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Web Caching by Duane Wessels

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Chapter 3. Politics of Web Caching

In this chapter, we will explore some important and difficult-to-solve issues that surround web caching. The issues pertain to many aspects of caching but are primarily targeted at those of us who operate a caching proxy. For example, as an administrator, you have access to information that, if made available to others, can seriously violate the privacy of your users. If your users cannot trust you to protect their privacy, they will not want to use your cache. Hopefully, both you and your users will perceive the cache as something that protects, rather than violates, their privacy.

A particularly thorny issue with web caching involves the rights of content providers to control the copying and distribution of their works. Some people argue that existing copyright laws cannot be applied to the Internet, but most people look for ways to coerce the two together. By some interpretations, web caches are in gross violation of copyright laws. Various rulings by U.S. courts[9] seem to support this view, although none of them specifically address web caching. Similar issues surround so-called offensive material and the liability of system operators whose facilities are used for its transmission.

Other issues explored here include dynamic pages, content integrity, and cache busting. When properly generated by origin servers, dynamic pages do not present any problems for web caches. Unfortunately, the problem of ensuring content integrity is not as easy ...

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