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Sunday, 1 September 2013
W3C P2P Web Browser Standards
World Wide Web Consortium is to develop Web standards to enable direct
peer-to-peer communications between Web browsers, without the need to go
through centralized Web servers.
Web standards could make it more difficult for repressive government
action against Web communications, according to members of the World
Wide Web Consortium (W3C) working group assigned to developing the Web
standards. The group aims to define APIs that will allow Web browsers to
communicate using audio, video and "supplementary" real-time
communications, W3C said on Thursday.
today launched a new Web Real-Time Communications Working Group to
define client-side APIs to enable real-time communications in Web
browsers," the W3C said.
APIs should allow applications that can be run inside a Web browser
without extra downloads or plug-ins. The APIs will be
programming-language agnostic, a W3C spokesman said on Friday.
browser company Opera is a member of the working group, Opera chief
standards officer Charles McCathieNevile told on Friday. Opera platform
architect Rich Tibbett is the main contact with the group.
to Opera, real-time peer-to-peer Web communications will make it more
difficult for government repression of communications, as seen in North
Africa and the Middle East, where official measures have ranged from the
blocking of Web sites like Facebook and Twitter to taking the entire
country of Egypt off the Web.
are attempting to use peer-to-peer systems, so there's not a single
shutdown point at a Web server - communications are much more ad hoc,"
said Tibbett. Charles McCathieNevile of W3C added that it is "very much
easier to block a specific Web site than blocking communications across
and law enforcement will still be able to intercept Web communications
even if the communications are encrypted, Tibbett said, explaining:
Web browser communications are not going to stop the problem of
sniffing, but will make it harder to sniff traffic."
Andy Buss of Freeform Dynamics also said the proposed Web standards
would not stop governments forcing deep-packet inspection of Web
communications and blocking encrypted peer-to-peer Web traffic. "It does
start to depend on the co-operation of the ISP," he said. "If they
detect peer-to-peer SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Web traffic, they could
block the Web traffic."