Bat signal for the Internet

Remember the great SOPA/PIPA blackout on January 18? Remember how good it felt to join hundreds of thousands of other Internet users in protest and in defense of the Internet?

Well, one of the original and biggest backers of that day of protest was Reddit, and they’ve come up with a great new idea — a sort of Emergency Broadcast System or “bat signal for the Internet.” When a unified response is needed, when a call to action needs to go out, they will send a bit of code to participating websites to put up various announcements or banners. Possibly even code for another blackout. Participants activate the code at their discretion. Forbes magazine has run an article about the project, including a link to the Internet Defense League’s website where you can sign up and also get more information about the project.

With CISPA still floating around in Congress, ACTA looming worldwide, and the promise of more such legislation as fast and as often as our politicians (and their corporate sponsors) think is necessary, Internet users need a way to organize and respond quickly and efficiently.

The highly successful SOPA/PIPA blackout need not have been a one-time fluke, a flash in the pan. What we did once, we should stand ready to do again … and again. As often as necessary. For as long as necessary. The Internet Defense League could help us do that.

6 thoughts on “Bat signal for the Internet

  1. If you can admit to hanging around Reddit I guess I can admit to hanging around 4chan on occasion. One of the things you’d see a lot in the 4chan boards are requests from people to get the anarchy-army of 4chan to organize itself and head out like Genghis Khan on meth against whatever foe the person has. The most common response is “GTFO not your personal army”.

    The Internet works like a hive, it’s not an army. It’s organic, there can’t be a red button on the keyboard that says “it’s go time”. At least, there might be a button, but who decides what call to action is the call to action that deserves pressing the red button? Or deserves responding to the call?

    Personally, I’d say “the Internet” has responded to threats just fine over the past few years without the structure suggested by Forbes or the IDL.

    1. Nope, I don’t admit to hanging around Reddit. Never been there, actually. I’ve just heard the name over the years and know they were one of the original backers of the blackout. (I’ve never heard of 4chan.) My concern is that the blackout was the only really big, organized (more or less) response to what seems to be an endless stream of threats. I see the IDL idea not as organizing an army but more as setting up a mailing list for quickly spreading the word and suggesting a response. The response, if any, is left entirely up to each website owner. Unfortunately, finding a way to quickly organize another blackout or similar protest is probably going to be like trying to herd cats. Who knows, that in itself may be the Internet’s best defense; maybe the government can’t herd cats any better than we can.

        1. Hmm, always wondered exactly where and how Anonymous got started. If 4chan started lolcats too, there must be some insane creativity pooled in that place. And Anonymous certainly seems to know their way around computers. I admire their expertise, as long as they show restraint.

  2. (trying to catch up on my reading). Yeah, every vigilant – and the quicker the better. (herding cats is appropriate.) But always cautious about anyone “organizing” the net.
    Have you seen this from the Brits? Words to avoid using – or else. (or maybe you’ve already done this post…I’m reading, reading, reading….)

    1. As it happens, I posted something about those “bad words” just a few hours ago — but before I saw this comment. “Great minds …” and all that.

... and that's my two cents