NetBlocks

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NetBlocks
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Formation2017; 4 years ago (2017)
FounderAlp Toker
TypeSocial business
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
MethodsTechnology journalism
Websitenetblocks.org

NetBlocks is a watchdog organization that monitors cybersecurity and the governance of the Internet.[1][2] The service was launched in 2017 to monitor Internet freedom.[3]

Work[edit]

Projects[edit]

NetBlocks publishes original reporting on internet governance and sustainable energy, providing tools to the public to observe possible Internet blocks and to estimate the economic consequences of network disruptions.[4][5]

Events[edit]

On 25 November 2017, NetBlocks and Digital Rights Foundation provided information about the nationwide censorship of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media services by the Pakistani government following the Tehreek-e-Labaik protests.[6][7][8]

During the 2018–2019 Sudanese protests, NetBlocks stated that the Sudanese government maintains "an extensive Internet censorship regime" following the censorship of social media websites in the country.[9] Following the 2019 Gabonese coup d'état attempt, NetBlocks monitored censorship in the country.[10] The cost of the three-day Internet shutdown following the Zimbabwe fuel protests was also calculated cost Zimbabwe an estimated $17 million.[11]

The block of Wikipedia in Venezuela and other censorship incidents during the Venezuelan presidential crisis were also monitored by NetBlocks, with several international media outlets covering the situation with NetBlocks' work.[12][13][14][15][16][17]

Reception[edit]

Visiting NetBlocks' website used to trigger monitoring checks against websites to see if they were blocked for that visitor. However, these checks were done without the user's consent, A researcher, Collin Anderson, argued that this could potentially present a risk to users. NetBlocks said it removed the checks in 2020 because the data "just wasn't that good," Wired reported.[18]

In July 2020, as the Somalian Parliament passed a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, NetBlocks claimed internet access was shut down.[19] Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Oracle, said that a damaged submarine cable caused the interruption. NetBlocks rejected the theory, citing an analysis of weather conditions.[18][20]

Anderson, set up a website criticizing NetBlocks at the domain "netblocks.fyi". In September 2020, NetBlocks filed a complaint against Anderson with the World Intellectual Property Organization. The mailing list OTF-Talk reacted negatively to the response, and afterwards subscribers demanded NetBlocks to "release its tools as open source software, make its methodologies open to audit, and publish its measurement data so it could be scrutinised". NetBlocks won the complaint in November 2020 and took over the domain.[18][21] Anderson subsequently moved the site to netblocked.org.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Our Work". NetBlocks.
  2. ^ "Ethiopia re-opens the country's internet". BBC World Service (Interview).
  3. ^ "Home". NetBlocks. 14 September 2017. Archived from the original on 14 September 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Projects and Initiatives". NetBlocks. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  5. ^ "NetBlocks Tracks Venezuela's Power Outage". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  6. ^ "DRF and NetBlocks find blanket and nation-wide ban on social media in Pakistan and demand it to be lifted immediately". Digital Rights Foundation. 2017-11-26. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  7. ^ "Activists assail blanket ban on social media". The Nation. 2017-11-27. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  8. ^ "All you need to know about nation-wide internet disruptions during dharna". Samaa TV. 2017-11-27. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  9. ^ "Sudan restricts social media access to counter protest movement". Reuters. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Internet 'disrupted again' in Gabon". BBC News. 7 January 2019. Archived from the original on 22 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  11. ^ Griffiths, James (18 January 2019). "The internet is more vulnerable than you realize". CNN. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  12. ^ "NetBlocks: Reporta bloqueo a redes sociales tras protesta de militares en Venezuela". Voice of America (in Spanish). 21 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  13. ^ Laya, Patricia; Rosati, Andrew (21 January 2019). "Venezuela Detains Rebel Guardsmen, Sparking Protests in Caracas". Bloomberg. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Venezuela Blocks Wikipedia After Maduro 'Ousted' From Article, Internet Watchdog Says". Haaretz. 13 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  15. ^ Pineda Sleinan, Julett (21 January 2019). "Cantv restringió acceso a redes sociales durante alzamiento en Cotiza, reporta Netblocks". Efecto Cocuyo. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Venezuela Wikipedia'ya erişimi engelledi". Deutsche Welle (in Turkish). 14 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  17. ^ "El régimen chavista bloqueó el acceso a Twitter e Instagram por los incidentes en Caracas". Infobae (in Spanish). 21 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  18. ^ a b c d Volpicelli, Gian M. (2021-07-14). "How the internet censorship community turned on NetBlocks". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Retrieved 2021-07-16.
  19. ^ @NetBlocks (2020-07-26). "⚠️Confirmed: Internet shutdown across much of #Somalia as parliament votes to remove Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire over lack of democratic elections; real-time metrics show connectivity below ~30% of ordinary levels with high impact to #Mogadishu" (Tweet). Retrieved 2021-07-16 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ Doug Madory [@DougMadory] (2020-07-27). "Uganda Telecom lost transit from WIOCC (EASSy cable) at the same time as the outage in Somalia:" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2020-07-27. Retrieved 2021-07-15 – via Twitter.
  21. ^ Alexiev, Assen (2020-11-09). "WIPO Domain Name Decision: D2020-2240". www.wipo.int. Retrieved 2021-07-16.