W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-sweo-ig@w3.org > January 2008

HTTP URIs for real world objects

From: Reto Bachmann-Gmür <reto@gmuer.ch>
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 22:15:51 +0100
Message-ID: <478D2287.8060703@gmuer.ch>
To: public-sweo-ig@w3.org
From http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-cooluris-20071217/
> Given only a URI, machines and people should be able to retrieve a 
> description about the resource identified by the URI from the Web. 
> Such a look-up mechanism is important to establish shared 
> understanding of what a URI identifies. Machines should get RDF data 
> and humans should get a readable representation, such as HTML. The 
> standard Web transfer protocol, HTTP, should be used.
I think there are reasons to deprecate use of HTTP URIs for real-world 
object as promoting the assumption that dereferencing such a URI yields 
to an authoritative definition is dangerous.

    * DNS is centralistic
          o I don't know if control has passed from the US DoC to UN
            WSIS or to someone else. The root servers are controlled by
            a more or or less democratic central authority and so are
            the different top-level domains. Relaying on HTTP URIs is
            relying on the DNS system which means trusting all
            authorities of the different levels of the domain name. This
            seems incompatible with the design principle of
            decentralization [1].
    * HTTP is insecure
          o One cannot know if an HTTP response comes from where its
            supposed to come from, or whether it has been modified or
            read on the way to my computer. Even if I can still encrypt
            all my actual communication, having to look up the
            definitions of the used terms over an unencrypted connection
            compromises my privacy.
    * Uncool URIs happen
          o In an ideal world Alice will always control the response for
            http://www.example.com/id/alice. In the real world however:
                + Alice's server might by cracked
                + Alice might have forgotten to renew the domain name
                + Alice might be unable to pay for the hosting or for
                  the domain
                + The revolutionary guard might have taken control over
                  7 root servers redirecting all imperialistic domains
                  to educational content :)
                + ...


1. http://www.w3.org/2003/01/Consortium.pdf

Received on Tuesday, 15 January 2008 21:16:06 UTC

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