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News report: Vodafone transcoding proxy strips user agent strings

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 09:54:31 -0400
To: www-tag@w3.org
Cc: daniel.appelquist@vodafone.com
Message-ID: <OF7BC53600.1C4BFE15-ON85257361.004BCF48-85257361.004C3809@lotus.com>

I don't know anything about this beyond what's in the article at 
http://wireless.itworld.com/4269/070924vodafone/page_1.html, but I read 
that to imply that Vodafone is deploying a transcoding proxy that is 
stripping user agent strings and thus hiding device and browser 
characteristics from Web servers.  They apparently are operating an opt-in 
whitelist that allows particular sites to get the user agent strings after 
all.   Quoting from the article:

"Companies that are on Vodafone's "white list," which is a group of 
Vodafone-approved services, were notified of the change and the operator 
is passing the user agent correctly for those services, developers say. 
Some developers complain that it's difficult to find out how to get on the 
white list, it can take several months to get added and that Vodafone 
requires white list companies to make certain changes to the way the 
included sites operate.

"If all operators had a similar process, service providers like Harper 
would have to get on the approved list for every operator around the 
world. That's comparable to asking any Web service to be approved by every 
ISP in the world in order to operate."

Again, I don't know how much of this is true or whether there are good 
explanations not provided in the article.  Still, I wonder whether this is 
is something the TAG might want to consider giving some attention?   Note 
that Vodafone is a W3C member, and I am copying their Advisory Committee 
representative, Daniel Appelquist on this note.  Thank you.


Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Received on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 13:53:20 UTC

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