SoK: Towards Grounding Censorship Circumvention in Empiricism

Abstract

Effective evaluations of approaches to circumventing government Internet censorship require incorporating perspectives of how censors operate in practice. We undertake an extensive examination of real censors by surveying prior measurement studies and analyzing field reports and bug tickets from practitioners. We assess both deployed circumvention approaches and research proposals to consider the criteria employed in their evaluations and compare these to the observed behaviors of real censors, identifying areas where evaluations could more faithfully and effectively incorporate the practices of modern censors. These observations lead to an agenda realigning research with the predominant problems of today.

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