Encore: Lightweight measurement of web censorship with cross-origin requests

Sam Burnett, Nick Feamster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the pervasiveness of Internet censorship, we have scant data on its extent, mechanisms, and evolution. Measuring censorship is challenging: it requires continual measurement of reachability to many target sites from diverse vantage points. Amassing suitable vantage points for longitudinal measurement is difficult; existing systems have achieved only small, short-lived deployments. We observe, however, that most Internet users access content via Web browsers, and the very nature of Web site design allows browsers to make requests to domains with different origins than the main Web page. We present Encore, a system that harnesses crossorigin requests to measure Web filtering from a diverse set of vantage points without requiring users to install custom software, enabling longitudinal measurements from many vantage points. We explain how Encore induces Web clients to perform cross-origin requests that measure Web filtering, design a distributed platform for scheduling and collecting these measurements, show the feasibility of a global-scale deployment with a pilot study and an analysis of potentially censoredWeb content, identify several cases of filtering in six months of measurements, and discuss ethical concerns that would arise with widespread deployment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCOMM 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on Special Interest Group on Data Communication
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages653-667
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781450335423
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 17 2015
EventACM Conference on Special Interest Group on Data Communication, SIGCOMM 2015 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Aug 17 2015Aug 21 2015

Publication series

NameSIGCOMM 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on Special Interest Group on Data Communication

Other

OtherACM Conference on Special Interest Group on Data Communication, SIGCOMM 2015
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period8/17/158/21/15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Communication

Keywords

  • Network measurement
  • Web censorship
  • Web security

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  • Cite this

    Burnett, S., & Feamster, N. (2015). Encore: Lightweight measurement of web censorship with cross-origin requests. In SIGCOMM 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on Special Interest Group on Data Communication (pp. 653-667). (SIGCOMM 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on Special Interest Group on Data Communication). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/2785956.2787485