If we learned anything from the Internet Blackout that united Wikipedia, Google, and other social media luminaries against the anti-piracy measures SOPA and PIPA, it’s that Internet companies can win any battle that’s fought on the Internet. To keep the flame alive, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian has created an Internet Defense League to fire off a bat signal (in the shape of a lolcat) to quickly assemble a force against any new legislation that threatens Internet freedom.
At a Consumer Reports event earlier in May, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark suggested the formation of “an Internet volunteer fire department” to stop misguided laws targeting everything from to piracy to privacy from being passed. The Reddit founder has created something along those lines, but far more epic. The Internet Defense League invites website owners everywhere to join the cause by signing up for alerts through its website.
“We’ll keep in close touch with groups like the EFF and Public Knowledge to identify threats and opportunities,” the site reads. “We’ve also got a subreddit. This will get formalized more soon, but for now we’re definitely targeting ACTA in June and CISPA as it re-emerges in the Senate.”
EFF stands for the Electronic Frontier Foundation; Public Knowledge is a non-profit public interest group that specializes in copyright law and other Internet issues. Tiffiny Cheng, co-director of the political advocacy group Fight for the Future told Forbes that the image-sharing site Imgur, the Internet meme company Cheezburger Network, and Mozilla have also joined the cause. In short, the League already has some very viral allies.
Take a long look at that lolcat. If either the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) get anywhere near the Oval Office, you’ll be seeing a lot more of it soon.