Automatically generating a large, culture-specific blocklist for China

Austin Hounsel, Prateek Mittal, Nick Feamster

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Internet censorship measurements rely on lists of websites to be tested, or “block lists” that are curated by third parties. Unfortunately, many of these lists are not public, and those that are tend to focus on a small group of topics, leaving other types of sites and services untested. To increase and diversify the set of sites on existing block lists, we use natural language processing and search engines to automatically discover a much wider range of websites that are censored in China. Using these techniques, we create a list of 1125 websites outside the Alexa Top 1,000 that cover Chinese politics, minority human rights organizations, oppressed religions, and more. Importantly, none of the sites we discover are present on the current largest block list. The list that we develop not only vastly expands the set of sites that current Internet measurement tools can test, but it also deepens our understanding of the nature of content that is censored in China. We have released both this new block list and the code for generating it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Event8th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet, FOCI 2018, co-located with USENIX Security 2018 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Aug 14 2018 → …

Conference

Conference8th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet, FOCI 2018, co-located with USENIX Security 2018
CountryUnited States
CityBaltimore
Period8/14/18 → …

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software

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  • Cite this

    Hounsel, A., Mittal, P., & Feamster, N. (2018). Automatically generating a large, culture-specific blocklist for China. Paper presented at 8th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet, FOCI 2018, co-located with USENIX Security 2018, Baltimore, United States.