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Denoting privacy-sensitive requests (was: Re: Do we need to rename the Origin header?)

From: Bil Corry <bil@corry.biz>
Date: Wed, 01 Jul 2009 09:48:08 -0500
Message-ID: <4A4B7728.1080209@corry.biz>
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
CC: Adam Barth <w3c@adambarth.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>, public-webapps@w3.org, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Sam Weinig <weinig@apple.com>
Jonas Sicking wrote on 6/25/2009 5:35 PM: 
> On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 8:10 AM, Bil Corry<bil@corry.biz> wrote:
>> Jonas Sicking wrote on 6/25/2009 2:11 AM:
>>> On Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 8:57 PM, Adam Barth<w3c@adambarth.com> wrote:
>>>> On Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 8:50 PM, Bil Corry<bil@corry.biz> wrote:
>>>>> Continuing your example, if XHTML defines requests from <form> as privacy-sensitive, then the UA will have two different behaviors for Sec-From, depending on if it's rendering HTML5 or XHTML?
>>>> That's correct.  Hopefully folks writing specs at the application
>>>> layer will coordinate so as not to make the web platform any more
>>>> confusing than it is already.  :)
>>> To make it clear what the intent is here:
>>>
>>> We know that people are building web applications where GET requests
>>> cause state changes on the server side. While this is unfortunate, we
>>> don't believe that people will stop.
>>>
>>> Thus we sometimes want Sec-From to be included in GET requests.
>>>
>>> At the same time, it's a quite common practice on the web today for
>>> sites to allow other users to put <a href="..."> links on their site.
>>> For example discussion boards often detect addresses and turn them
>>> into links, some, such as wikipedia, even allow users to hide which
>>> url the link is going to by specifying an arbitrary text for the link.
>>> In these cases we don't want the person inserting the link to be able
>>> to "speak for" the site the link was located on.
>>>
>>> Additionally, one of the reasons why the "referer" (sic) header is
>>> being so frequently blocked is that it leaks information about where
>>> users are coming from. For example when a political website linking to
>>> google.com it has bothered many users that this tells google my
>>> political affiliation, causing them to filter the referer header.
>>>
>>> Thus in these two cases we don't want the GET request to include a
>>> Sec-From header containing the originating website.
>>>
>>> The difference between these two cases is purely in the context from
>>> which the GET request was created. While we could enumerate these
>>> contexts in Adams spec, IETF has in the past expressed a dislike for
>>> specifying application behavior, prefering only to define protocol
>>> behavior. Thus we have to define the protocol in an IETF spec, and
>>> allow HTML5 (or some other spec) to selectively invoke the different
>>> behaviors defined by the IETF spec.
>> Thanks for the clarification.  Will there be some mechanism within HTML5 to denote links that are privacy-sensitive versus those that are not?  I'm imagining that by default, links to external resources would be considered private unless denoted as public (non-private?).
> 
> This is still being debated. But lets do that in a separate thread.

Can you elaborate on the debate or point to an archive?  HTML5 will have to enumerate the contexts in which requests are deemed privacy-sensitive (has this been added to HTML5 yet?), however, given that different sites will have different requirements, it may be likely that authors will want the ability to override the default behavior.


- Bil
Received on Wednesday, 1 July 2009 14:48:50 GMT

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