Open Technology Fund Fellowship Awarded to CS PhD Candidate


Abbas Razaghpanah, PhD candidate in computer science at Stony Brook University, was awarded an Open Technology Fund Fellowship, a program that provides support for scholars who want to work on projects related to "information controls, specifically repressive Internet censorship and surveillance”.

Razaghpanah, who is advised by Dr. Phillipa Gill, Professor of Computer Science at Stony Brook University, worked remotely with researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab on his Internet censorship measurement project for about one year.

The researchers with whom Razaghpanah works are a team of social and computer scientists who are involved with advocacy in Internet censorships, online information controls, and online surveillance. At Stony Brook, Razaghpanah says he and his team have been developing ICLab, a research platform, which allows scientists to study Internet censorship on a global scale. As part of the fellowship, Razaghpanah will now have the opportunity to work directly with the researchers at the University of Toronto at their Citizen‘s Lab for three months.

“This platform will help Citizen Lab's researchers conduct experiments at scale and gather results from the field more consistently and with more ease,” Razaghpanah said. “Collaborating with Citizen Lab will allow us to use their domain knowledge in areas where they suspect censorship is happening so that we can focus our measurement efforts and studies.”

Prof. Gill said she is very proud of all Razaghpanah has done at Stony Brook, and knows that he will continue to be successful in the fellowship, “Abbas is a very motivated student who will use the opportunity to visit the Citizen Lab to its fullest potential to bring our vision of ICLab into practice,” she said.

Razaghpanah, whose research interests include computer networks and network measurement, said, “I believe in freedom of information and the right to freely access the Internet.” Following his fellowship, Razaghpanah said, “I hope to be able to use my research to advocate for free and unrestricted access to the Internet. Measuring Internet interference and censorship will certainly help realize this ambition by bringing the issue to light and giving us a better understanding of how censors work, which in turn, will aid researchers in developing ways of circumventing Internet censorship.”

Additionally, Razaghpanah said, “I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Phillipa Gill, whose guidance and support has greatly helped me secure this fellowship.”