Internet Politics

HTTP Status 451 – The HTTP Status At Which Requests Burn

Tim Bray is proposing a new HTTP status, 451 for:

…when resource access is denied for legal reasons. This allows server operators to operate with greater transparency in circumstances where issues of law or public policy affect their operation. This transparency may be beneficial both to these operators and to end users.

This is awesome and I 100% support this idea. I’d even like to see governments mandate that 451’s be used. Of course North Korea, Iran, and China would never follow along, but hopefully most western countries would.

It’s also a very fitting tribute to Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451 who recently passed away.

2 replies on “HTTP Status 451 – The HTTP Status At Which Requests Burn”

This is an excellent example of how the Internet was designed to work. When problems come up, people propose solutions – in this case, greater transparency. Still, I think that “451 Censored” would be even greater transparency than “451 Unavailable for Legal Reasons”. Using the George Carlin rule of syllables, 2 syllables beats 10 for clarity.

Censorship isn’t the only legal reason something could be blocked. Could be a court order among other things. Hence it’s appropriately generic.

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