Dr Joss Wright

 Dr Joss Wright

Joss Wright's research interests lie in cryptography, privacy-enhancing technologies and anonymous communications. His current research focuses on analysing Internet censorship, and data anonymization.

Email: joss.wright@oii.ox.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)1865 612337


Dr Joss Wright gained his PhD in Computer Science at the University of York, where his work focused on the description and analysis of anonymous communication mechanisms. Following this, he spent time at the University of Siegen in Germany examining security and privacy issues in cloud computing.

Joss's interests lie in the area of anonymous and censorship-resistant communications, cryptographic fundamentals and in the wider field of privacy enhancing technologies, their applications and their implications.

At the OII, Joss is working on the "Being There" project, which looks at privacy in public spaces, and a Google-funded project analysing Internet censorship.

Research interests

Internet censorship, privacy, anonymity, cryptography, security, social implications of surveillance and privacy technologies, data minimisation

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Fellow, November 2012 -
  • Fresnel Research Fellow, January 2010 - November 2012


Current projects

Past projects

  • Ethical Privacy Guidelines for Mobile Connectivity Measurements

    May - August 2013

    This project is developing concrete guidance with regards to privacy and data protection for researchers using Internet measurement tools for mobile phones in a usable and understandable format.

  • Future Home Networks and Services

    May 2011 - April 2014

    This project is addressing home network and service security by researching and developing security frameworks for sharing between networks and devices, protocols to connect devices with cloud services, and security analysis of remote management systems.

  • FRESNEL: Federated Secure Sensor Network Laboratory

    January 2010 - April 2013

    FRESNEL aims to build a large scale federated sensor network framework with multiple applications sharing the same resources, where reliable intra-application communication is guaranteed, as well as a scalable and distributed management infrastructure.

  • SUBITO: Surveillance of Unattended Baggage and the Identification and Tracking of the Owner

    July 2009 - October 2011

    SUBITO is designed to research and further develop automated real time detection of abandoned luggage, fast identification of the individual responsible and his/her subsequent path and current location.

  • IMSK: Integrated Mobile Security Kit

    March 2009 - March 2013

    IMSK integrates information from legacy and novel sensor technologies into common operational picture where information is fused into intelligence, in a mobile system suitable for rapid deployment at venues which temporarily need enhanced security.



Conference papers




Courses taught at the OII

  • Internet Technologies and Regulation

    Exploring the interplay between social and technological shaping of the Internet, and associated policy implications. It outlines the Internet's origins and technical architecture and its embeddedness in a long history of communication technologies.



  • Soon the internet will be impossible to control

    10 December 2014 Daily Telegraph

    Joss Wright comments in an in-depth article about who controls the internet and how users' online experience is controlled.

  • Is the Internet broken, and can it even be fixed?

    3 November 2014 CNN

    In an in-depth article written for CNN Joss Wright discusses the shortcomings of the evolving nature of the internet and says that its future should be guided towards the benefits rather than risks.

  • Location, location, location: how your smartphone knows exactly where you've been...

    28 October 2014 Evening Standard

    iPhone's keep track of places recently visited as well as how often and when visited. Joss Wright comments that localisation and data sharing are likely to increae.

  • ‘Are decisions being made about me using data I never meant to give to a third party?’: WIRED’s Madhumita Venkataramanan on data-tracking companies

    6 October 2014 Evening Standard

    The personal data economy uses data from our private and public lives to identify our behaviour, location and interactions. Joss Wright comments that simply removing a name from a list does not make for anonymity.

  • Inside the Dark Web

    4 September 2014 BBC 2

    Joss Wright is a major contributor to the 'Horizon' documentary on BBC2 discussing the challenges to the web posed by surveillance by governments and corporations and by the development of the so-called Dark Web.

  • Uncertainty: technology's secret weapon in encouraging us to explore

    1 September 2014 Guardian Technology

    The OII's Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information explains why a degree of healthy uncertainty is to be welcomed, in an in-depth article in Guardian Technology.

  • The day the internet broke

    15 August 2014 Daily Telegraph

    Joss Wright provides extensive expert comment on the background to the Internet breakdown which affected major websites including eBay. ‘It's complicated’ he says. Fundamentally, no-one planned the Internet.

  • Is the internet full? Major sites brought down by technical problems

    14 August 2014 Brisbane Times

    Joss Wright comments on the problems that brought down the eBay site this week. It has been predicted that these occurrences will become more commonplace.

  • Top websites crash as web 'starts to run out space': Fears major technical problems could become regular occurrence

    14 August 2014 Mail Online

    Article on major technical problems which brought down several web site, including eBay quotes Joss Wright's comments to the Daily Telegraph.

  • Is the Internet full? Major sites brought down by technical problems

    13 August 2014 The Telegraph

    The eBay site was brought down this week and it has been predicted that this kind of failure will become more commonplace. Joss Wright comments.

  • LG launches fridges, washers and cookers that chat

    7 May 2014 BBC News Technology

    New ‘smart-aware’ home appliances which allow owners to see what food is inside the fridge and control other home appliances are the stuff of classic nightmare stories warns Joss Wright, raising possibilities of a cooker being hacked at night.

  • Robots will be on our streets within a decade

    10 March 2014 Oxford Mail

    Oxford's local daily paper writes about Ian Brown's work and the Oxford London lecture.

  • Oxford University teaches robots to keep secrets

    6 March 2014 ITPRO

    When robots become more integrated with daily life, questions of security and privacy will become crucial. IT Pro reports on the work of Ian Brown and Joss Wright.

  • Tech giants lash out at government snooping

    9 December 2013 The Advertiser (Adelaide)

    Joss Wright says that major technology companies which signed an open letter to President Obama have a strong interest in the free flow of information and face the risk of non-US countries imposing tougher privacy legislation.

  • Google block will not stop child porn, experts warn

    18 November 2013 Daily Telegraph

    Joss Wright explains why the Google and Microsoft ban on online child abuse sites are unlikely to be enough to deter users.

  • NSA spying: Facebook, Google, Twitter demand controls

    9 November 2013 CBC News World

    Joss Wright says that 8 major technology companies which signed an open letter to President Obama have a strong interest in the free flow of information and face the risk of non-US countries imposing tougher privacy legislation.

  • Tech giants lash out at government snooping

    9 November 2013 Australia Associated Press

    Joss Wright says that major technology companies which signed an open letter to President Obama have a strong interest in the free flow of information and face the risk of non-US countries imposing tougher privacy legislation. (Also in Perth Now)

  • Webcams taken over by hackers, charity warns

    20 June 2013 BBC Online, Technology

    BBC Radio 5 live has been investigating claims of webcam hackers using malicious software remote access sites that hack into webcams and can then exchange pictures and videos of people without their knowledge. Joss Wright comments.

  • Hacktivist Attacks: Freedom Fighters of Freedom Violators?

    3 April 2013 Talk Radio News Service

    Joss Wright is quoted in an article on the US news service site on the hacktivist phenomenon. He says 'in one sense the actions of Anonymous are themselves ... censoring websites in response to positions with which they disagree'.

  • Florida pet spa mystery link to China's great firewall

    30 November 2012 New Scientist

    A report on Joss Wright’s work on internet censorship in China notes that among his findings on how censorship is applied was the surprising fact that visitors to one site that prevents online tracking were sent to the site of a pet spa in Miami.

  • Tougher interception laws to reach Twitter

    9 May 2012 ZDNet

    Making policy on combined access to Internet interactions based on old communications technology is 'dangerously simplistic' says Joss Wright, quoted in ZDNet's coverage of the draft Communications Data Bill.

  • The government's proposal for data communications surveillance will be invasive and costly with minimal effectiveness

    8 May 2012 British Politics and Policy at LSE

    Joss Wright argues in a blog post that Government proposals to allow law enforcement officials unprecedented access to Internet communications will only be minimally effective and will be both expensive and invasive.

  • Antisec hackers hit US police store after FBI arrests

    9 March 2012 BBC News

    The Antisec movement has reacted to an FBI crackdown on hackers by attacking the site of a company selling equipment to US law enforcers. Joss Wright says that the long term consequences of a symbolic victory for the FBI are hard to predict.

  • As Google acts, the question is: have we lost our privacy to the internet?

    3 March 2012 The Observer

    Joss Wright exchanges views with Tom Chatfield on protecting our privacy on-line as Google unveils its new policy on use of personal information. He warns that "We do not yet fully understand the power of the data we have shared".

  • What does Google know about you?

    1 March 2012 Channel 4 News

    The EU is concerned that Google's new policy on personal information may breach privacy. Although Internet abstinence is a sure way to avoid being watched, Joss Wright says that we are forced to use these services because they're so ubiquitous.

  • Google changes enable 'per country' blog takedowns

    2 February 2012 BBC News

    Google can now selectively block access in individual countries after a legal removal request. Joss Wright told the BBC that these changes are a positive step, striking a good balance between free speech, legality and practicality.

  • Israel tops cyber-readiness poll but China lags behind

    30 January 2012 BBC News

    A report on cyberdefence concludes that sharing of information globally is needed to keep ahead of threats. Joss Wright questions the likelihood of a change in military thinking from a culture of secrecy to one of sharing.

  • Q&A: Copyright Enforcement vs. Censorship - impact of Megaupload case

    23 January 2012 Radio Free Europe

    Interviewed by Radio Free Europe, Joss Wright responds to questions about closing file sharing websites and proposed anti-piracy acts (SOPA/PIPA) by the US. "It's difficult to draw the line between what is censorship and what is enforcing our laws".

  • Hackers retaliate over Megaupload website shutdown

    20 January 2012 BBC News

    The US government has been targeted by Anonymous in retaliation for the shutdown of the Megaupload file sharing site. Joss Wright says it might be argued that Anonymous themselves are censoring websites.

  • Click On

    31 October 2011 BBC Radio 4

    As protest throughout the world is on the rise, so online activism is increasing. Joss Wright discusses hactivism and how it might affect the development of the Internet and government responses on Radio 4 (from 24:15 on the iPlayer clock).


  • A Quick Investigation of EdgeCast CDN Blocking in China

    Joss Wright on 18 Nov 2014 21:05PM

    This morning, GreatFire.org published a story stating that EdgeCast CDN, one of the more popular content distribution networks that handles content for a number of large websites, has been blocked by the Chinese national filter. As a result, a friend [...]

  • Open Rights Group Report: “Digital Surveillance”

    Joss Wright on 16 May 2013 21:33PM

    The Open Rights Group have recently released “Digital Surveillance – Why the Snoopers’ Charter is the wrong approach: A call for targeted and accountable investigatory powers”. The report sets out various arguments as to why the proposed [...]

  • Chinese Internet Filtering: The Curious Case of the Florida Pet Club

    Joss Wright on 23 Dec 2012 16:22PM

    Of the various ways to filter the internet, manipulating DNS is probably the simplest and cheapest in terms of resources. DNS, the Domain Name Service, is the mapping between the human-readable URLs that we use, like https://www.pseudonymity.net, and the [...]

  • Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI’12)

    Joss Wright on 31 Mar 2012 14:04PM

    Following on from the fantastically interesting FOCI workshop last year, I am co-chairing this year’s FOCI workshop along with Roger Dingledine of the Tor Project. The workshop will again be co-located with USENIX Security, which is being held this [...]

  • Discussing Online Privacy in the Observer, with Tom Chatfield

    Joss Wright on 4 Mar 2012 20:12PM

    I was recently approached by the Observer to take part in an email-based discussion with Tom Chatfield about online privacy and the direction that companies like Facebook and Google are taking us. It was a lot of fun to write, over the course of a day, [...]

  • Presentation on Mapping Chinese Censorship

    Joss Wright on 29 Dec 2011 11:37AM

    I recently presented my work on censorship mapping to my colleagues at the OII, including a couple of maps with early analysis of DNS manipulation in Chinese cities. The analysis is very preliminary, and there are considerable caveats even for the early [...]

  • Freedom of Communication on the Internet Workshop (FOCI): Fine-Grained Censorship Mapping — Information Sources, Legality and Ethics

    Joss Wright on 2 Nov 2011 23:25PM

    This year saw the first workshop on Freedom of Communications on the Internet, co-located with USENIX Security in San Francisco. My contribution, co-authored with Ian Brown and Tulio de Souza, focused both on the means for mapping censorship in greater [...]

  • Experiences of Chinese Internet Censorship

    Joss Wright on 12 Sep 2011 15:51PM

    I was recently invited to speak at Dalian Technical University, in Liaoning Province in Northern China, and took the opportunity afterwards to spend three weeks travelling around China with my family. (Finally putting several years of studying Mandarin [...]

  • Freedom of Communications on the Internet (FOCI) Workshop

    Joss Wright on 27 Feb 2011 18:08PM

    I’m on my way back from the Workshop on Free and Open Communication on the Internet (FOCI) that was held in the last few days at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Hosted by Nick Feamster, FOCI brought together a number of computer scientists, activists, [...]

  • Contentious Connections

    Joss Wright on 6 Jan 2011 18:07PM

    I have a comment piece in the Guardian today about network neutrality and BT’s Content Connect service. The online version is here. I’ll let the article stand largely by itself, whilst pleading the difficulty of putting the net neutrality [...]

  • Wikileaks Lessons for Privacy-Enhancing Technologies

    Joss Wright on 10 Dec 2010 14:33PM

    I had been studiously avoiding writing about Wikileaks. I’ve been interviewed a couple of times in the last few days on various aspects of the ongoing saga, though, and it has highlighted some points that I think are worth mentioning. (Slightly [...]

  • Media reports on Chinese Internet ‘hijacking’

    Joss Wright on 19 Nov 2010 01:09AM

    Another media story on China and the Internet has been widely reported today, although with a somewhat depressing lack of detail and excess of hysteria. I was interviewed today on the BBC about the story (my comments start around 01:34) and so spent a [...]

  • Amazon’s Kindle and Anti-Censorship in China

    Joss Wright on 9 Nov 2010 23:36PM

    There's been quite a media buzz in the last few days regarding the ability of Amazon's new 3G Kindle to bypass China's Great Firewall[1]. I was recently interviewed on BBC World News about how the Kindle does this, and what some of the implications are. [...]