Three researchers, five conjectures: An empirical analysis of tom-Skype censorship and surveillance

Jeffrey Knockel, Jedidiah R. Crandall, Jared Saia

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present an empirical analysis of TOM-Skype censorship and surveillance. TOM-Skype is an Internet telephony and chat program that is a joint venture between TOM Online (a mobile Internet company in China) and Skype Limited. TOM-Skype contains both voice-over-IP functionality and a chat client. The censorship and surveillance that we studied for this paper is specific to the chat client and is based on keywords that a user might type into a chat session. We were able to decrypt keyword lists used for censorship and surveillance. We also tracked the lists for a period of time and witnessed changes. Censored keywords range from obscene references, such as 二女一杯 (two girls one cup, the motivation for our title), to specific passages from 2011 China Jasmine Revolution protest instructions, such as 成都春熙路麦当 劳门前 (McDonald’s in front of Chunxi Road in Chengdu). Surveillance keywords are mostly related to demolitions in Beijing, such as 灵境胡同拆迁 (Ling Jing Alley demolition). Based on this data, we present five conjectures that we believe to be formal enough to be hypotheses that the Internet censorship research community could potentially answer with more data and appropriate computational and analytic techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event1st USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet, FOCI 2011, co-located with USENIX Security 2011 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Aug 8 2011 → …

Conference

Conference1st USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet, FOCI 2011, co-located with USENIX Security 2011
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Period8/8/11 → …

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software

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