Web Status Code 451 will alarm when you’re about to access a censored site

Last Updated: 21 December, 2015

When it comes to the internet, you might have encountered various HTTP error codes nothing but the web status code that are meant to report errors. The most common error code is the 404, which tells users a page is not found. The 403 status code says “Forbidden” and so on.

The Internet Engineering Steering Group has approved a new HTTP status code 451 which will be thrown out when a censored content is accessed through the internet. Mostly, the governments block many websites for various reasons and this code will help the governments to categorize the legal content.

The status code 451 — a hat tip to Fahrenheit 451 — can now be used to distinguish pages unavailable due to censorship.

“As censorship became more visible and prevalent on the Web, we started to hear from sites that they’d like to be able to make this distinction,” Mark Nottingham, chair the IETF HTTP Working Group said.

Nottingham wrote:

“In some jurisdictions, I suspect that censorious governments will disallow the use of 451, to hide what they’re doing. We can’t stop that (of course), but if your government does that, it sends a strong message to you as a citizen about what their intent is. That’s worth knowing about, I think.”

[Image credit: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images]