SaTC Censorship Evasion Project Receives Large NSF Grant


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded , Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stony Brook University, funding to conduct research on Internet censorship and methods for resisting censorship. The project kicked off in early September 2015 and will take place over the next four years.

This is one of the largest awarded by the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program this year and it is a collaborative effort between University of California-Berkeley, University of New Mexico, Georgia Tech, and Stony Brook University. Gill’s budget for Stony Brook University’s portion is $324K. In total, the SaTC program awarded 310 grants to researchers in 32 states, ranging in size from $10,000 to nearly $2 million.

The project, began by developing models based on censor observed behavior and preferences. It will then use those models to determine appropriate evaluation criteria for eventual censorship evasion tools. According to NSF, this year’s SaTC awards continue to acknowledge the complex interactions between people and technology as a key part of cybersecurity.

“I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to what this project will yield for our understanding of censorship.” Professor Gill said.

Certainly this research will be useful to many Internet users across the globe, especially those in countries with governments that censor material on the Internet. The project will develop tools and techniques to systematically understand Internet censorship. These tools, and the understanding they will provide, will aid developers of circumvention tools in ensuring resilience to censors in the field.

Computer science students at Stony Brook University should be especially excited about this award. The issues that this project will be covering are also included in Professor Gill’s CSE592 course on Internet Censorship, giving Stony Brook students a unique opportunity to be on the frontline of this area of computer science. In total, Stony Brook University received, the largest of any university. 

Professor Gill joined the Department of Computer Science nearly two years ago. Gill received her M.Sc and B.Sc. from the University of Calgary. She then went on to get her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto. She has also conducted research as part of Microsoft Research, Boston University Security Group, and AT&T Labs. Here at Stony Brook, she leads the