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255 comments

This may work........ (5, Interesting)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | about 8 months ago | (#44576667)

Until they block the 451 page and redirect it to a 404.

Re:This may work........ (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576765)

Maybe we can have a contest for the most creative 451 pages. Who knows, maybe they can display personal information about you derived from your IP address, your cookies and even turn on your computer's camera. Ahhh, good times when you know the government isn;t just blocking the site, it's spying on those who tried to access it.

It would be an error code (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576773)

Not a page, you moron.

Re:It would be an error code (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576965)

You can supply custom error pages for specific errors... moron.

But you cannot redirect from them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577201)

They are only local.

Re:But you cannot redirect from them. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577227)

Ur mom is local!

Re:This may work........ (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 8 months ago | (#44577039)

Seems to me that issuing such an error code would already violate the gag order they routinely apply to these court orders.

Re:This may work........ (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 8 months ago | (#44577397)

I think you can define error 451 to mean "unknown reason", and then by process of deduction it must be due to government blockage.

Re:This may work........ (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577413)

Haha, "court order"!

You naive believer in due process.

Here in the UK, an unregulated quango called the Internet Watch Foundation can block anything it pleases with no judicial or even executive oversight whatsoever.

Already exists? (5, Interesting)

mwn3d (2750695) | about 8 months ago | (#44576707)

According to the Wikipedia article on HTTP status codes 451 already exists for exactly this reason. This doesn't seem new.

Re:Already exists? (2)

mwn3d (2750695) | about 8 months ago | (#44576747)

I read a few more words and it says "Internet draft" next to it. In any case someone has already come up with the general idea even if it isn't officially accepted.

woosh (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 8 months ago | (#44576713)

They don't get it. The people who block your content in-line can send you back any page they choose, including a 404.

Re:woosh (4, Insightful)

Talennor (612270) | about 8 months ago | (#44576795)

Maybe you don't get it. It's not a solution, it's a protest.

Re:woosh (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577153)

Maybe you don't get it. It's not a solution, it's a protest.

Ah, so it's a pointless token action by people either too lazy and content to get off their asses and do some real protesting or too simple-minded to realize it's a pointless token action, then. Gotcha, thanks for clearing it up!

Re:woosh (4, Insightful)

Ksevio (865461) | about 8 months ago | (#44576843)

Just because they're legally required to block the content, doesn't mean they agree with the block or want to do it. On the contrary, it would be more in the ISP's interest to show that they're being legally pushed to block the content rather than the content just appearing not to work.

It's not the government in many of these cases that's doing the actual blocking, it's ISPs where the people that have to install the filters are your typical slashdotter.

Re:woosh (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#44576897)

By way of example, Youtube obviously complies with DMCA takedowns; because it would be ruinously risky not to; but they (sometimes to the displeasure of the takedown-demander) always note 'Video X has been removed because of a complaint from FooCorp Media'.

Unless a company is an enthusiastic partner in the censorship scheme, it isn't in their interest for their customers to think that they've fucked up or are deeply unreliable when they are acting on a legal demand.

Re:woosh (3, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 8 months ago | (#44577013)

Just because they're legally required to block the content, doesn't mean they agree with the block or want to do it. On the contrary, it would be more in the ISP's interest to show that they're being legally pushed to block the content rather than the content just appearing not to work.

It's not the government in many of these cases that's doing the actual blocking, it's ISPs where the people that have to install the filters are your typical slashdotter.

Except when they receive a National Security Letter they are not allowed to tell and doing so can result in your life being ruined by the government.

Re:woosh (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 8 months ago | (#44577089)

Those are usually for "tell me about this person", not so often for "block this website", so far as I've heard...

Re:woosh (5, Insightful)

Nanoda (591299) | about 8 months ago | (#44576869)

They don't get it. The people who block your content in-line can send you back any page they choose, including a 404.

Of course they can. The idea is that those doing the blocking have been forced to do so, and thus can use this alternate error page to distinguish these cases, and show their users how much of the internet they're missing due to government intervention.
A standard 404 could be legitimate, and isn't going to help garner any group support for open-ness.

Re:woosh (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 8 months ago | (#44577005)

And the same government people who demanded this can rewrite the 451 to a 404 on the fly, and your average user would have a hard time noticing anything funny about it.

Re:woosh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577181)

How? Do you think that judges control semi-transparent caches at some point between an ISP and its customers?

Re:woosh (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#44577411)

Those government people probably can't connect to the net at all without their kids help. They would have to ask the ISPs to do the rewrite just like they had to ask the ISPs to handle the actual blocking. But to do that, they'd have to tacitly admit that there was an element of the dirty secret about what's being blocked.

Re:woosh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577277)

I'm sure this is more to do with cooperating ISPs who block sites as per the RIAA rulings in the UK.

If we're talking about regimes like China, then all bets are off.

I get the reference but... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576733)

... shouldn't it be a 3xx or 5xx error code? 4xx means the client screwed up.

Re:I get the reference but... (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 8 months ago | (#44576855)

... shouldn't it be a 3xx or 5xx error code? 4xx means the client screwed up.

Well, living in a country, that's sufficiently oppressive to ban you from reaching any Internet-site it is your pleasure to visit, is a client's screw-up.

Re:I get the reference but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576915)

So basically, if you live on planet Earth, you screwed up?

Re:I get the reference but... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576979)

451 F is the temperature that paper burns at.
There is a (book and) film with the same name with the same name dealing with censorship.

Re:I get the reference but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577021)

451 F is the temperature that paper burns at.
There is a (book and) film with the same name with the same name dealing with censorship.

Yeah, that's why GP put in his subject line "I get the reference but...". That said , I absolutely HATE when people start a sentence in the subject and then just continue it in the body.

Yeah, that's why this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577069)

reply is exactly what you hate.

Re:I get the reference but... (4, Insightful)

ibwolf (126465) | about 8 months ago | (#44577059)

4xx means the client screwed up.

Only if by "screwed up" you mean "requested something that couldn't be delivered". 4xx is also used for things like "Payment required" and "Forbidden". The four hundred range is exactly right for this type of code. Asking for something you are not allowed to have is, in a very technical sense, a client error.

Re:I get the reference but... (1)

0racle (667029) | about 8 months ago | (#44577079)

4xx doesn't always mean the client screwed up, 403:Forbidden is usually a permissions problem. Yes it could mean the client didn't send the correct credentials, but it can also mean that you genuinly don't have access to that resource.

3xx definitely doesn't make sense here, I doubt the server is going to redirect you somewhere to get the now 'illegal' material.

I will say that I prefer on looks that this would be a 5xx error. It fits very well with the description of the 5xx class of messages "Response status codes beginning with the digit "5" indicate cases in which the server is aware that it has encountered an error or is otherwise incapable of performing the request."

Why not 403? (1)

DERoss (1919496) | about 8 months ago | (#44577209)

According to Section 10.4.4 of RFC 2616, 403 means:

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.

Re:I get the reference but... (1)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#44577369)

No, it doesn't fit. The server has not encountered any error, and it would be capable to perform the request. It is not allowed to do so, which has nothing to do with technical reasons. Thus 4xx is the right range for the errors.

Re:I get the reference but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577131)

I think it would also be fairly appropriate for them not to use a code that is already in use (in this case by ActiveSync). Apparently cute names are more important then picking something sensible.

Re:I get the reference but... (2)

suutar (1860506) | about 8 months ago | (#44577199)

*shrug* It's no less (or more) a client screwup than requests that get 404 or 410. I realize 3xx, 4xx, 5xx are usually tagged as redirect, client error, server error but they're better described as "I can't do it but talk to Fred", "I can't do that and I'm not prepared to tell you if someone else can", and "Ow, my spleen!"

Reference to... (5, Informative)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 8 months ago | (#44576737)

For those who missed the reference and didn't click the links, this is a reference to Fahrenheit 451.

Re:Reference to... (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#44576751)

For those who missed the reference and didn't click the links, this is a reference to Fahrenheit 451.

Anyone who didn't get the references need to: Go back to highschool chemistry, and read more books.

Re:Reference to... (5, Funny)

stderr_dk (902007) | about 8 months ago | (#44576811)

For those who missed the reference and didn't click the links, this is a reference to Fahrenheit 451.

Anyone who didn't get the references need to: Go back to highschool chemistry, and read more books.

We can't!

Re:Reference to... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576933)

The judge specifically told me I'm not allowed to go to any more high schools.

Re:Reference to... (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 8 months ago | (#44576827)

But it is still wrong.
It should be a 3XX or 5XX.

Re:Reference to... (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 8 months ago | (#44577143)

The meaning is almost exactly the same as a 410, no? Or maybe 423. I don't see enough difference to warrant pushing it out of 4xx. I think the larger difficulty with using 451 is that there's already a 451 code, even if it is MS Exchange specific.

Re:Reference to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576847)

Which is just another reason it'll never happen. It's a loaded reference; what government is going to link themselves to F451 on purpose?

Re:Reference to... (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | about 8 months ago | (#44577055)

Which is just another reason it'll never happen. It's a loaded reference; what government is going to link themselves to F451 on purpose?

They will do just that. If this become part of the specification they will be obliged to follow them or else we can reject their censorship software on the basis that they are not compliant. eg: "No one is supporting paedophilia or aiding terrorism we simply want specification compliant software!". And when they do get compliant, everyone get the reference. It is win-win as far as living under a oppressive regime can be.

Re:Reference to... (1)

oldlurker (2502506) | about 8 months ago | (#44576909)

For those who missed the reference and didn't click the links, this is a reference to Fahrenheit 451.

Fahrenheit 451 is interesting, because contrary to what many believe it wasn't really about government censorship, and the culprit in the story isn't the state, but the people, and how they embraced apathy and lack of substance with watching TV over reading books. Source:the author [laweekly.com]

Re:Reference to... (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | about 8 months ago | (#44577075)

The book do not need to match reality in any way. It's a reference to burning books, censoring the web is burning books. That is the message.

Re:Reference to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577189)

The book do not need to match reality in any way. It's a reference to burning books, censoring the web is burning books. That is the message.

If it needs that much correcting and explanation when discussing it with people who actually know what they're talking about, it sounds to me like it's a pretty shitty message.

Re:Reference to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577179)

I assumed it was a reference to the death of King Theodoric I. Thanks for your superior reference recognition.

Why not 666? (2)

aliquis (678370) | about 8 months ago | (#44577353)

666: Blocked by your evil government. Move to a free country or fight for your right. Use it or lose it.

Old(ish) but brilliant (4, Informative)

ACS Solver (1068112) | about 8 months ago | (#44576745)

The idea has been floating around for a while. It's still brilliant in the simplicity and anti-censorship attitude of it. What the article doesn't mention is that its an IETF draft [ietf.org] now. Wish the error could be something like "451 Bad Government".

Re:Old(ish) but brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577099)

Since Terence Eden's Blog post "There is no HTTP code for censorship (but perhaps there should be) [shkspr.mobi]"

Although to be more informative one of the comments should suggest to include the urn of the censored resource:

451 Unavailable for Legal Reasons of Resource magnet:?xt=urn:ed2k:354B15E68FB8F36D7CD88FF94116CDC1&xl=10826029

That would be as fun as the chillingeffect links.

Re:Old(ish) but brilliant (1)

mstefanro (1965558) | about 8 months ago | (#44577159)

The browsers, as a sign of protest, could make the 451 default page warn the user
that access to the requested page has been blocked due to censorship. If plenty
people see that threatening page while browsing the internet, they may take
things more seriously.

Already being done pretty much (3, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#44576749)

If I visit www.thepiratebay.org on a browser that doesn't have an anti-censorship plugin installed, I get

"The page you're looking for has been blocked.

"We're complying with a court order that means access to this website has
"to be blocked to protect against copyright infringement."

Re:Already being done pretty much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577361)

By that logic we wouldn't need 404 as well.

Wrong number series (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576755)

4xx errors are for permanent problems. Much as I like the tongue in cheek use of 451, 3xx is the correct series as such an error is temporary unless the content is deleted.

Re:Wrong number series (2)

ravenscar (1662985) | about 8 months ago | (#44577091)

That's why embedding intelligence in your codes is a bad idea. Sometimes the world changes in ways that your original intelligence scheme did not anticipate. For example, what happens if you run out of codes that begin with 3? You're suddenly left with an intelligence system that is is either no longer able to meet your needs or no longer accurate.

Misunderstanding of HTTP? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576757)

I don't think that they understand the difference between the Internet and the Web. If an IP is blocked, no HTTP connection is made, and thus no HTTP response can be delivered.

This would instead put the burden of enforcing the block on the web servers themselves. Or are requests to blacklisted IPs rerouted?

Re:Misunderstanding of HTTP? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#44577133)

quite many countries have implemented the blocking so that you'll served some page, just not what you were looking for.

Re:Misunderstanding of HTTP? (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | about 8 months ago | (#44577161)

Censored site are often hijacked by scary-looking redirect to state propaganda. If this is accepted in the future specification, that propaganda page will require to return this status code. eg: "HTTP/1.0 451 Corrupted Government"

Non compliant censorship can, additionally, be protested on the basis that they are not compliant.

Re:Misunderstanding of HTTP? (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 8 months ago | (#44577217)

requests to not-resolved-in-DNS get rerouted by the ISP already, in many cases; easy enough to reroute these too.

Re:Old News (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 8 months ago | (#44576829)

I suppose it is news that Open Rights Group is now supporting the code because of UK censorship. Sad that code is needed more and more.

I see what you did there... (1)

morcego (260031) | about 8 months ago | (#44576797)

451... Nice... Ray Bradbury would be proud :)

actually, not so much (2)

Comboman (895500) | about 8 months ago | (#44576943)

451... Nice... Ray Bradbury would be proud :)

Actually, not so much. While most people assume 'Fahrenheit 451' is about censorship, Bradbury claimed it was really about TV replacing books. [laweekly.com] He even fought (unsuccessfully) to keep Michael Moore from using the title 'Fahrenheit 9/11' for his film.

Re:actually, not so much (3, Insightful)

morcego (260031) | about 8 months ago | (#44577063)

It was more than that. It was the books being replaced by the people own volition. The people allowed it, let it happen, and even condoned it. Which one could argued it exactly what is happening.

Re:I see what you did there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577105)

Keep voting for BO, you know the chick with the purple lipstick on TV.

404 404 not found (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576801)

> create a new version of the '404 Page Not Found'

Except they don't, they want their own status code. 404 != 451 just because they both start with 4, or is 401 the same as 404 too?

No, that's not a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576817)

Governments forbid people to talk about invasive measures, so even with a code for censorship, users can never be sure if a "normal" error code isn't the result of censorship. To pretend that such a code could in any way be reliable is to mislead users. Don't put up signs, route around the damage.

We're going to need some subcodes or something... (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#44576835)

I would be strongly in favor of not having censored pages look like nonexistent or technically glitched pages, as there's nothing more insidious than silent censorship; but I have to wonder if an HTTP response code is the right tool for the job.

The various existing codes are not particularly granular, and an anti-censorship pressure scheme that has any hope of succeeding needs to be granular.

It doesn't help me if all I now is "Example.org is unavailable for legal reasons". I need to know what jurisidiction, what law, what court order(if any), what private actor (in the case of something like the DMCA), and ideally the asserted reason. Ideally, all that information would be properly marked up (not just a text blob) so that a browser could pretty-print it for the end user, a spider gathering statistics or scraping could gather statistics, and so forth.

You need to, as directly as possible, tie the entities responsible for the fact that you can't see the page to the message that you can't see the page. If you don't do that, people might generate some diffuse displeasure; but will have little way of knowing who is behind the problem.

Re:We're going to need some subcodes or something. (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 8 months ago | (#44577223)

The site you are visiting has been blocked for one or more reasons, please select what you are looking for and we will redirect you to an alternate site. Your IP Address will be logged.

[] Unauthorized copies of Copyrighted materials
[] Jihadist tips and chat rooms
[] Politically Incorrect information
[] Child Pornography

[SUBMIT]

We are sorry, but for legal reasons, the [CANCEL] button has been removed from this page.

Well I this this is complete... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576859)

This message has been censored by imperialist code #1984. Thank you for your tolerance, patience, and understanding.

Great for automatic fallback to proxy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576861)

This will work until browsers start to automatically try a list of proxies if they get a 451 error.

How is this supposed to work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576939)

Should ISPs sniff all our traffic and inject 451 pages whenever they smell the evil government bit in an HTTP response?

Re:How is this supposed to work? (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 8 months ago | (#44576993)

No when an ISP, hosting provider, or search engine gets a order telling them to block access to a website they would use this error code when people request the page.

nuce, but not quite technically correct.. (1)

sdnoob (917382) | about 8 months ago | (#44576955)

of course we know that server errors are 500s codes, not 400s.. and that is essentially what this is.. the server (or client's upstream) is taking the action... not the client.

so i propose that the number instead be...

HTTP/1.1 507 SOL

Re:nuce, but not quite technically correct.. (1)

ACS Solver (1068112) | about 8 months ago | (#44577071)

Or it's a client error because the client is in a country with a shitty government.

Re:nuce, but not quite technically correct.. (1)

Ionized (170001) | about 8 months ago | (#44577253)

451 is appropriate, as others in this thread have pointed out. 4xx indicates client is trying to access something that cannot be served to them, for whatever reason.

403 for instance is an access denied message - "this content is here, but you aren't allowed to see it"

5xx indicates server errors. in the case of blocked content, there is no server error. you just aren't allowed to see the content you are requesting, so the comparison to 403 is incredibly appropriate.

NSA Spying (1)

slash.jit (2893213) | about 8 months ago | (#44576967)

Cool. Now can we also have an HTTP code for websites that are being spied by NSA like 201 or something ?

Re:NSA Spying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577049)

They already do. It is any status code starting with a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.

waste of energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44576975)

governments and other large organizations always want more control over individuals because people who pursue "leadership" positions are generally sociopaths who gain pleasure from imposing their will on other (weaker) people

a better idea would be to invest in technology that makes it impossible for any organization to have power over communication

right now the only technology that shows promise is multi-channel peer-to-peer mesh networks, hopefully one is set up before western governments degenerate into authoritarian states like north korea

Re:waste of energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577077)

right now the only technology that shows promise is multi-channel peer-to-peer mesh networks, hopefully one is set up before western governments degenerate into authoritarian states like north korea

Unfortunately, such a thing would require nearly simultaneous action by a large number of people which happens only rarely. For the same reason most people don't PGP encrypt their mails.

451?? no no no.. let's call it a '1984' page... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44577081)

Let's give credit, where credit is due here in our de-facto Orwellian society...

It's not "Page Not Found"!!! (1)

SendBot (29932) | about 8 months ago | (#44577309)

I have a huge peeve with people calling 404 error "File not found" because url's are not files! "Page" is closer, but then it's not always a page requested via http.

C'mon people, get this straight! It's not hard, now write this 100 times on the chalkboard:

"404 Not Found"

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