Announcing Censorwatch: mapping net neutrality violations and web censorship in India

At CIS, we have been studying website blocking by internet service providers (ISPs) in India. We have learned that major ISPs don’t always block the same websites, and also use different blocking techniques. To take this study further, and map net neutrality violations by ISPs, we need your help. We have developed CensorWatch, a research tool to collect empirical evidence about what websites are blocked by Indian ISPs, and which blocking methods are being used to do so.

You can download the app (for Android phones) at

More information about the project, as well as the research behind it is available at

We would welcome any feedback on the work! (PS. IFF greatly helped by publishing government orders that blocked website; much thanks to all members and staff!)


This is fantastic. I’d have happily downloaded this, but sadly, I use iOS. I’ll definitely encourage those around me to install this application onto their phones!

Yes, unfortunately, the app is currently only available for Android devices. Hopefully, we can develop future versions for iOS as well!

Thanks so much for your kind words and support!

Looking forward to an F-droid release of the application

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Good article on wider scale - ‘Extremely aggressive’ internet censorship spreads in the world’s democracies

Reference - Censored Planet: An Internet-wide, Longitudinal Censorship Observatory


The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) is a free software project that aims to empower decentralized efforts in increasing transparency of Internet censorship around the world. I mean OONI Explorer is an open data resource on internet censorship around the world.

So, the same data is being collected already by OONI project. So where this app differentiates except easing data localization?

Thanks for this important question! CensorWatch is different from OONI in two regards:

  1. CensorWatch is capable of detecting Server Name Indication (SNI)-based blocking. This type of blocking is being done by Airtel and Reliance Jio, and OONI’s mobile app is not yet capable of detecting this blocking easily.

  2. At the time we developed the app, OONI did not have a great way to run the tests on entirely custom lists. That means we needed an easy way to run the tests on a huge list of potentially websites we have compiled. OONI Run is actively being developed to solve this problem.

In any case, we are not competing with OONI. We work regularly with OONI folks to map censorship in India, and also contribute to their code base so that learnings from both projects can flow to each other! You can check out research that we’ve written together that talks about this:

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Thanks for the detailed, well framed answer. Thanks for the work you people been doing.

I am already using it & shared it with few more folks too. We been following OONI project for a while & thus using their app for a while a while… So we been seening OONI’s UI evolves over time to become more interesting to use.

Hence the feedback form us is the UI would have been more interactive than it is right now…

Also hope it releases soon on Fdroid.

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