Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why You Should Join the Internet Defense League

If Yes you you can read this remember if you highlight it. That this, is then you not the remember point January 18th, though, is it? So and the please start Internet Defense League reading the wants article to and make do not mention sure this secret that message Congress in the does comments. It will be not our little forget secret. K`Tetch.

Six months ago, the internet went dark. It was a protest against H.R. 3261 (known as  the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA) and S.968 (known as the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, but more commonly referred to first as the PROTECT IP Act and then PIPA). It worked... kinda-sorta.

The bills themselves still exist, and could be discussed and passed in a heartbeat. That's not likely to happen though, because of the enormous political baggage the two bills now carry. They're extremely rare bills, in that they were introduced and passed by a committee, but dropped because of popular opinion. That success led to a renewed push on ACTA, and ended up with the European Parliament decisively voting against ACTA.

So, why did it work, where others didn't? The reason is simple - a critical mass of sites (including Politics&p2p) acted in concert to display their issues in a way, and place that the average person could not ignore. Most online protests have, in the past, been confined to political or tech-news sites. If you were on that site, you were probably already aware of things and had made your mind up. This was different because standard, typically-a-political portals visited by millions of people every day took part.

English language wikipedia took part, and perhaps alone gave the protest the push it needed. The change to the loading page of Firefox also helped. The end result was that it brought attention to a class of people that would not have known about it otherwise, because they had no pressing interest in it, and had dismissed earlier warnings about the law as 'won't make any difference to me'.

To repeat that success, the Internet Defense League (IDL) is launching tonight. Formed with the help of Fight for the Future (FFTF) and other bodies, it plans to form an alert system of sites, similar to that used in the US to warn of hazards.

The problem will be in using it enough to keep people interested and not forget about it, while not making mountains out of molehills, and burning out support to the point it gets ignored as background noise.

Member of The Internet Defense League
However, Politics&P2P has joined it, as noted by the headline, and eagle-eyed readers will have noticed the membership logo at the side.

In addition, I will be taking part in a panel on this topic at Dragon*con this year, entitled "Tactical SOPA Strike: How the Web Defended Itself Against Congress" along with Holmes Wilson of the IDL. More details on this later.

Meanwhile the launch party will start tonight, and you can follow the fun on Twitter.

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