New Release: BridgeDB 0.9.3

New Release: BridgeDB 0.9.3

Philipp Winter
February 11, 2020

When ISPs or governments block access to the Tor network, our users rely on bridges to connect. With BridgeDB, we tackle the problem of how to get bridges to censored users while making it difficult for censors to get all bridges.

A lot has changed since our last blog post, which introduced BridgeDB version 0.7.1. We recently released BridgeDB version 0.9.3, which comes with the following bug fixes and new features:

  • Ticket 24607: We recently made BridgeDB’s CAPTCHAs easier to solve by reducing the amount of noise in images. Our usage metrics reveal that the success rate increased from ~50% to ~80%. How is your experience with BridgeDB’s CAPTCHAs? Let us know in the comments!
  • Ticket 9316: BridgeDB is now reporting privacy-preserving usage metrics every 24 hours. These metrics help us understand how users interact with BridgeDB. For example, these metrics reveal that Moat is our most popular distributor and obfs4 is our most requested transport protocol. The raw metrics are archived on CollecTor but you can also take a look at the number of requests per transport and requests per distributor on Tor Metrics.
  • Ticket 31252: BridgeDB sees many automated requests from bots. This patch makes it possible to detect and block bots based on their HTTP parameters.
  • Ticket 26543: We added a language switcher menu to the top right corner of BridgeDB’s user interface.
  • Ticket 32203: We fixed a bug that resulted in missing requests for vanilla bridges.
  • Ticket 32134: Request another translation and update BridgeDB’s documentation on how to request translations.
  • Ticket 32105: We debugged and fixed an email responder issue that emerged after upgrading BridgeDB’s underlying operating system to Debian buster.
  • Ticket 31903: We updated existing translations and published translation requests for new strings.
  • Ticket 31780: This patch adds a specification for the metrics we implemented as part of ticket 9316.
  • Ticket 29484: We updated BridgeDB’s requirements to their latest respective versions.
  • Ticket 17626: We helped BridgeDB’s email responder deal with quoted email responses. This should make the email responder more pleasant to interact with.
  • Ticket 28533: We added links to our Support Portal and our Tor Browser Manual to BridgeDB’s landing page and we removed the front desk’s email address, which greatly reduced the number of automated email requests.
  • Ticket 26542: We fixed a bug that prevented BridgeDB from handing out vanilla IPv6 bridges.
  • Ticket 22755: Some of BridgeDB’s unit tests require bridge descriptors to work. We have been using the tool leekspin to create fake descriptors before unit tests are run. This patch replaced leekspin with a script that uses stem to create fake descriptors. This simplifies our unit tests and reduces the number of BridgeDB’s dependencies.

Several other bug fixes and features are already in development. You can expect the following changes in the near future:

  • BridgeDB was originally implemented in Python 2, which is no longer supported since January 1, 2020. We have been busy porting BridgeDB’s code base to Python 3 and we’re almost done.
  • As part of Sponsor 30, we are working on several UX improvements. For example, we will build a feedback loop between BridgeDB and OONI: BridgeDB will learn from OONI what bridges are blocked where, and use this knowledge to be smarter about bridge distribution. For example, if a user from Turkey is requesting bridges, BridgeDB will no longer hand this user bridges that are blocked in Turkey.

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Categories: Tor Project

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