A group of civil-liberties organizations, software companies and popular Web sites are launching a new effort called the Internet Defense League that aims to “help Internet users, organizations, and companies fight back whenever online rights are threatened.” Inspired by the collaborative fight against the SOPA bill earlier this year, the new organization counts Mozilla, the EFF, WordPress and Reddit among its charter members.
The launch of the Internet Defense League is timed to coincide with the release of the newest Batman movie, which hits theatres on Friday. The goal of the organization is to be able to band together large numbers of people in a short amount of time to oppose any future SOPA-like bills that the group thinks threaten the freedom or rights of Internet users. The group is calling this idea a bat signal for the Internet.
“When the internet’s in danger and we need millions of people to act, the League will ask its members to broadcast an action. (Say, a prominent message asking everyone to call their elected leaders.) With the combined reach of our websites and social networks, we can be massively more effective than any one organization,” the IDL’s site says.
“The Internet Defense League takes the tactic that killed SOPA & PIPA and turns it into a permanent force for defending the internet, and making it better. Think of it like the internet’s Emergency Broadcast System, or its bat signal!”
The EFF was one of the leaders of the fights against the SOPA bill, a highly controversial measure that would have given the federal government broad powers to take down just about any site that officials decided had some copyright-infringing content on it. The bill also included a mechanism that would have enabled law enforcement to block a site in the DNS system, effectively erasing the site from the Web. Experts said that provision would’ve had serious consequences for the DNS system and the DNSSEC security system.
“We know that when we work together, we can protect our Internet. So, we’re joining with some of our friends from the anti-SOPA fight in creating the Internet Defense League to help Internet users, organizations, and companies fight back whenever online rights are threatened,” Rainey Reitman of the EFF said.
As part of the launch, the IDL will be hosting parties in several cities, during which people will be projecting the organization’s “cat signal” on tall buildings, a la the famous bat signal in the Batman movies.