W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > ietf-http-wg-old@w3.org > May to August 1997

Re: GET and referer security considerations

From: Scott Lawrence <lawrence@agranat.com>
Date: Wed, 02 Jul 1997 15:11:37 -0400
Message-Id: <199707021911.PAA09298@devnix.agranat.com>
To: http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com

>>>>> "DM" == Dave Morris

DM> The BCP suggestion is valid in any case, but from an HTTP perspective,
DM> there has never been a distinction between the piece of software known as
DM> the server and applications it may launch ... the composite is "the
DM> server".

  But in practice there really is an important distinction.  Despite
  the fact that it is out of fashion to discuss any layer between
  transport and application in the ISO model, HTTP is really right in
  there.  Sometimes the thing that implements it is also the
  application (as an httpd serving static documents), but more and
  more often now it is not.

>>>>> "KH" == Koen Holtman <koen@win.tue.nl> writes:

KH> I did not mean to specify a restriction which a poor httpd could
KH> never enforce by itself.  The following restatement would also work:

KH>   Authors of services which use the HTTP protocol SHOULD NOT use .....

  That would be much better wording.  My main concern because it
  makes clear what software is constrained here (in this case, it is
  something written in HTML - the ACTION attribute of the FORM).  Now
  whether or not the HTTP specification is the most effective place
  for that (given that most form authors probably will never read
  it) is another question...

>>>>> "LM" == Larry Masinter <masinter@parc.xerox.com> writes:

LM> Why don't I ask for volunteers to draft a sentence or two on the
LM> general issue of security/privacy around 'Referer:' and when it
LM> should and shouldn't be sent. If the advice is "Never, unless blah".

  The RFC already has:

14.37 Referer

  [...]
     Note: Because the source of a link may be private information or
     may reveal an otherwise private information source, it is strongly
     recommended that the user be able to select whether or not the
     Referer field is sent. For example, a browser client could have a
     toggle switch for browsing openly/anonymously, which would
     respectively enable/disable the sending of Referer and From
     information.

  Perhaps this issue should be forwareded to the W3C people who are
  preparing yet another revision of HTML...

--
Scott Lawrence           EmWeb Embedded Server       <lawrence@agranat.com>
Agranat Systems, Inc.        Engineering            http://www.agranat.com/
Received on Wednesday, 2 July 1997 12:28:42 EDT

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