internet transparency, and DNS dependencies. This submission is a condensed version of the original paper, giving a summary of our results and our conclusions, which we would like to present for discussion. In a nutshell, we can indeed identify differences between the DNS dependencies, in particular with respect to the use of hyperscalers and dedicated government infrastructure. Our results show that Internet measurement can detect signals of a possible digital divide, and we believe that this is a worthwhile part in an agenda to make access to Internet services more equitable for different population groups.
00 2024-01-15 interim-2024-biasws-02 (-None)
Slide: Community Networks and the Quest for Quality 00 2024-01-15 interim-2024-biasws-01
Slide: Maximising Connectivity: The Spectrum's Vital Role in Technology Access 00 2024-01-15 interim-2024-biasws-01
Slide: A ‘C’ in CDN: Access service to and from the Internet at cost for community networks 00 2024-01-15 interim-2024-biasws-01
Slide: How Internet censorship changed in Russia during the 1st year of military conflict in Ukraine 00 2024-01-14 interim-2024-biasws-03
Paper: Closing the Performance and Management Gaps with Satellite Internet: Challenges, Approaches, and Future Directions
Recent advancements in low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites represented by large constellations and advanced payloads provide great promises for enabling beyond 5G and 6G telecommunications and …
Recent advancements in low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites represented by large constellations and advanced payloads provide great promises for enabling beyond 5G and 6G telecommunications and high-quality and ubiquitous Internet connectivity to everyone anywhere on Earth. LEO satellite networks are envisioned to bridge the urban-rural connectivity gap for the digital divide. However, the digital divide can hardly be closed by only providing connectivity to rural and remote areas. Various unprecedented challenges brought by the emerging satellite Internet still need to be resolved, such as inconsistent end-to-end performance guarantees and a lack of efficient management and operations in these areas, which are referred to as “performance gap” and “management gap”, respectively. This position paper will briefly discuss these gaps, approaches to addressing the gaps, and some research directions based on our recent works.
01 2024-01-14 interim-2024-biasws-01 (-None)
Slides: Closing the Performance and Management Gaps with Satellite Internet: Challenges, Approaches, and Future Directions 00 2024-01-13 interim-2024-biasws-01
Invited Paper: "All of them claim to be the best": Multi-perspective study of VPN users and VPN providers
Invited talk of published paper:
https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity23/presentation/ramesh-vpn

As more users adopt VPNs for a variety of reasons, it is important to develop empirical knowledge of their …
Invited talk of published paper:
https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity23/presentation/ramesh-vpn

As more users adopt VPNs for a variety of reasons, it is important to develop empirical knowledge of their needs and mental models of what a VPN offers. Moreover, studying VPN users alone is not enough because, by using a VPN, a user essentially transfers trust, say from their network provider, onto the VPN provider. To that end, we are the first to study the VPN ecosystem from both the users' and the providers' perspectives. In this paper, we conduct a quantitative survey of 1,252 VPN users in the U.S. and qualitative interviews of nine providers to answer several research questions regarding the motivations, needs, threat model, and mental model of users, and the key challenges and insights from VPN providers. We create novel insights by augmenting our multi-perspective results, and highlight cases where the user and provider perspectives are misaligned. Alarmingly, we find that users rely on and trust VPN review sites, but VPN providers shed light on how these sites are mostly motivated by money. Worryingly, we find that users have flawed mental models about the protection VPNs provide, and about data collected by VPNs. We present actionable recommendations for technologists and security and privacy advocates by identifying potential areas on which to focus efforts and improve the VPN ecosystem.
00 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-03 (-None)
Invited Paper: Network Measurement Methods for Locating and Examining Censorship Devices
Invited talk of published paper:
https://ensa.fi/papers/censorship_devices_network_measurement.pdf

Advances in networking and firewall technology have led to the emergence of network censorship devices that can perform large- …
Invited talk of published paper:
https://ensa.fi/papers/censorship_devices_network_measurement.pdf

Advances in networking and firewall technology have led to the emergence of network censorship devices that can perform large- scale, highly-performant content blocking. While such devices have proliferated, techniques to locate, identify, and understand them are still limited, require cumbersome manual effort, and are developed on a case-by-case basis.

In this paper, we build robust, general-purpose methods to un- derstand various aspects of censorship devices, and study devices deployed in 4 countries (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Rus- sia). We develop a censorship traceroute method, CenTrace, that automatically identifies the network location of censorship devices. We use banner grabs to identify vendors from potential censorship devices. To collect more features about the devices themselves, we build a censorship fuzzer, CenFuzz, that uses various HTTP request and TLS Client Hello fuzzing strategies to examine the rules and triggers of censorship devices. Finally, we use features collected us- ing these methods to cluster censorship devices and explore device characteristics across deployments.

Using CenTrace measurements, we find that censorship devices are often deployed in ISPs upstream to clients, sometimes even in other countries. Using data from banner grabs and injected block- pages, we identify 23 commercial censorship device deployments in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. We observe that certain CenFuzz strategies such as using a different HTTP method succeed in evading a large portion of these censorship devices, and observe that devices manufactured by the same vendors have similar evasion behavior using clustering. The methods developed in this paper apply consistently and rapidly across a wide range of censorship devices and enable continued understanding and monitoring of censorship devices around the world.
00 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-03 (-None)
Paper: Evidence for a digital divide? Measuring DNS dependencies in the context of the indigenous population of Australia
We recently presented a work-in-progress paper at the Work- shop on Transparency, Accountability and User Control for a Responsible Internet (TAURIN 2023). Our paper investigates …
We recently presented a work-in-progress paper at the Work- shop on Transparency, Accountability and User Control for a Responsible Internet (TAURIN 2023). Our paper investigates the relationship between the digital divide, Internet transparency, and DNS dependencies. This submission is a condensed version of the original paper, giving a summary of our results and our conclusions, which we would like to present for discussion. In a nutshell, we can indeed identify differences between the DNS dependencies, in particular with respect to the use of hyperscalers and dedicated government infrastructure. Our results show that Internet measurement can detect signals of a possible digital divide, and we believe that this is a worthwhile part in an agenda to make access to Internet services more equitable for different population groups.
00 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-02 (-None)
Paper: A ‘C’ in CDN: Access service to and from the Internet at cost for community networks
Community networks have proven reliable, resilient, and cost effective. However creative their deployments, the transit and Internet service costs present obstacles outside of their direct …
Community networks have proven reliable, resilient, and cost effective. However creative their deployments, the transit and Internet service costs present obstacles outside of their direct control. This position piece argues that CDNs today are inherently set up to offer transit-like and Internet services, and at no more than at-cost, because the incentives have natural alignment. This piece also shares insights from a global deployment for corporate social good, and asks questions for the future.
00 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-01 (-None)
Paper: Community Networks and the Quest for Quality
Sustainable Development Goals [UN, 2015] outline a transformative vision for economic, social and environmental development which addresses the need for a global society with more …
Sustainable Development Goals [UN, 2015] outline a transformative vision for economic, social and environmental development which addresses the need for a global society with more justice, equality, freedom and peace. Telecommunications play an essential role in implementing this vision while Internet stands out as an enabler of social change. Such an infrastructure provides means to reduce gaps that preclude people from content access and free exchange of knowledge. Community networks have provided an alternative infrastructure to bring connectivity to those places which lack of commercial interest and have urgent needs to be part of such a transformation. However, the expected social change has yet not fully occurred due to the nature of these networks which lack of resources to provide means for a complete user experience as in other fully funded networks.
00 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-01 (-None)
Paper: A Framework for Improving Web Affordability and Inclusiveness
Today’s Web remains too expensive for many Internet users, especially in developing regions. Unfortunately, the rising complexity of the Web makes affordability an even bigger …
Today’s Web remains too expensive for many Internet users, especially in developing regions. Unfortunately, the rising complexity of the Web makes affordability an even bigger concern as it stands to limit users’ access to Internet services. We propose a novel framework and a fairness metric for rethinking Web architecture for affordability and inclusion. Our proposed framework systematically adapts Web complexity based on geographic variations in mobile broadband prices and income levels. We conduct a cross-country analysis of 99 countries, showing that our framework can better balance affordability and webpage quality while preserving user privacy. To adapt Web complexity, our framework solves an optimization problem to produce webpages that maximize page quality while reducing the webpage to a given target size.
00 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-02 (-None)
Paper: Universal Acceptance of Domain Names and Email Addresses: A Key to Digital Inclusion
Universal Acceptance (UA) is the concept that all valid domain names and email addresses, including those formed with the new and longer ASCII gTLDs and …
Universal Acceptance (UA) is the concept that all valid domain names and email addresses, including those formed with the new and longer ASCII gTLDs and IDN TLDs, are accepted and treated consistently by all software and applications. Achieving UA ensures that Internet users can effectively navigate and communicate online using a chosen domain name and email address that best aligns with their interests, business, culture, language, and script. Therefore, UA is a foundational requirement for achieving meaningful online access by enabling consumer choice and digital inclusivity, a goal also envisioned in WSIS Tunis Agenda and WSIS+10 Outcome Documents.
01 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-02 (-None)
Paper: How Internet censorship changed in Russia during the 1st year of military conflict in Ukraine
Blog post: https://ooni.org/post/2023-russia-a-year-after-the-conflict/

As of today, last year, Russia started its military operation in Ukraine. This was followed by increased levels of internet censorship, as …
Blog post: https://ooni.org/post/2023-russia-a-year-after-the-conflict/

As of today, last year, Russia started its military operation in Ukraine. This was followed by increased levels of internet censorship, as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Russia started blocking access to several news media websites. In early March 2022, OONI published a report documenting these blocks, as well as the blocking of a site (200rf.com) that shares information about captured and killed Russian soldiers in Ukraine. OONI also reported that Russian ISPs started throttling access to Twitter on 26th February 2022, and switched to blocking it by 4th March 2022 – at which point, they also started blocking access to Facebook.

Information controls are known to occur during conflicts, and the increased censorship events in Russia suggest an attempt to control the narrative surrounding the conflict in Ukraine. But has internet censorship changed in Russia over the last year?

In this report, we attempt to answer this question through the analysis of OONI measurements collected from Russia between January 2022 to February 2023. We supplement our findings with information from relevant legal analysis and desk research provided by Roskomsvoboda.
02 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-03 (-None)
Paper: Maximising Connectivity: The Spectrum's Vital Role in Technology Access
Wireless technology, whether in the form of amateur radio, broadband, or mobile internet, relies on airwaves - the spectrum, a finite and natural resource controlled …
Wireless technology, whether in the form of amateur radio, broadband, or mobile internet, relies on airwaves - the spectrum, a finite and natural resource controlled by governments. The allocation of frequencies is a governmental prerogative, impacting regional and global technology distribution.


01 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-01 (-None)
Paper: The Internet: Only for the Fast?
While there may be many intentional obstacles to accessing services, with censorship being one prominent example, this note seeks to point out one of the …
While there may be many intentional obstacles to accessing services, with censorship being one prominent example, this note seeks to point out one of the coincidental barriers that emerge as the Internet and “its” services evolve. We thus face (and possibly reduce) a digital divide between those who have access to the Internet and those who don’t; but we also increasingly
face a divide between those who have sufficiently performant Internet access and those who just have Internet access.
00 2024-01-11 interim-2024-biasws-02 (-None)