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[Bug 6606] New: generic 3rd-party <mark>, Smart Tags, and Activities prevention

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2009 06:53:00 +0000
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-6606-2495@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=6606

           Summary: generic 3rd-party <mark>, Smart Tags, and Activities
                    prevention
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: PC
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: enhancement
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML 5: The Markup Language
        AssignedTo: mike@w3.org
        ReportedBy: Nick_Levinson@yahoo.com
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: public-html@w3.org


Could you please add a brand-independent method for preventing anything
resembling Microsoft's Smart Tags or Activities from taking effect as to a Web
page? If the <mark> element is intended to be introduceable by servers other
than the website owner's, then that should be preventable.

A technology that allows turning a website owner's content into a link should
require the website owner's agreement.

Microsoft developed Smart Tags for a beta release of Internet Explorer 6, then 
withdrew it for the final release of that version. For a time, Microsoft's
website described a preventive tag that site owners could code into their HTML
at no cost. However, Microsoft has withdrawn that description, which now can be
found only on other sites. Microsoft reportedly has also offered something
comparable to Smart Tags called Activities for Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1, the
details of which I don't know and how a website owner can turn it off I don't
know, and it has instituted it for some applications, creating a problem when
document files are shared among institutions with different policies.

Harm can arise when users are unaware that the link is not the site owner's. A
subtle difference such as double-underlining is insufficient notice, since no
onsite legend describes it and only the technically savvy would know how to
find out if no one nearby knows. Contexts in which it can be misused include 
competitive use and misinformation. For example, a person committed to a health
cure that is scientifically invalid could mark up health sites to link to a
dangerous product on sale, even if the marked site belongs to, say, National
Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, or a local physician and there's no
theoretical or clinical evidence in support of the alternative. A porn purveyor
could mark up content on children's or men's websites or business sites. An
airline could mark up a competing airline's website. All of these could be
reversed, too. If someone can make a deal with a browser maker so that when a
page is accessed the browser also signals a second URL from which to retrieve
tags and links from an advertising seller, or can provide a consented-to
toolbar that gets the second URL, the problem could easily spread beyond one
browser maker.

While each inventor of technology can produce a workaround against any
preventive, if your preventive is sufficiently generic it could be harder to
sidestep it legally, much as is the case with robots.txt files, which are not
specific to any particular bot design, yet are helpful to website owners.

This responds to <http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/single-page/>, Working Draft, 12
February 2009. For Bugzilla, I selected all OSes; I develop on Win95a and 98SE
and Linux and want pages to work on whatever users use.

Thank you.

-- 
Nick


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Received on Sunday, 22 February 2009 06:53:10 GMT

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