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FOCI 2012 : 2nd USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet


When Aug 6, 2012 - Aug 6, 2012
Where Bellevue, WA
Submission Deadline Apr 26, 2012
Notification Due Jun 7, 2012
Final Version Due Jul 10, 2012
Categories    USENIX   FOCI   open communications   tech

Call For Papers

Program Co-Chairs
Roger Dingledine, The Tor Project
Joss Wright, University of Oxford

The 2nd USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI '12) seeks to bring together 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.

The Internet offers great promise for improving the communication capabilities of citizens, but our increasing dependence on networked communications also makes it easier for organizations to control, monitor, and block communications. ISPs and governments routinely restrict access to Internet content and services, either by censoring access to information or by degrading the performance of services or blocking them entirely. Similarly, ISPs can degrade network performance for certain sets of users for some or all services, for arbitrary purposes. ISPs have been found to block or throttle certain application traffic routinely. This growing trend toward blocking, tampering, or otherwise restricting communications on the Internet calls for improved techniques both for monitoring the state of restrictions on Internet content and communications, in order to inform users, and for circumventing attempts to censor, degrade, or otherwise tamper with Internet communications.

The broadening scope of attacks on Internet freedom is forcing more disciplines to address the issue. Last year's workshop brought together four research communities:

•Those studying network neutrality and performance degradation
•Those measuring content censorship and blocking of resources and services
•Those designing and evaluating censorship circumvention tools
•Those who work on the wider implications of censorship, bringing perspectives from the worlds of policy, law, ethics, and political and social sciences
•This second workshop aims to repeat and promote this critical interdisciplinary approach.

We encourage submission of new, interesting work on a wide variety of topics of interest, including but not limited to the following areas:

•Evaluation or analysis of existing anti-censorship systems
•Comparisons of existing performance-measurement tools that might be used to detect tampering, blocking, or violations of net neutrality
•Studies and findings on real-world censorship or tampering from field deployments or other methods, such as the content that states censor or the extent to which ISPs are degrading certain types of content or service
•Metrics and analysis of plausible deniability and robustness
•Metrics and benchmarks for content tampering or performance degradation
•Detection, measuring, and analysis of the censorship of search results
•Design of network protocols and topologies that resist tampering or censorship
•Techniques to counter mass surveillance or its effects
•The role of private corporations in spreading or enabling surveillance and censorship
•Capabilities of deep packet inspection (DPI) and robust mechanisms to circumvent DPI
•Legality of censorship-resistant systems or bypassing censorship
•Economic considerations in the design and deployment of censorship-resistant systems
•Analysis of the economic impact of censorship
•Usability in censorship-resistant systems
•Effects of censorship on society, business, or political processes

We emphasize that this workshop seeks to draw submissions from a range of disciplines. As such, non-technical work that examines the wider implications of censorship and its effects will be considered favorably.

What to Submit
We invite short position papers or work-in-progress reports. FOCI will favor interesting and new ideas and early results that lead to well-founded position papers. We envision that work presented at FOCI will ultimately be published at relevant, high-quality conferences. Papers will be selected primarily based on technical merit and originality, with additional consideration given to their potential to generate discussion at the workshop.

Submission Guidelines
Submitted papers must be no longer than six 8.5" x 11" pages, based on the standard USENIX format. Specifically, your paper should be typeset in two-column format in 10-point type on 12 point (single-spaced) leading, with a text block no more than 6.5" wide by 9" deep. Submissions are single-blind; authors should include their names and affiliations in their submission. Papers must be submitted via the Web submission form, which will be available here soon.

All accepted papers will be available online to registered attendees before the workshop. If your paper should not be published prior to the event, please notify The papers will be available online to everyone beginning on the day of the workshop, August 6, 2012.

Simultaneous submission of the same work to multiple venues, submission of previously published work, or plagiarism constitutes dishonesty or fraud. USENIX, like other scientific and technical conferences and journals, prohibits these practices and may take action against authors who have committed them. See the USENIX Conference Submissions Policy for details. Questions? Contact your program co-chairs,, or the USENIX office, Note, however, that we expect that many papers accepted for FOCI '12 will eventually be extended as full papers suitable for presentation at future conferences.

Papers accompanied by nondisclosure agreement forms will not be considered. Accepted submissions will be treated as confidential prior to publication on the USENIX FOCI '12 Web site; rejected submissions will be permanently treated as confidential.

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