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Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group           S. Abraham
Internet-Draft                                                 CIS India
Intended status: Informational                               MP. Canales
Expires: January 16, 2018                             Derechos Digitales
                                                          O. Khrustaleva
                                                     American University
                                                             C. Runnegar
                                                                    ISOC
                                                           July 15, 2017


                Human Rights Considerations for RFC7725
                     draft-manyfolks-hrcrfc7725-00

Abstract

   This is draft applies the model for developing human rights protocol
   considerations as defined in draft-irtf-hrpc-research for [RFC7725].

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
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   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on January 16, 2018.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2017 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of



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   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Connectivity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   3.  Visibility in a browser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   4.  Privacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   5.  Content Agnosticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   6.  Security  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   7.  Internationalization  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   8.  Censorship Resistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   9.  Open Standards  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   10. Heterogeneity Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   11. Anonymity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   12. Accessibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   13. Localization  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   14. Reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   15. Confidentiality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   16. Integrity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   17. Authenticity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   18. Adaptability  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   19. Outcome Transparency  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   20. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   21. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   22. Research Group Information  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   23. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     23.1.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     23.2.  URIs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8

1.  Introduction

   This is draft applies the model for developing human rights protocol
   considerations as defined in draft-irtf-hrpc-research for RFC7725.

2.  Connectivity

   HTTP 451 status code response can be sent by the end nodes as well as
   by intermediary nodes, which makes for a potential anonymity breach
   possible.  However, this anonymity breach needs to be intentional.

3.  Visibility in a browser

   In the web-browsing context, the HTTP status code response might only
   be issued for a sub-resource (e.g. images, videos, extra HTML, CSS,
   or JavaScript, which are each fetched using separate requests),



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   rather than the top-level resource seen in a browser's address bar.
   For example, consider a web page at https://example.net/video/ with
   an embedded video window implemented in html as

   <video><source src="movie.webm"><video>.

   https://example.net/video/ may return HTTP 200, but
   https://example.net/video/movie.webm may return HTTP 451.  Multiple
   subresources on a given page may return 451.

   This means that visibility to a browser user might be more complex
   than just "this web page has been blocked".

4.  Privacy

   A HTTP 451 status code response could be visible to an observer on
   the network.  An observer may be able to discern the blocked domain
   or URL the user attempted to access.  Therefore, implementers should
   deploy HTTP status code over HTTPS to mitigate this privacy risk.
   See also RFC 7540 Hypertext Transfer Protocol Version 2 (HTTP/2),
   section 10.8 privacy considerations.  Even where HTTPS is used,
   metadata is still available to an observer.  That metadata could be
   used to identify a device, it's location and/or a user (especially
   when combined with other observable data).

   Some implementations of [RFC7725] send the HTTP status code response
   and then re-direct to another URL [insert reference to research
   revealing this]. [also describe the specific redirection mechanism(s)
   used - javascript?  html meta refresh tag?  something else?] [insert
   text as to why this is a problem from a privacy perspective].
   Implementers should not imbed tracking elements in either web
   resource.

   [RFC7725] provides that a HTTP status code 451 is cachable by
   default.  Caching status code 451 on users' devices means that there
   will be a record of their attempt to access the blocked content
   stored on their devices.  If caching is used, the 451 status code
   response should notify users.

   HTTP 451 status code responses are unverified and may be fake and/or
   a vehicle to monitor the user and/or introduce malware.

5.  Content Agnosticism

   There may be an issue of content agnosticism if the resource
   returning the HTTP 451 status code is only blocked for some users
   (e.g. geo-blocking).  This is not a protocol issue, but rather an
   artefact of the blocking order.  The status code 451 is both content



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   agnostic and content gnostic.  It is content agnostic from the
   perspective of the end-user when the blocking is done at the level of
   the resource.  However, when blocking is done at the level of the
   sub-resource it may not be content agnostic in all cases from the
   perspective of the end user.  If the sub-resource is HTML then the
   end user will be able to see the details of the block beyond just the
   status code.  But if the sub-resource is an image, audio or video -
   the browser will not be able to render the details of the block since
   the browsers currently will not render the information from the
   header in a manner that is scrutable to the end user.  This concern
   could be partially addressed by using an appropriate plugin that is
   able to parse the header.

6.  Security

   HTTP 451 status code responses are unverified which make them a
   possible vehicle to introduce malware.  The malware could be
   specifically implemented with the purpose to surveil the final user
   that is trying to access an specific type of content that has been
   censored.

7.  Internationalization

   The RFC does not require the use of any particular language and
   therefore when the standard is being implemented any language could
   be used.

8.  Censorship Resistance

   While HTTP 451 status code cannot prevent censorship it can help make
   censorship more transparent and make assessment of Internet
   censorship cases easier.  "Censorship is where an entity in a
   position of power - such as a government, organization, or individual
   - suppresses communication that it considers objectionable, harmful,
   sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient."  Legal means have
   been used for censoring content for a long time, and what HTTP 451
   status code does is demonstrate when legal means meet technical means
   online.  Blocking is still censorship, and status code 451 doesn't
   solve the problem, but creates a way for more transparent reporting
   of censorship that can be useful for the analysis and advocacy.
   Also, If the users are informed about why their access to a specific
   resource was denied they can opt to use circumvention techniques.

9.  Open Standards

   RFC 7725 is an open standard.





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10.  Heterogeneity Support

   A HTTP 451 status code response can be used for any HTTP or HTTPS web
   resource and for any software, applications and devices that are
   capable of displaying HTTP header responses.

11.  Anonymity

   Possible anonymity concerns as identifiers might be introduced by the
   parties serving 451 status code.

12.  Accessibility

   The RFC can be currently implemented in two ways for resources.
   Either the server could either return a HTML file without any
   automatic redirect or a HTML file with an automatic redirect.  The
   second option could interfere with accessibility because disabled end
   users may not have sufficient time to use their accessibility
   software and hardware to read the status code and other details.
   Therefore it is recommended that the RFC be updated to ensure that
   the display of a HTTP 451 status code response should be untimed and
   static to provide users enough time to read and use the content.

13.  Localization

   HTTP 451 status code implies a reference to legal reasons for making
   a content unaccessible.  Those legal implications usually will
   concern a national legal framework that it will not be always easy to
   understand for non legal operators or users from different
   jurisdictions who are being affected by the lack of access for legal
   reasons.  When it comes to localization for language, locale etc. the
   RFC does not explicitly provide for internationalization of text
   strings but implementers of the standards can localize the text
   strings nevertheless.

14.  Reliability

   HTTP 451 status code responses are unverified so they could be fake
   or mistaken.  The protocol by itself does not prevent the misuse of
   the status code or wrong tagging of other unavailability reasons.
   The informational requirement as part of the protocol address this
   concern in some extent, but commonly it will be difficult for the end
   user to verify if the code has been correctly used or if the
   information provided as part of it is truthful.  Additionally, many
   companies include in their Terms of Service prohibited types of
   content or activities on their networks, reserving to their
   discretion the interpretation of broad terms used to capture many
   forms of content that can be potentially blocked.



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15.  Confidentiality

   HTTP 451 status code use implies sharing of information by the
   reporter that make it easier to identify where censorship is taking
   place.  It can expose to governments engaging with censorship who is
   more willing to collaborate blocking content making them an easier
   target for further actions of censorship.

16.  Integrity

   For integrity, a status code 451 should be delivered over HTTPS.

17.  Authenticity

   Implementation of the status code 451 could guarantee authenticity in
   most cases if the server operators implement HTTPS.  However that
   only guarantees authenticity during the last mile of transit between
   the server serving the status code and the end user.  There is no way
   in which the status code guarantee that the server operator is not
   serving false information about a particular instance of censorship.
   This could happen deliberately under a variety of circumstance - the
   server operator is masking self-censorship as government censorship
   or the server operator has self-interest in misrepresenting the facts
   about government or private censorship.  Lack of legal expertise or
   capacity could also result in false information being served to the
   user.  Many start-ups and non-profits cannot afford legal teams with
   the requisite expertise and many large corporation reserve their best
   lawyers for core business activities leaving censorship related
   activities to interns and junior staff.  There is no real incentive
   beyond good (corporate) citizenship for server operators to tell the
   truth and therefore this is an area for concern when it comes to
   implementation of the status code.

18.  Adaptability

   Status code 451 does not have any legal or technical limitations
   which prevents the development of other standards / protocols.

19.  Outcome Transparency

   The assumption behind the development of the status code 451 is that
   transparency has a chilling effect on censorship and that
   transparency will enable the process of justice by allowing acts of
   censorship to be challenged.  This is the very same assumption behind
   the publication of transparency reports by various Internet
   corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter.  Unfortunately, this
   has not always been the case - in some countries the transparency
   reports may have contributed to competitive behavior thereby



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   increasing censorship.  In some countries, blocks orders are unevenly
   implemented by ISPs either because it does not serve their bottom-
   lines or they are resisting censorship - governments in those
   countries could mandate the implementation of status code 521 which
   will make it easier for them to monitor the implementation of their
   block orders.  Finally, surveillance systems in some countries could
   be updated to watch out for the 521 error code on unencrypted traffic
   making it easier to identify those trying to access prohibited
   content.  Before the implementation of this standard there would be
   no uniformity in which websites would implement a block order
   increasing the number of false positives for any automated monitoring
   systems.

20.  Security Considerations

   As this document concerns a research document, there are no security
   considerations.

21.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no actions for IANA.

22.  Research Group Information

   The discussion list for the IRTF Human Rights Protocol Considerations
   Research Group is located at the e-mail address hrpc@ietf.org [1].
   Information on the group and information on how to subscribe to the
   list is at https://www.irtf.org/mailman/listinfo/hrpc

   Archives of the list can be found at: https://www.irtf.org/mail-
   archive/web/hrpc/current/index.html

23.  References

23.1.  Informative References

   [RFC7725]  Bray, T., "An HTTP Status Code to Report Legal Obstacles",
              RFC 7725, DOI 10.17487/RFC7725, February 2016,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7725>.

23.2.  URIs

   [1] mailto:hrpc@ietf.org








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Authors' Addresses

   Sunil Abraham
   CIS India

   EMail: sunil@cis-india.org


   Maria Paz Canales
   Derechos Digitales

   EMail: mariapaz@derechosdigitales.org


   Olga Khrustaleva
   American University

   EMail: ok4193a@student.american.edu


   Christine Runnegar
   ISOC

   EMail: runnegar@isoc.org



























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