How Websites Will Signal When They’re Censored
Big Kudos to whoever picked the error code number, and its nod to Ray Bradbury’s famous dystopic novel.
Governments will not always be able to disguise which content they restrict across the Web thanks to a new error code that will warn you of censorship.
The Internet serves up a range of status codes, numbered from the 100s to the 500s, to let you know when something goes wrong, such as server downtime, to keep you from getting to a given Web page. You’re likely familiar with the common 404 error message that tells you a page cannot be found.
It isn’t always easy, however, to work out whether a Web page is down because of technical hiccups or governmental meddling. That’s where the new 451 code comes in.
On Friday, the group responsible for Internet standards, the Internet Engineering Steering Group, approved a new HTTP code to differentiate between Web pages that cannot be shown for technical reasons and others that are unavailable for non-technical reasons, such as censorship.