SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), sparked the biggest online protest in history with hundreds of thousands of webpages blacking out their content (including ZeroPaid). Now, Alexis Ohanian and Fight for the Future have created the Internet Defense League to help fight against any future threats to the Internet.
SOPA may have been shelved, but that doesn’t mean other threats to the Internet won’t ever crop up as a result. Now, a new group has formed called the “Internet Defense League”. It aims to look out for anything that is a threat to the Internet and send the warning out quickly like an emergency broadcast system.
The website describes how it works with the following:
First, sign up. If you have a website, we’ll send you sample alert code to get working in advance. The next time there’s an emergency, we’ll tell you and send new code. Then it’s your decision to pull the trigger.
i-Programmer made the following note about the new site:
While Ohanian describes the project as a “bat-signal for the internet,” the banner logo for the project features a cat, a reference to Ethan Zuckerman’s cute cat theory of digital activism.
It is a nice idea but perhaps a step too far. Yes the general public and news media notice when sites that are large enough, such as Wikipedia, go dark but smaller sites are fairly irrelevant as protest fodder. You have to admire the super hero attitude however!
Personally, I disagree with the comment that it’s a step too far. It probably only seems like that now when we aren’t in the midst of fighting something like SOPA, but I wonder if it’ll be seen as a step too far when the next piece of legislation comes up that threatens the Internet as a whole. Sometimes, it’s up to the “smaller” sites to constantly be on the lookout for anything the larger sites may miss. By that definition, ACTA was first picked up by a “smaller” website called Wikileaks (which was far less known at the time given that they were a long way off from publishing the war diaries, let alone cablegate) I think the problem might be more that there’s a cartoon edge to it which might not necessarily fit with the serious message it’s trying to project. I don’t think it’s that bad of an idea.
My question would be: What would be considered a threat to the internet? Would a piece of legislation in another country that would put in place a three strikes law be considered a threat? What about censorship that’s already happening in places like China? Is that a threat to the internet?
It’s hard to find fault with the idea. I’m sure, with time, it can be improved and refined.