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Graduate Student Jong Park's Research Adds Another Piece to the Puzzle

April 30, 2010

In a paper that will appear at the 30th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems in Italy this summer, graduate student Jong Park and his advisor, Jed Crandall, describe their results from testing Internet censorship performed by routers in a nation's backbone. These results can help us understand the technical aspects of how global Internet censorship is coming into form. Their study focused on China's filtering of HTML responses on a national scale, implemented in the backbone of the country's Internet. In this form of censorship, the censors inject special reset packets to interrupt connections where banned keywords are transferred. Park and Crandall found that this centralized form of filtering web pages is not very effective, and that the censors abandoned their efforts to do this some time between August 2008 and January 2009. Within the context of many governments around the world implementing filtering systems that are on local networks and not centrally controlled, such as Australia and now China (in light of their failed efforts to perform censorship in a centralized fashion), the story of a failed attempt at a national-scale filtering system that Park and Crandall's data shows provides a valuable data point for making predictions about what global Internet censorship will look like in the coming years and decades. For further details, see theICDCS paper or a recent article at newscientist.com. An article is available at UNM Today.

Congratulations Jong!