To do so, we will build an all-in-one, easy-to-use, mobile device-based application (App) that will collect, analyze, and visualize censorship data in real time. The proposed App will be built on SecDev’s tested and proven Black Watch global Internet surveillance monitoring and visualization system currently in operation.
The proposed Black Watch App will be an Android based App. Through the App, the user will contribute to a SETI-at-Home[i] like global testing effort, and benefit from a real time view of censorship and surveillance based upon the network to which their device is connected. Features will include:
- Real-time and historical view of censorship patterns of the network to which the user is attached;
- Integration with third-party tools/sites like HERDICT;[ii]
- Instant access to additional research (ONI, OONI, EFF);[iii]
- Aggregated news feeds pertaining to the relevant network; and
- Security events occurring in the user’s proximate area.
The App will be sleek, easy-to-use, intuitive and multilingual. It will be built and optimized for mobile devices. At present, there are 2.1 billion mobile data subscriptions worldwide. This will increase to 4 billion over the next 2 years. The growth will be in the developing world. The App will tie into the Black Watch global infrastructure currently operational in 90 countries and which has generated millions of data points revealing patterns of global censorship. But this is just the beginning. Each App will generate and contribute data to the global pool. The number of data points will grow exponentially creating a vast global database of censorship and surveillance events.
Currently, Internet censorship monitoring requires specialized tools, does not support automated testing, and in general, is focused on the needs of technical researchers and the technology community. Data is difficult to generate, and access is limited to research and advocates with sufficient technical knowledge to interpret the results. At present there is no mobile App that can create, analyze and visualize censorship and surveillance data at scale. Moreover, there is no application that is geared towards average users.
[ii] HERDICT, http://www.herdict.org/
[iii] Open Net Initiative, https://opennet.net/Setia-at-home, Open Observatory of Network Interface, https://ooni.torproject.org/, Electronic Frontier Foundation, https://www.eff.org/