Dr Joss Wright
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.
Areas of Interest for Doctoral Supervision
Censorship, computational social science, cryptography, ethics, governance, privacy, public policy, security, surveillance, machine learning
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
October 2013 - September 2016
This project considers the challenges of having robot proxies in public spaces. It will conduct experiments exploring trust in shared social settings, and develop a framework for understanding the impact of privacy / anonymity in human-robot interactions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Wright, J. (2014) Regional Variation in Chinese Internet Filtering. Information, Communication & Society 17 (1) 121-141.
- Wright, J. (2013) Necessary and inherent limits to internet surveillance. Internet Policy Review.
- O'Hanlon, P., Wright, J. and Brown, I. (2014) Privacy at the Link Layer. In W3C/IAB workshop on Strengthening the Internet Against Pervasive Monitoring (STRINT).
- de Souza, T., Wright, J., O'Hanlon, P. and Brown, I. (2012) Set Difference Attacks in Wireless Sensor Networks. Proceedings of SecureComm, Italy, September 2012.
- Pham, V., Wright, J. and Dogan, K. (2011) A Practical Complexity-Theoretic Analysis of Mix Systems. Proceedings of ESORICS 2011, 12-15 September 2011, Leuven, Belgium.
- Wright, J., de Souza, T. and Brown, I. (2011) Fine-Grained Censorship Mapping: Information Sources, Legality and Ethics. FOCI'11 (USENIX Security Symposium), 8 August 2011, San Francisco.
- Wright, J. and Brown, I. (2010) Privacy Challenges in Delay-Tolerant and Restricted-Route Networks. Proceedings of the 2nd Extreme Workshop on Communication, Dharamsala, India, 4-10 September 2010.
- Wright, J. (2010) Obscured by Clouds: On the Privacy Implications of Cloud Computing. Proceedings of the 11th Czech Information Security Summit, Prague, Czech Republic, 24-26 May 2010.
- Pham, V. and Wright, J. (2009) Discussing Anonymity Metrics for Mix Based Anonymity Approaches. Proceedings of iNetSec 2009: Open Problems in Network Security. Zurich, Switzerland. 23-24 April 2009.
- Wright, J. and Stepney, S. (2008) Enforcing Behaviour with Anonymity. Proceedings of SecureComm 2008 / AlPaCa: Applications of Private and Anonymous Communications. Istanbul, Turkey. 22 September 2008.
- Zevenbergen, B., Brown,I., Wright, J., and Erdos, D. (2013) Ethical Privacy Guidelines for Mobile Connectivity Measurements. Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.
- Brown, I., Wright, J., et al. (2013) Comprehensive Study on Cybercrime. UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna. March 2013.
- Wright, J., Stepney, S., Clark, J.A. and Jacob, J. (2005) Formalizing Anonymity: A Review. University of York Technical (Yellow) Report. University of York, Heslington, York. YO10 5DD. UK.
- Wright, J. (2007) Characterising Anonymity Systems. University of York, Heslington, York. YO10 5DD. UK.
Courses taught at the OII
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.
DPhil students supervised at the OII
Recorded on: 28 November 2012 Duration: 00:39:10
This lecture will cover the technology behind converging networks and diverging platforms, and the policy responses of regulators such as the US Federal Communications Commission, European Commission and UK Office of Communications.
Recorded on: 21 November 2012 Duration: 01:01:40
This lecture will look at the range of centralised, federated and user-centric identity management technologies being developed and how governments and business are implementing them.
Recorded on: 14 November 2012 Duration: 00:54:27
This lecture will cover key technological and legal trends in data protection and information security, and consider the two key drivers of security and efficiency in government use of personal data.
Recorded on: 7 November 2012 Duration: 00:58:29
This lecture will cover the blocking technologies used and the policies being developed in a range of nations including the UK, the US, China and Australia.
Recorded on: 10 October 2012 Duration: 01:48:24
This lecture covers the basic concepts and policy implications of the Internet technical architecture, including the end-to-end principle, the IP 'hourglass', and how real-time and best-effort reliable communications are carried over lossy networks.
Recorded on: 13 August 2012 Duration: 01:18:05
This lecture examines, from a technological angle, the problems involved with gathering, storing and accessing data about individuals in databases whilst preserving their individual privacy.
1 June 2015 BBC News Technology
Whilst welcoming the changes being made to Google's security settings, Joss Wright has some reservations about the way the choices are presented.
13 January 2015 Sky News
Joss Wright demonstrates how private and publicly held data can be combined to reveal the identity of patients despite NHS anonymising medical records.
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.
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.
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.
21 October 2014 Free Speech Debate
In a long-form article, Joss Wright describes the technical and ethical challenges in investigating online censorship.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
10 March 2014 Oxford Mail
Oxford's local daily paper writes about Ian Brown's work and the Oxford London lecture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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).
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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. I was recently interviewed on BBC World News about how the Kindle does this, and what some of the implications are. [...]