When SOPA and PIPA were hovering ominously over our heads, a huge battle was fought both in the streets and also on the Internet. Many Internet giants, including Wikipedia, Mozilla and Google went black to protest against the possible legislation on January 18, 2012.
Due to the success of the virtual protests against SOPA and PIPA, Fight for the Future
, a non-profit group, have started various schemes to fight future threats, including CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act or HR-3523).
Tiffiniy Cheng, who is head of the Fight for the Future group first suggested the Internet Defense League
. The league has already received the support of many Internet activists and web companies including Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of social news website Reddit, and Craig Newmark, founder of the free online classified network Craigslist.
The league founders, who actively participated in January's protests, have stated: "The Internet Blackout was just the beginning. Together, our websites and personal networks can mobilize the planet to defend the Internet from bad laws and monopolies. Are you in?"
Other members of the league include the humor content company, Cheezburger Network
, the non-profit organization, Public Knowledge, image hosting website Imgur, the Electronic Frontier Foundation
The league likens itself to an Internet version of the "bat signal", used in the famous Batman stories. However, in this case the symbol will be a projected cat, as shown in the image above.
Cheng has stated that the formal launch of the Fight for the Future league is planned for two weeks' time, in order to coincide with Congress' return to session.
Anyone who has a website, blog or even a Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube account can participate and defend Internet freedom by joining the League.
Simply visit the Internet Defense League
website, enter your URL and email address, and you will be added to the member list.
The league states, “Whatever website you own, this is a way for you to be notified if something comes up and takes some basic actions…If we aggregate everyone that’s doing it, the numbers start exploding.”
On signing up, you are first encouraged to invite friends to join the cause and are given a “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,” the instructions read.
Once in place, should the Internet be in danger and the actions of millions of people be needed, the League will then call on its members to act.
Ohanian and the Fight for the Future group are currently focused on defeating CISPA and last week Fight for the Future launched the anti-CISPA site "Privacy is Awesome
", which calls on Internet users to phone their senators and demand meetings to discuss the bill.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved CISPA
earlier this year and it is now the turn of the U.S. Senate to look into the bill, possibly in two weeks' time.
Should the Senate pass the bill into law, CISPA will allow federal agencies to invade personal information and online correspondence of anyone in the U.S.A. The bill would also protect private businesses, such as Facebook, who share users' information with the government or each other. Said businesses would be free from any legal liability for their actions.
So, anyone who has an online presence and is against direct attacks on our Internet freedom
should sign up right away.