July 20, 2012
Internet Defense League – Cat Signal Goes Live
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
When SOPA and PIPA went to legislation earlier this year, many websites in the online community staged an organized protest, turning the lights off on their respective pages.
Building on their collective efforts, members of the social news website Reddit and the advocacy group Fight for the Future, joined forces to create an online call to arms to alert the community should further legislation threaten the Internet´s freedoms. Of course, it wouldn´t be a proper online effort without the official mascot of the Internet and a comic book reference.
Thus, the “Internet Cat Signal” was born.
And, in honor of the latest episode of the revamped, Christopher Nolan-directed Batman series, the Internet Defense League has seen it appropriate to launch on opening day.
"The Internet Defense League is a network of people and sites that use their massive combined reach to defend the open Internet and make it better," says the group.
Joining the IDL´s fight are some of the Internet´s heavy hitters, such as the aforementioned Reddit, the Cheezburger network, (more cats, of course) WordPress, Mozilla and many others.
"We are very happy to be sharing a launch date with Batman. Everyone who took part in defeating SOPA, PIPA & ACTA this year are legitimate real-life superheroes," IDL said.
The Cat signal went live in a very real way last night, outside of the connected series of tubes known as the ℠net. Thanks to the contributions of Internet Freedom Fighters everywhere, the Cat Signal can be seen in many cities across the US.
"The spotlights will beam the IDL's 'cat-signal' into the stratosphere, across obliging clouds, or onto neighboring buildings," IDL said.
The IDL´s cat signal works in an incredibly simple and intuitive way. Whenever the IDL catches wind of a potentially harming piece of legislation, they´ll blast some lines of code to those who have signed up to be a part of the IDL´s efforts. Armed with this code, these web developers will be able to display the Cat signal to their website, gathering the masses together in another protest.
"Having a network in place means that, from here forward, as the Internet creates values, as websites reach tremendous numbers of people and when users feel passionate attachment to the sites they use every day, we'll be able to leverage all of that to defend the Internet from threats," said Tiffiny Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future.
"From today onward, if there's another terrible bill that would hurt the Internet, we'll be ready."
As we´ve seen in recent history, these kinds of protests can have a powerful effect. Thanks to the SOPA and PIPA blackout protests, both pieces of legislation were tabled. Some in congress were even alerted by their younger family members as to the dangerous aspects of the bills, and were able to vote accordingly. Reaching across the aisle, the IDL has even wrangled members of congress to support their efforts. As it stands, Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, Rep. Darrell Issa and Democrats Sen. Jared Polis and Sen. Ron Wyden have all voiced their support for the IDL´s cause.
Though the Cat signal is just one way to band the collective Internet together to fight against legislation which wishes to hamper the freedom of the web, it´s just the beginning, says Senator Moran.
"We have patted each other on the back [for that], but I would say that these battles ... are not behind us.”