Open Collective
Open Collective
2023 September update
Published on October 3, 2023 by Erik Nordberg

(David Fifield)

There was an abrupt decline in the number of Snowflake users on the snowflake-01 bridge on 2023-09-20, but it was not caused by any censor action. Instead, it was a technical problem with the systems used by the default form of rendezvous. Rendezvous is the first step in making a Snowflake connection – it's how a client informs the broker that it needs service. For some users, a server used by the default rendezvous changed its hosting, which made them unable to get a Snowflake proxy.

There are fixes deployed in recent releases of Tor Browser and Orbot:
* Tor Browser 12.5.6
* Tor Browser 13.0a5
* Orbot for Android 17.1.0-RC-1

There was a decrease in bandwidth used on 2023-09-20 as well, but it was not as great as the decrease in users. This means that the users who were still able to connect were using more bandwidth per user. There was also a jump in bandwidth on 2023-09-08, for which we don't have an explanation.

The country chart shows that not all countries were affected equally by the problem with rendezvous. For example, Russia had a greater proportional drop than Iran.