Report: Measuring Internet Censorship in Cuba’s ParkNets

Image by Arturo Filastò (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

OONI network measurement data, collected from eight vantage points across three Cuban cities between 29th May 2017 to 10th June 2017, confirms the blocking of 41 websites. Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, which we suspect to be located in Havana, was used to reset connections to those sites and serve (blank) block pages. Only the HTTP version of those sites was blocked, potentially enabling users to circumvent the censorship by merely accessing them over HTTPS.

Most of the blocked sites have one main thing in common: they express criticism towards the Castro regime, directly or indirectly.

Skype was the only popular communications tool that we found to be blocked. Other popular platforms, like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, were accessible across Cuba. While some web proxies were found to be blocked, the Tor network was accessible during the testing period of this study.

Chinese vendor Huawei was found to be supporting Cuba’s internet infrastructure. While it is clear that Cuba is using Huawei’s access points, it remains unclear whether and to what extent Huawei equipment is actually being used to implement internet censorship in the country.

Apart from government censorship, a major source of content blocking originated from external publishers. During the testing period, we found that Google disallowed access to its App Engine service from Cuban users.

The high cost of the internet (especially in comparison to local salaries) and the limited availability of wifi hotspotsacross Cuba remain the main barriers to accessing the internet.

Read the full research report here.

Publisher: Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)

Publication date: 28th August 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.