Roya Ensafi is a Morris Wellman assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, where her research focuses on Internet security and privacy, with the goal of creating techniques and systems to better protect users online. She is particularly passionate about online censorship, geo-discrimination, surveillance, and related threats to Internet freedom. Prof. Ensafi is the founder of Censored Planet, a global censorship observatory. She has studied Russia’s throttling of Twitter, HTTPS interception in Kazakhstan, and China’s Great Cannon attack, among many other instances of network interference. She is a recipient of the Google Faculty Research Award, the NSF Research Initiation Initiative award, multiple IRTF Applied Networking Research Prizes, and the Consumer Reports Digital Lab fellowship. Her work has been cited in popular publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, Business Insider, Wired, and Ars Technica.
In 2020, CR awarded Roya Ensafi an Innovation Lab Fellowship to help build VPNalyzer, a research instrumentation to enable crowdsourced investigations into commercial VPNs. VPNalyzer uses crowdsourced data from volunteers to measure the privacy and security of VPNs.