The group, which includes such members as Mozilla, WordPress and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, officially kicks off with launch events around the world.
The Internet Defense League, a loose
coalition of Internet sites that was first announced
to help protect the Web against proposed laws and other actions
members deem are aimed at hindering Internet freedom, is ready for its official
The groupwhich includes advocacy groups like
the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), OpenCongress and Fight for the
Future, content sites like Reddit, Cheezburger and WordPress, and open-source
software maker Mozillais using the night of July 19 for its coming-out event
to coincide with the release of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight
To announce its arrival, the IDL
will shine its own cat
signal at five launch eventsin San Francisco, New York, Washington, London,
and Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
The group is looking to organize the type of
Internet-wide protests earlier this year that helped derail the controversial Stop
Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA)
. To protest what
they saw as flawed legislation that would hamper Internet freedom and stifle
innovation, sites like Wikipedia, Reddit and others blacked out their pages for
as long as 24 hours, and Google and Mozilla posted links to petitions that
users could sign to be sent to Congress. For their part, privacy advocacy groups
like the EFF offered users ways to show their feelings against the proposed
According to IDL, the group will offer
software code that officials at participating organizations can put into their
Websites, with the hope that opposition to such laws as SOPA, PIPA, the Cyber-Intelligence
Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA)
and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
Agreement (ACTA) can be more quickly organized.
Concerted action by millions of Internet
users killed SOPA, but we know that protecting online rights takes vigilance,
Rainy Reitman, activism director for the EFF, said in a July 19 blog
. In fact, SOPA supporters are already pushing their censorship agenda
through new bills, secret international trade agreements, and voluntary
agreements negotiated between Big Content and service providers. And the
threats dont stop there: our rights to communicate and browse the Web in
private are also at risk, thanks to proposed Big Brother surveillance measures.
"We know that when we work together, we
can protect our Internet. So, were joining with some of our friends from the
anti-SOPA fight in creating the Internet Defense League to help Internet
users, organizations, and companies fight back whenever online rights are
The IDL said members will be able to more
quickly mobilize others to action.
When the Internets 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.), the league said on its Website. With the combined reach of our Websites
and social networks, we can be massively more effective than any one
Along with Websites, Internet advocates and
tech companies, the Internet Defense League also has gotten support from some
members of Congress, including Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jerry Moran
(R-Kansas) and Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Some of the proposed laws not only are being
pushed by politicians, but also by tech companies. CISPA, which would enable
the intelligence community to share information with private firms that face
that threat of cyber-attack, is being supported by such formidable tech
companies like Microsoft, Intel and Facebook, who said it will increase
security on the Internet.
Groups like the EFF, American Civil Liberties
Union and Center for Democracy and Technology have argued that it would be easy
for private user information to end up in the hands of government agencies.