HTTP: Error 451 soon website censorship symbol?

A new HTTP error could soon make its arrival on the web: it would be an error 451 to be associated with the site unavailable “for legal reasons”. The idea comes from the co-inventor of XML, Tim Bray, who proposed to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Customers familiar with the 404, which appears when a site is unavailable, or the 403 error that appears when accessing a page is not allowed. This is also often the latter that appears in the blocking of a website, such as The Pirate Bay in the UK, for example.

Tim Bray’s proposal offers a more accurate perspective in blocking part of this type because it includes the idea that the site is not available for legal reasons. For the co-creator of the XLM language would require further that that error 451 is accompanied by information on the origin of the blockage and the court decision. He explains in a long draft published on the IETF website. It also indicates that the application of this error would be “optional”: “It is conceivable that certain judicial authorities wish to avoid transparency, and while prohibiting access to certain resources, avoiding to highlight the existence of restrictions. ”

One can nevertheless note that some organizations prefer already put forward legal explanations on the sites pages blocked: this is particularly what the FBI with that firm pages, Megaupload, for example.

Finally emphasize that the figure 451 is not a coincidence, since if one believes the thanks expressed by Tim Bray in respect of the recently deceased Ray Bradbury, he refers to the book Fahrenheit 451 where burning is a common practice to prevent men from accessing knowledge through books. A wink that makes sense at a time when the blocking of websites is more than ever …

Edited on 11/07/2012 at 16:28

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