If your Memorial Day weekend fun including taking in the visual extravaganza known as The Avengers in your local cinema (it was cooler weather for the FolkLife Festival now, wasn’t it?), you may have acquired a patriotic bias for a “league of justice” that defends the public interest with a super heroic, Hulk-like power and Capt. America sense of purpose.
You’re right on track and on time to engage with the newly created Internet Defense League, a group with a very vigilant sense of purpose and of humor, which aligns, in true meme-like fashion, with the support of Seattle’s ICanHasCheezburger.
This League of Justice, spearheaded by Fight for the Future and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, is putting together an Internet bat or “cat” signal of sorts, and counting ICanHasCheeburger among its ground floor sponsors.
“Think of it like the Internet’s Emergency Broadcast System,” the group said on its website. Besides the Cheezburger Network, the Internet Defense League has already won the support of WordPress, Imgur, Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.
Co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng and Ohanian joked that their version could be called a “Cat signal,” referencing Ethan Zuckerman’s “Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism,” which posits that user-generated content platforms excel at getting activist messages out to larger audiences who are there to share pictures and videos and stories about cats. ICanHasCheeazburger has certainly proved the truth of that theory.
The IDL will formally launch when Congress returns to session at which time the U.S. Senate could decide to take up the much-maligned CISPA legislation. CISPA is intended to allow private companies to share information with the government in the event of a cyber attack, but detractors worry it will give the feds an all-access pass to your private information. It passed the House in late April, and now moves to the Senate, where it could be addressed on its own or folded into other legislation. The White House has already said it would veto CISPA if it reaches the president’s desk.
Why an Internet Defense League (of Justice)? According to All Things D, and as reported by PC Magazine, “The Senate is considering at least two cyber-security bills. In February, Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, and a month later, Sen. John McCain unveiled the Secure IT Act. They could combine their efforts into one bill, but according to Nextgov.com, there are “fundamental” differences the senators are thus far unlikely to overcome. Fight for the Future is also backing “Privacy is Awesome,” a campaign that encourages people to call their members of Congress and urge them to vote against legislation like SOPA and CISPA.
Watch for the Cat Signals over the skies of Seattle. But first, sharpen your claws by joining the Internet Defense League coalition. [24×7]
Category: What's Brewing?