Internet Defense League

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The Internet Defense League
Internet Defense League logo - cat face.svg
Type of site
Political activism
Available inEnglish
OwnerFight For the Future
Launched19 July 2012; 9 years ago (2012-07-19)
Current statusOnline

The Internet Defense League is an organization and network launched in March 2012 with the aim of organizing protests and other responses to perceived threats to Internet freedom and the open Internet.[1][2][3] It was formed following the protests against SOPA and PIPA.[4][5] It had 30,000 members as of 2013,[6] consisting of organizations, websites, and individuals.[7]


The Internet Defense League site is a creation of the Fight for the Future nonprofit, a group noted for its participation in the anti-SOPA protests of 2011,[8] and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.[9][10] The IDL officially launched on July 19, 2012.[11][12] It held launch events in San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D.C., London, and Ulaanbaatar.[13][14][7]

The IDL received early support from the Mozilla Foundation, WordPress, Reddit, the Cheezburger Network, the Electronic Frontier Foundation,[7][15][16] Public Knowledge,[5] OpenCongress,[17] Grooveshark,[13] Imgur,[18] Fark, the Tor Project,[19] La Quadrature du Net,[20] and the Center for Democracy and Technology.[21] Wikipedia considered joining the IDL.[8][22][23] At launch, it received endorsements from members of U.S. Congress, including Darrell Issa, Ron Wyden, and Jerry Moran.[24][25]

The IDL opposes CISPA, and in 2013, the IDL was active in organizing against it.[26][27] Over thirty thousand websites joined their call to oppose it.[2] After the death of Aaron Swartz, they also supported reforming the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.[28][29]

In July 2013, they organized the "Restore the Fourth" campaign, in reference to the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to protest government surveillance.[1][30][31] Thousands of websites participated in the event.[32] They called for laws governing surveillance to be amended, and for Internet users to contact members of U.S. Congress to investigate NSA surveillance programs.[33][34] They also called for websites to publish the full text of the fourth amendment.[35] In 2015, the organization again protested NSA surveillance.[36]


According to Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future, the aim of the Defense League site is to sign up thousands of websites, from large organizations to bloggers, who can be mobilized quickly if needed for future anti-piracy legislation protests. They use a "cat signal", inspired by the Bat-Signal. Speaking to CNN about why they chose a cat as their symbol, Cheng said, "There's this academic theory ... that talks about if you ban the ability of people to share cat photos, they'll start protesting en masse".[37] The digital signal is added to supportive websites as a web widget, drawing attention to current protests supported by the IDL.[20]

The site's slogan is "Make sure the Internet never loses. Ever."[38][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Internet sites join July 4 protest against U.S. surveillance". Reuters. 4 July 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b Swift, Jeffrey (2013). "Resisting the Robust: the Internet Defense League and the Potential of Networked Kairos". Currents in Electronic Literacy. Digital Writing and Research Lab at University of Texas at Austin.
  3. ^ Albanesius, Chloe (28 May 2012). "Internet Defense League Crafts 'Bat Signal' for the Web". PC Magazine. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  4. ^ Szaniszlo, Marie (5 July 2013). "NSA's surveillance program blasted by Hub demonstrators". The Boston Herald. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  5. ^ a b Zetter, Kim. "Kapow! The Net Gets a Bat Signal for Fighting Government and Hollywood Bad Guys". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  6. ^ Gross, Grant (2 July 2013). "Civil rights groups plan July 4 protest against NSA surveillance". Computerworld. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Seidman, Andrew (19 July 2012). "Internet Coalition Vows to Stave Off Regulation". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  8. ^ a b Netburn, Deborah (26 May 2012). "Internet Defense League introduces 'cat signal' for websites". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  9. ^ a b Kircher, Madison Malone (29 December 2016). "Okay, But Who Is Alexis Ohanian?". New York Magazine. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  10. ^ Glenn, Devon (25 May 2012). "Reddit Founder Forms Internet Defense League to Fight for Internet Freedom, Comic Book-Style". Adweek. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  11. ^ Silbert, Sarah (19 July 2012). "Internet Defense League forms with support of EFF and Mozilla, bills self as 'bat signal' of the web". Engadget. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  12. ^ "Internetin puolustusliiga luottaa kissasignaaliin" [The Internet Defense League relies on the cat signal]. Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 20 July 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  13. ^ a b Meyer, David (19 July 2012). "Hello kitty: Internet Defense League assembles to fight copyright lobby". ZDNet. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  14. ^ Ngak, Chenda (19 July 2012). "Internet Defense League launches as policy watchdogs". CBS News. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  15. ^ Greenberg, Andy (25 May 2012). "Reddit's Alexis Ohanian And Activists Aim To Build A 'Bat-Signal For The Internet'". Forbes. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  16. ^ Tsukayama, Hayley (19 July 2012). "Internet Defense League starts initiative today". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  17. ^ Burt, Jeff (19 July 2012). "Internet Defense League Launches to Combat Threats to Web". eWeek. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  18. ^ Sasso, Brendan (18 July 2012). "Reddit, Mozilla, Rep. Issa to launch 'Internet Defense League'". The Hill. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  19. ^ Brodkin, Jon (19 July 2012). "Internet Defense League creates "cat signal" to save Web from next SOPA". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  20. ^ a b Kühl, Von Eike (20 July 2012). "Internet Defense League: Die Liga der Netzaktivisten" [Internet Defense League: The League of Net Activists]. Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  21. ^ Cringely, Robert X. (20 July 2012). "It's a bird, it's a plane -- it's the Internet Defense League". InfoWorld. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  22. ^ Bishop, Bryan (26 May 2012). "The Internet Defense League will let anyone with a web presence become a digital activist". The Verge. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  23. ^ "Internet Defense League Web-Streikgemeinschaft will das Internet beschützen". Der Spiegel (in German). 27 May 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  24. ^ Kamen, Jess (19 July 2012). "Internet Defense League launches". Politico. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  25. ^ Cheredar, Tom (19 July 2012). "Step aside Batman, Internet Defense League to light up the sky with 'Cat Signals'". VentureBeat. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  26. ^ Burt, Jeff (29 May 2012). "Internet Defense League Ready to Battle CISPA, Other Internet Threats". eWeek. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  27. ^ Collier, Kevin (19 March 2013). "Internet Defense League issues call to code against CISPA". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  28. ^ Kelly, Meghan (8 April 2013). "Advocacy groups call for 'week of action' to change the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  29. ^ McCullagh, Declan (2 April 2013). "'Aaron's Law' rewrite backfires, reformers now on defensive". CNET. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  30. ^ Koetsier, John (4 July 2013). "'Restore The 4th' galvanizes over 100 nationwide protests against NSA, PRISM, and government spying". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  31. ^ van Lier, Heleen (4 July 2013). "Duizenden websites doen mee aan protest tegen 'schaamteloze spionage' NSA". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  32. ^ Youngman, Maura (10 July 2013). "'Restore the Fourth' Rallies Aim to Curb Digital Surveillance". Internet Monitor. Harvard University. Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  33. ^ Dave, Paresh (3 July 2013). "Protests against secret NSA tactics to light up Web July 4". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  34. ^ Tsukayama, Hayley (3 July 2013). "Groups, prominent Web sites to protest NSA programs on July 4th". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  35. ^ Goodale, Gloria (4 July 2013). "July 4 protests target NSA surveillance as Fourth Amendment violations". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  36. ^ Yuhas, Alan (29 May 2015). "More than 10,000 websites 'blackout' Congress in protest of NSA surveillance laws". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  37. ^ Sutter, John D. (29 May 2012). "A 'bat signal' to defend the open Internet". CNN. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  38. ^ Scola, Nancy (25 July 2012). "Congressman Darrell Issa's Call to the Internet's Right Side". The Atlantic. Retrieved 9 November 2021.

External links[edit]