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

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Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 20:24:12 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1ML0v6-0001kR-9g@wiggum.w3.org>

--- Comment #6 from Nick Levinson <Nick_Levinson@yahoo.com>  2009-06-28 20:24:11 ---
Yes, users can and should be allowed to as now, as long as they know they're
doing it.

The problem is that many don't know. A majority will likely think it's part of
the website owner's content. Most users are amateurs. They don't know how to
tell links apart for ownership, especially after so many well-reputed sites
apply unusual link styles.

If something is illegal and should be, technical means are a legitimate
complement to the judiciary. Microsoft isn't about to sue every illegal copier
of its OS but does use activation, numbering, and other technical means.
Password access to many websites such as part of Google's is a complement to a
law against unauthorized entry.

While a narrowly-drawn rule and a general principle both often can be gotten
around, each has its strengths. In commerce, laws against fraud and
misrepresentation often work successfully even before supplementation with
specific laws, and have the strength of working against newly invented

I imagine some Joe's Fly-By-Night Mortgage Broker advertising on the U.S.
Treasury Department's website or the old Union Bank of Switzerland's website
without Treasury or UBS knowing about it and the visitor thinking Joe's cheap
loans are endorsed by an important government agency or a really big bank.
Since the technology would allow a browser maker to sell ads through too-subtle
links, the user wouldn't usually know the difference and the website owner
wouldn't know it's going on till they hear from small borrowers with

Intermediate control further deprives the end user of control. Some
institutions disable some browser commands or alter Web pages as they arrive at
terminals without user input (other than entering a URL). So even some users
who are computer-savvy lack control against third-party edits.

Can we come up with something for HTML5 that technologically protects website
owners while letting users who intentionally change their copies still do so?



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