Protest group launches 'bat signal' for the web

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A new campaign group titled the Internet Defense League is aiming to fight legislation seen as a threat to the freedom of the net.

Headed by Fight for the Future and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, it expands on the protests from the likes of Wikipedia and Reddit, which used tools from Fight for the Future to protest against SOPA and PIPA.

Now, though, it aims to recruit as many website owners as possible for similar action.

When the IDL detects a 'threat to the internet' such as restrictive legislation, it will send these members a piece of code to incorporate into their websites.

"Think of it like the Internet's Emergency Broadcast System, or its bat signal," it says.

"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."

Action could take the form of anything from placing a sidebar on the site to allowing the IDL to take it over altogether. Website owners can sign up here.

The creation of the IDL comes a week before Congress returns to session - and, possibly, CISPA will come under consideration. Designed to allow private companies to share information with the government in the event of a cyber attack, the proposed legislation has been widely criticized over fears that it will give the government access to large amounts of private data.