Free and Open Communications on the Internet

FOCI gathers researchers and practitioners from technology, law, and policy who are working on means to study, detect, or circumvent practices that inhibit free and open communications on the Internet.


Our FOCI 2024 Call for Papers is up! Consider submitting your work for the hybrid event in July.


The goal of FOCI is to bring together researchers, implementers, and activists working in the area of internet freedom. We recognize that control over online speech has become inherently interdisciplinary, so that studying these problems often involves adopting a holistic, interdisciplinary perspective. We aim to catalyze new research directions and in-depth discussions concerning free and open communications on the internet by providing a space for work that might not fit at conventional computer science measurement and security conferences. We particularly encourage early-stage research or extensions on previously published research.

Virtual FOCI 2024 Program

February 19th from 11:00 am till 05:00 pm EST (16:00 - 22:00 UTC)


11:15 - 12:15

Against the "arms race"
David Fifield
[video] [slides]

12:30 - 1:30
Session 1: Exposing Censorship

Internet Sanctions on Russian Media: Implementation and Effects
John Kristoff, Max Resing, Moritz Müller, Arturo Filastò, Chris Kanich, Niels ten Oever
[video] [paper]

Bleeding Wall: A Hematologic Examination on the Great Firewall
Sakamoto, Elson Wedwards
[video] [paper]

1:30 - 2:30

2:30 - 4:00
Session 2: Censorship Circumvention Tools

Just add WATER: WebAssembly-based Circumvention Transports
Erik Chi, Gaukas Wang, J. Alex Halderman, Eric Wustrow, Jack Wampler
[video] [paper]

Extended Abstract: Traffic Splitting for Pluggable Transports
Anna Harbluk Lorimer, Rob Jansen, Nick Feamster
[video] [paper]

Extended Abstract: Oscur0: One-shot Circumvention without registration
Mingye Chen, Jack Wampler, Abdulrahman Alaraj, Gaukas Wang, Eric Wustrow
[video] [paper]

4:00 - 5:00
Wrap Up and Town Hall


We welcome studies on all aspects of digital speech control. Below are some examples of topics that we consider definitely relevant to FOCI, however we encourage community members to interpret this list broadly and feel free to submit works not specifically listed here.

  • Surveillance: e.g., analyses of corporate or government surveillance; anonymity systems that aim to protect users from surveillance; societal impacts of surveillance
  • Censorship: e.g., the measurement or evaluation of Internet censorship; tools or systems that circumvent censorship; ethics or risks towards users in the research of censorship measurement or circumvention
  • Content moderation systems: e.g., analyses of tools employed by social media
  • Disinformation and misinformation online: e.g., analyses of digital propaganda; social media trends
  • Press freedom: e.g., deployment of tools to protect whistleblowers; analysis of government or corporate repression of the press
  • Intellectual Property: e.g., right to repair; analyses of copyright/patent law

Advisory Board

  • Amir Houmansadr, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Cecylia Bocovich
  • Dave Levin, University of Maryland
  • Eric Wustrow, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Jed Crandall, Arizona State University
  • Jon Penney, The Citizen Lab, University of Toronto/Dalhousie
  • Joss Wright, University of Oxford
  • Nick Feamster, University of Chicago
  • Phillipa Gill, Google
  • Prateek Mittal, Princeton University
  • Rob Jansen, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
  • Roger Dingledine, Tor Project
  • Roya Ensafi, University of Michigan
  • Tariq Elahi, University of Edinburgh

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