To end the imposition of web blocking by holding ISPs and the government accountable, providing a place where people can learn about the real effects of filters, offering mechanisms to report problems and maintaining an open record of online censorship, releasing our code and data under permissive licenses for others to reuse or extend.
You can visit blocked.org.uk and report that a site is being filtered inappropriately on a UK mobile network. Submitting the form emails the details to an ORG address. A member of staff receives these messages manually. When a report merits further investigation, ORG staff use mobile phones kept in the office to verify the extent of the blocking, testing the link on as many networks as they can. They might then choose to publicise the censorship via a blog post, on Twitter, or elsewhere in the media.
We're turning blocked.org.uk into an automated censorship detecting, reporting and research platform. The next version of the system will accept URLs to test through the blocked.org.uk website. A middleware API and database will queue URLs for testing. We'll deploy a botnet of probes sitting on as many different types of networks as possible. These probes will poll for URLs to test from the middleware queue, check whether they can access them, and report their results. The middleware system will collate these results and the website will be able to show reports based on the raw data. There's an activity diagram showing this process in pictoral form (for a single probe and a single URL) on our wiki.
We are working together using four main methods of communication:
We have a page on our wiki describing the current status of each part of the project.
We need money to do this, to meet costs including equipment and hosting costs, publicity, lobbying and employing a project manager to support the volunteers. If you haven't already done so, please join ORG today.
If front-end web design is your passion the web team would love your help redesigning the blocked.org.uk site. You can view the latest template design on github. Please raise issues for any problems or suggestions you might have. Pull requests that fix issues or implement new features will be received gratefully!
The middleware team is implementing the API and writing libraries to make interfacing with the API easy for the probes team. If you have PHP skills you can help implement the next version of the API. We also have a Java library in progress if that's more your thing. If you don't see a library in your favourite language, why not start one? The API documentation is on our wiki.
You are welcome to submit pull requests against any of the issues in any of the repos.
You can test the new website template on your devices and raise issues on github with your comments, suggestions and any bugs you find. Please raise one issue per bug / comment / suggestion so they can be worked on separately.
You can also download and test the android app. Report bugs either via the Android interface or by raising issues on github.
Lastly, the OONI probe image for Raspberry Pi is nearly complete, and ready for testing. At the moment images are only available by asking for them on the mailing list. We hope to have a generic image available for download soon.
Any data you collect during these tests will help fill our database with results - which will help with other aspects of the project.
How does a probe know whether the response it receives to a HTTP request is the right resource or a message saying the page is blocked? Can we interpret blocking categories automatically? How can we make sense of the data we're collecting it and use it to achieve our goals? If these sound like interesting discussions you should join our mailing list and share your thoughts with us.
We also need people to work on extracting, transforming and displaying the data we collect. We don't have any code to do this at the moment, but if you'd like to help out in this area, introduce yourself on the list and hit us up with your ideas.
You can contribute documentation or translations for any software component or the website itself. Most areas are undocumented however the API has reasonable documentation on the wiki. You can either create wiki pages or github pull requests with any content you write.
There are a number of ways you can help advocate for the project: