Practical Technology

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451: Web censorship status code

Back in the early days of the Web, we set up Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) status messages to let people know what was going on with a Web server. Today, we still use 401 error messages for pages you’re not authorized to see, 403 pages for pages you can’t see even with authentication, and the ever popular 404 for Web pages that can’t be found. Now, with the rise of Internet censorship, Tim Bray is proposing a new HTTP code: 451, for Web servers and pages that are being censored,

Bray, a leading Google Android developer and co-creator of one of the first Web search engines, Open Text and XML, has proposed to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that code 451 be used for, “when resource access is denied for legal reasons. This allows server operators to operate with greater transparency in circumstances where issues of law or public policy affect their operation. This transparency may be beneficial both to these operators and to end users.”

451: Web censorship status code. More >

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