Herdict

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About Herdict

Herdict collects and disseminates real-time, crowdsourced information about Internet filtering, denial of service attacks, and other blockages. Based at the Berkman Center at Harvard University, it is the first and only large-scale project of its kind. When individuals can’t access a site, they can report that experience to Herdict through browser toolbars, e-mail, Twitter or Herdict.org. Herdict aggregates this data to create a real-time map of global Internet health. This data can be sorted and visualized by country, URL, and date, creating a picture of changes as they are happening.

About Herdict's current projects

Project 1:

We are looking for someone who can help us create a program that will scour a microblogging site, like twitter, and identify when someone might be saying that a site is down or blocked. So something that would constantly look for things like URL within 3 words of "blocked" "censored" "inaccessible" "i can't get to" etc. We'd be looking for something north of 75% accuracy, but not perfection. Bonus points if we can do it for Sina Weibo instead of Twitter, but that will require some language skills.

Project 2:

Herdict currently has a downloadable browser add-on that enables users to report inaccessible sites directly from their browser. We aim to supplement that functionality with automatic reporting when the user encounters an identifiable inaccessible site. For instance, when a browser cannot resolve a requested URL, it will throw a 504 error; our add-on should be able to detect that error and use it to generate an inaccessible report for Herdict. Additionally, there are known blocking patterns that some ISPs provide when a site resolves, but the resolved page indicates only that the requested site is inaccessible. The add-on should be able to automatically detect these known blocking patterns and generate an inaccessible report. This new functionality will reduce the hurdles that currently exist for Herdict users.


Mentor: ryan@herdict.org

General Questions: berkmancenterharvard@gmail.com