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Re: http status code for site blocked

From: Tex Texin <tex@i18nguy.com>
Date: Wed, 04 Dec 2002 12:54:14 -0500
Message-ID: <3DEE4146.E5794E31@i18nguy.com>
To: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
CC: WWW International <www-international@w3.org>

Thanks for the reply. I noted 403 might be applicable. I thought its
intent might be more for other kinds of inappropriate server access, but
its a possibility. 
I can't speak for censors but I don't see why they would want to hide
the service they are providing...

And I understand why you say that the problems I mentioned might be
unimportant to censors, but to the extent that the process cannot
possibly be one of informed review of each site or page, perhaps they
would want to be aware of mistakes that might in fact be hurting Chinese
businesses by preventing them to access information that would benefit
them. So having a way to find out if a site is blocked and a way to
request unblocking would be beneficial to that extent.

However, to keep the focus on the web, having many links broken on the
web by blocking, without awareness or a process for rectification,
implies then that the "single application" model doesn't work. It will
be even more problematic for web services.
I am not aware of how many governments block, but if there are a few it
leads to a very fractured web.


John Cowan wrote:
> Tex Texin scripsit:
> > This is all speculative for me at the moment, but assuming it is in fact
> > blocked, it would be nice to have a status code for this other than page
> > not found.
> Unfortunately, such a blocking proxy (if that is what's going on) is entirely
> conformant with RFC 2616 (HTTP 1.1).  Note the last sentence of the following
> paragraph:
> # 10.4.4 403 Forbidden
> #
> #    The server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it.
> #    Authorization will not help and the request SHOULD NOT be repeated.
> #    If the request method was not HEAD and the server wishes to make
> #    public why the request has not been fulfilled, it SHOULD describe the
> #    reason for the refusal in the entity.  If the server does not wish to
> #    make this information available to the client, the status code 404
> #    (Not Found) can be used instead.
> So if the proxy wanted to tell you why you were being blocked, 403 Forbidden
> would be appropriate; if not (as is surely the case), 404 Not Found is
> appropriate.
> > 1) Would proposing a status code for "access denied by local government"
> > make sense?
> Only on the assumption that governments who are censoring what their people
> see are proud of doing so and wish to advertise the fact to those same people.
> > 2) Also, is there a way to look up which sites are blocked by China, or
> > more generally by any government?
> > (I imagine there are people making investments in promoting sites that
> > cannot in fact be accessed.)
> On the above assumption, there might be.
> > 3) Is there a procedure/protocol/process for becoming unblocked?
> Same answer.
> > I don't want to address the political issues around this. I think it is
> > important for the web to distinguish when a page is blocked vs. other
> > causes, and for there to be a way to know which pages are blocked.
> But is it important for the censor?  I think not.
> --
> My confusion is rapidly waxing          John Cowan
> For XML Schema's too taxing:            jcowan@reutershealth.com
>     I'd use DTDs                        http://www.reutershealth.com
>     If they had local trees --          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
> I think I best switch to RELAX NG.

Tex Texin   cell: +1 781 789 1898   mailto:Tex@XenCraft.com
Xen Master                          http://www.i18nGuy.com
XenCraft		            http://www.XenCraft.com
Making e-Business Work Around the World
Received on Wednesday, 4 December 2002 12:54:34 UTC

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