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Re: http status code for site blocked

From: <toby_phipps@peoplesoft.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 01:01:37 -0800
To: cooldude_pk@hotmail.com
cc: www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFAF6BC705.7C9FDC08-ON88256C8A.00306772@peoplesoft.com>

Some ISPs I've seen in the Gulf are very up-front about their blocking and
simply redirect blocked sites to a page stating the fact.  For example, I
was recently in the UAE and their nationalized ISP redirects connection
attempts to sites that they have blocked for any reason (hosted in Israel,
objectional content etc.) to a basic "access denied" page.

The Emerati internet provider's (www.emirates.net.ae) blocked page simply
states "Emirates Internet denies access to this site." and provides a link
to their homepage.  True, it doesn't explain why the site is blocked or how
to go about challenging the blocking, but it's a lot better than leaving
the user guessing as to why the site is unreachable.  An interesting
side-effect is that they detect the type of request to the blocked site.
If an image is being requested directly, they serve a "blocked" image
instead of the whole page.  That way, even if only a portion of a page is
blocked (due to an image being linked to from a blocked site), it's still
obvious why it doesn't display.  Can get very interesting with a portal
homepage such as Yahoo where the Yahoo content it self was OK, but several
of the advertisments were blocked.

For those interested, I've cached the image they used here:
http://www.atsui.com/images/blocked.gif
If there's such a thing, I'd call this more of a "responsible censorship".
At least the user knows exactly what has happened rather than be left
guessing...

It would be nice to have a standardized way to reflect such a denial, so at
least those organizations willing to be up-front about their filtering can
return a status code that can be intercepted and dealt with by the user
agent like other http error conditions. The approached detailed above is
quite effective, but is only one example of how this is done.

Toby.

cooldude_pk@hotmail.com wrote:
>hello,
>I am from Pak
>istan and i have to agree with Tex. sometimes it can get very fustrating
when a site is blocked by the government, host, policies of even the
>domain registrar without out prior knowledge. I causes the webmaster to go
through hell trying to figure out whether the problem might not lie at his
end.
Received on Monday, 9 December 2002 04:01:48 GMT

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