Northeastern University, College of Computer and Information Science
Name of Investigator: David Choffnes
Title of Project: Identifying network traffic differentiation from mobile devices

Request to Participate in Research

We would like to invite you to take part in a research project. The purpose of this research study is to understand how cellular Internet providers give different performance to different network traffic from your smartphone. For example, we would like to know if a provider is speeding up YouTube traffic and/or slowing down Netflix. Northeastern University researchers will use this information to understand how often this occurs, where this occurs and what are the implications.

We are asking you to participate in this study because you are a smartphone user who has installed our app for detecting traffic differentiation. The decision to participate in this research project is voluntary. You do not have to participate and you can uninstall the app at any time. Even if you begin using the app, you can stop at any time. You must be at least 18 years of age to participate.

You can run tests from the app as many or as few times as you like. We would like you to run tests on different networks that you mobile device connects to, and at different times of day.

The possible risks or discomforts of the study are minimal. When you use the app, we will record the traffic it generates (including timestamps) and use this data to determine whether your Internet service provider (ISP) is interfering with your network traffic in any way. If available, we will collect information about your network, signal strength, operating system, and coarse-grained location (no more precise than a 1km radius of your location). Data concerning the network performance you receive while running tests (including timestamps), as well as information about your network, signal strength, operating system and jurisdiction (e.g., country, state, province) will be anonymized and made publicly available so that others can reproduce our findings. All other data will be shared only with co-investigators, and it will not be annotated with any personally identifiable information.

There are no direct benefits to you from participating in this study. However, by running the app you may help us learn more about how ISPs interfere with Internet traffic from mobile devices. You will not be paid for your participation in this study.

Your part in this study is anonymous to the researcher(s). However, because of the nature of Internet traffic, it is possible that participants could be identified by the IP address or other electronic records associated with the response. We will anonymize any IP addresses that could be used to identify you once we have processed the data to detect differentiation. Any reports or publications based on this research will use only group data and will not identify you or any individual as being affiliated with this project.

If you have any questions about this study, please feel free to e-mail the project team at, and the person mainly responsible for the research will respond.

If you have any questions about your rights in this research, you may contact Nan C. Regina, Director, Human Subject Research Protection, 360 Huntington Avenue, Mail Stop 560-177, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115. Tel: 617.373.4588, Email: You may call anonymously if you wish.

If you have any questions regarding electronic privacy, please feel free to contact Mark Nardone, NU’s Director of Information Security via phone at 617-373-7901, or via email at

TThis study has been reviewed and approved by the Northeastern University Institutional Review Board (#14-08-16).

By clicking the "accept” button below you are indicating that you consent to participate in this study. Please print out a copy of this consent form for your records.

Thank you for your time.
David Choffnes

© Copyright 2019 by David Choffnes, Northeastern University.