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A New "451" Error Message Tells Users Governments Are Blocking Websites

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posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 04:02 PM
Mods, I placed this in the Social Issues instead of Computer forum as this seems to be a technical issue relating to society and censorship. Please relocate if necessary.

HTTP Error 451 is brought to us by the UK consumer rights organization Open Rights Group. While this is a British campaign the HTTP code would be available globally. If the big media groups keep on with their current direction of having websites shut down by governments and these same governments wish to censor other sites as well it seems we should at least know who was responsible.

To fend off the chilling effects of heavy-handed internet restriction, the UK consumer rights organization Open Rights Group wants to create a new version of the “404 Page Not Found” error message, called “451 unavailable,” to specify that a webpage wasn’t simply not there, it was ordered to be blocked for legal reasons.

In case you missed the reference, the number is shout-out to Ray Bradbury’s book-burning government censorship novel Fahrenheit 451.

Here's an example of what the 451 message would look like, according to the campaign's website:

HTTP/1.1 451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons Content-Type: text/htmlError 451:

Unavailable For Legal Reasons

Error 451: Unavailable For Legal Reasons

Access to this domain has been restricted in the United Kingdom due to the Court Order [Blocked Website]/[Case number] following the Judgment [Name of Court Case].

This Court Order was imposed under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

This Court Order was became valid on [Date of start of Court Order] and is currently valid until [Court Order Expiration Date].

If you believe this that this web domain has been incorrectly blocked, please contact [the appropriate legal authority] at [the appropriate legal authority] or [the address of the appropriate legal authority].

Motherboard Source

This seems like a pretty good idea to me if only to clarify which are the censored sites. Once that is determined workarounds can be put in place as needed. Seems that the west is trying to follow in China's "great wall" footsteps.

posted on Aug, 18 2013 @ 05:15 AM
Geez, even Saudi Arabia allows you to file an 'unblock' request online:

So does UAE & Iran.

But if the wording is correct in the OP, you'd have to contact some legal authority in order to appeal a block? Unbelievable!


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