Ram Sundara Raman earns Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship

The fellowship will help support his work to study global Internet censorship.
Ramakrishnan Sundara Raman

Ram Sundara Raman has received a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship to support his studies as a PhD candidate in computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan.

Ram’s work is centered on using Internet measurement methods to detect, analyze and prevent large-scale threats to Internet users’ security and privacy. His research involves measuring Internet censorship and network interference around the globe. To that end, he leads work on the Censored Planet Observatory, which is a platform for continuously measuring different types of network interference. He also analyzes the technologies that enable censorship and surveillance by governments, ISPs, and other entities.

Most recently, Ram and his advisor, Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professor Roya Ensafi, along with their collaborators from the Citizen Lab and Princeton CITP, presented novel network measurement methods that democratize technical in-depth investigation of censorship devices deployed across the world. The team built novel methods to identify the network location, manufacturers, and rules and triggers of censorship devices, and applied them to perform measurements in four countries of interest. The project was recognized with the Applied Networking Research Prize (ANRP) by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Ram’s measurement studies have been applied to shed light on a number of real-world instances of large-scale content blocking and censorship. He and his team have published studies on censoring of COVID-19 websites, HTTPS interception in Kazakhstan, and decentralized censorship techniques used in Russia. He has also contributed to projects studying geographical security and privacy differences in mobile apps and a study of network changes that occurred in Russia following the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Previously, Ram earned the U-M MLK Spirit Award (2023), the HotPETs 2022 Best Talk Award, and the OTF Information Controls Fellowship Award.