The 451 idea follows a blogpost from Terence Eden, who found that his ISP had been ordered to censor the Pirate Bay when he was given an HTTP 403 Forbidden message, meaning that “the server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfil it”. In fact, Eden writes on his blog, it was not Pirate Bay that was preventing access but the government, after Britain’s high court issued an order to ISPs to block access to the filesharing site in April, so the response was “factually incorrect”, and a new code is needed to indicate “censorship”.
Works for me. What I’m wondering is, how long would it take for the Great Firewall of China to start blocking anything that throws a 451 error?1
- And how long until someone from Anonymous manages to rewrite some of the code in the Great Firewall and set it to return 451 errors rather than whatever it is they do now? ↩