Experienced internet explorers will know about The Onion Router Project, and some of you may have even used it at one point (guilty). Regardless of your thoughts on it, Tor has always tried to stand for internet freedom. The organization frowns upon censorship and throttling, which is why it has released ooniprobe to help raise awareness for the issue.

OONI, a part of the Tor Project, stands for Open Observatory of Network Interference. It is designed to monitor the blocking of websites, the presence of censorship and/or surveillance systems, and the speed/performance of personal and commercial networks. The new ooniprobe app lets you do these things from your phone and share your results worldwide in order to increase global transparency of network interference.


You can use the three tests to evaluate different aspects of your connection. The Web Connectivity test checks to see if any websites are blocked and how (if there are any). It looks for DNS tampering, TCP/IP blocking, or a transparent HTTP proxy. Once you know how a website is censored, you can figure out how to get around the block.

The HTTP Invalid Request Line test was built to look for evidence of proxy technologies that have been implemented in a network for censorship, surveillance, or traffic manipulation. This test can be hit or miss, though, and may present false positives. Take it with a grain of salt.


Finally, ooniprobe contains a fairly standard speed test. Nothing special here: the app will download and upload random bits of data to get a feel for your overall network and connection.

Remember that all of the data gathered is published for equal and unrestricted access. OONI is, of course, free and open-source software (FOSS) with all source code available for perusal. More tests are planned for the app's future, so be looking for further updates.

It has been brought to my attention that OONI has a pretty obvious warning for running ooniprobe. If you live in a country where the activities conducted in this app would be considered illegal, I (and OONI) strongly advise caution. I think this should be pretty obvious, but I am putting it out there.

Here is what OONI has to say on it.

Developer: The Tor Project
Price: Free