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Internet Defense League: A Bat Signal For the Internet 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the immediate-blackout dept.
mikejuk writes "Following the successful defense of the Internet against SOPA, website owners are being invited to sign up to a project that will enable them to participate in future protest campaign, the Internet Defense League. The banner logo for the 'bat-signal' site is a cat, a reference to Ethan Zuckerman's cute cat theory of digital activism. The idea is that sites would respond to the call to "defend the Internet" by joining a group blackout or getting users to sign petitions. From the article: 'Website owners can sign up on the IDL website to add a bit of code to their sites (or receive code by email at the time of a campaign) that can be triggered in the case of a crisis like SOPA. This would add an "activist call-to-action" to all participating sites - such as a banner asking users to sign petitions, or in extreme cases blackout the site, as proved effective in the SOPA/PIPA protest of January 2012.'"
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Internet Defense League: A Bat Signal For the Internet

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  • by EdgePenguin (2646733) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:08PM (#40129069) Homepage
    In the UK this is going to be reminiscent, for a lot of people, of the English Defence League - a bunch of neo-nazi football hooligans who stage rallies against 'Islamists' in English town centres, as a shallow pretext to harass and attack people with dark skin.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Should have gone for Internet Defense Force [www.idf.il].

    • for "League of Self-Important Angry Young Men."

      And thanks, I'll pass...

    • by penix1 (722987) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:50PM (#40129295) Homepage

      Naming conventions aside, petition campaigns, especially form petition types have never worked in the past. They require the receiving party to actually give a shit about the petitions and set aside their own self interest and those of the ones funding them. Blackouts and demonstrations of the proposed nasty are far more effective. And it needs to be the big boys doing it first. That would be Google, Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia. that is what stopped SOPA. Not some silly form sent to individual representatives. It prompted Joe Blow to actually call and write DIRECTLY to their reps expressing in their own words how they feel. That is way more effective than getting the same form over and over again. And even then, there will be politicians that won't set aside that self interest.

      • The problem with online petitions is that they send a clear message: someone cares precisely enough to click a button anonymously on the Internet - and not one iota more.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Would you have preferred "Internet Command" [kickstarter.com]?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mashiki (184564)

      Would those be the same islamists who were spitting on people, harassing women, and posting their "anti-gay/anti-homosexual/anti-western stuff" along with general hate speech, as defined by UK law? I'm just curious, I mean the UK does seem to have a serious problem with islamists, captain hook(Abu Hamza al-Masri) comes to mind, but there are plenty of others and plenty more of them on the government welfare dole too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mwvdlee (775178)

        Yes, there's assholes on all extremes of the social/political/religious spectrums (sprectra, spectri?).
        The fact that there's asssholes on the other extreme doesn't make you less of an asshole.

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Yes, there's assholes on all extremes of the social/political/religious spectrums (sprectra, spectri?).
          The fact that there's asssholes on the other extreme doesn't make you less of an asshole.

          This is true. Though there seems to be, more so of them, and in turn much a much higher coordinated movement of them doing so.

          Muslims in the UK attacking their fellow students? Done [henryjacksonsociety.org], running mass scale sex grooming? Well that one's done too. Ensuring that there's a culture of PCness and fear in legal circles so that law looks the other way? Done. You have been paying attention to that right? Claiming victimization when committing rapes, and stating that "it's a part of their religion" yep they've do

      • The EDL don't target Abu Hamza (whose level of physical threat can be assessed based on the fact he blew off both his hands through his inept bomb making attempts) - they target law-abiding UK citizens who happen to look different, wear different clothes, or generally look at the fucking psychos in the EDL the wrong way.
      • by toriver (11308)

        No, those people are too unafraid for the EDL, they might even get their butts kicked.

        EDL goes after regular muslims instead.

        Maybe they should go to America and rough up certain Christian anti-gay pastors... wait, the neo-nazi EDL are anti-gay too.

    • a bunch of neo-nazi football hooligans who stage rallies against Muslamics [youtube.com] in English town centres

      FTFY. Don't you dare give the impression that the average EDL member can engage in coherent speech, never mind cogent discussions and debates.

    • by xenobyte (446878)

      In the UK this is going to be reminiscent, for a lot of people, of the English Defence League - a bunch of neo-nazi football hooligans who stage rallies against 'Islamists' in English town centres, as a shallow pretext to harass and attack people with dark skin.

      Stupid wording... The Islamists are real and the regularly breed fanatics with bombs intented to kill 'infidels'. It's just too sad that hooligans use the valid threat as an excuse to go out and commit violence against anyone looking a bit foreign... Muslim or not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:17PM (#40129121)

    The internet really needs better built in, automatic, technical measures to protect anonymity and protect against censorship.

    End to end encryption as standard for everything. Censorship resistant technologies.

    We can try to defend it against legal attacks, but those attacks only have to succeed ONCE, where the defence has to succeed EVERY time. I don't know exactly how and of course there will be many problems to solve, but I think technical measures are the only thing that can protect the internet in the long run. We must ensure that politicians and legal systems simply do not have the ability to damage it. of course that cannot be done in a perfect way, but that doesn't mean that moving in that direction is without use.

    • The internet really needs better built in, automatic, technical measures to protect anonymity and protect against censorship.

      No technical measure can protect against men with guns, The ISPs must cooperate with the governments. They have no choice.

      End to end encryption as standard for everything. Censorship resistant technologies.

      There is no resisting rubber-hose decryption.

      We can try to defend it against legal attacks, but those attacks only have to succeed ONCE, where the defence has to succeed EVERY

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There is no resisting rubber-hose decryption.

        They cannot rubberhose *everyone*. If encryption is the standard, ubiquitous, then do you honestly think that is not a much better situation to guard against wiretapping than we have today?

        Laws can be repealed.

        Right... because governments are always so quick to give up a power once it has tasted it.

        No technical measure can protect against men with guns,

        The history of the internet shows you to be wrong. Ever heard of the Streisand Effect?

        Men With Guns: "Take that off the internet right now!"

        The Internet: "Umm, it doesn't work like that. It's out there now, and there's fuck all an

        • by lexsird (1208192)

          "Men with guns" have to sleep and eat somewhere. Implying more of the obvious is scary these days.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        "There is no resisting rubber-hose decryption."...

        You are engaging in the fallacy often seen on /.: thinking that because a thing is not perfect, that it must have no use whatsoever.

        Something can be imperfect, and still much, much better than the present state. Encryption is like that. Sure, if someone is willing to break your knees, they can get your data, but for the 99.999% case, encryption is a huge win.

      • by cffrost (885375)

        End to end encryption as standard for everything. Censorship resistant technologies.

        There is no resisting rubber-hose decryption.

        That's not always the case; torturing me for SSL/TLS session keys would be painfully futile. This holds for >50% of my web traffic, thanks in part to EFF's plug-in, HTTPS Everywhere [eff.org].

        • I see the value in HTTPS Everywhere for sites big enough to run on a dedicated server. But TLS as it is implemented today requires a separate IPv4 address per domain, and this won't change until Windows XP and Android 2.x are no longer in use. What's the best practice to secure a smaller site on a budget shared hosting plan, one that shares its IPv4 address with upwards of 1,000 other sites?
          • 1,000 other sites on a single IP address? What kind of budget hosting plan are you using, $2/year?!? Every hosting company i've seen has at least 1 static IP per account and you can buy additional ones for like $2/month.
            • by tepples (727027)

              1,000 other sites on a single IP address? What kind of budget hosting plan are you using

              Go Daddy's entry-level paid plan, about $4.50 per month.

              Every hosting company i've seen has at least 1 static IP per account and you can buy additional ones for like $2/month.

              Which hosting company would you recommend for a small site run as a hobby, especially in this IP shortage?

              • by cffrost (885375)

                Gandi (https://www.gandi.net/hosting/proposal/price/ [gandi.net]) was widely recommended during rage-fest we had discussing the GoDaddy-supports-SOPA article discussion. There was one other with near-equal support whose name eludes me, if you care to go back and read that discussion. As I disclaimed before, I have no experience with any hosting companies (since the 1990s... rounds off to never).

          • by cffrost (885375)

            I'm sorry, I can't answer your question. I haven't hosted a site; my reference to traffic coverage was in reference to personal use, as a requester. However, many small sites in HTTPS Everywhere's large default list use self-signed certificates. (They are noted as such, and disabled (from having HTTPS auto-enforced) by default). You can find many more by using HTTPS Finder [google.com], a complimentary plug-in that (quickly) auto-checks for HTTPS support and adds new rules for HTTPS Everywhere.

      • Laws can be repealed.

        But in practice, they aren't. Restrictions on the public tend to have a ratchet effect [wikipedia.org], becoming tighter over time. When was the standard term of copyright rolled back in the three-century history of copyright?

      • There is no resisting rubber-hose decryption.

        Yes there is. You use multiple key-pairs. You have main keypair (Foo) whose public key is well known and trusted (or signed by a CA of some kind). Then for each connection you generate a temporaray keypair (Bar). You then sign BarPublic with Foo and use Bar for the actual encryption.

        Now if they ever rubber-hose you, all you would literally* be able give them is Foo. Foo was only used for signed Bar (which did the encryption/decryption) and Bar was only ever kept in memory and is long since gone.

        Note: this o

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Any time you move to central control, you have the risk that that control can be used for purposes like censorship or manipulation of public opinion by choosing what people are presented with. The internet started off with decentralized control and it could have kept going in that direction. It could have become the strongest force against thought-police and censorship that the world has ever known. Unfortunately, that didn't last long because central control is exactly what people want. They WANT a si

      • The internet started off with decentralized control and it could have kept going in that direction. It could have become the strongest force against thought-police and censorship that the world has ever known
        i see asynchronous connections and dynamic ip addresses as one of the root causes of this centralised control, if from the beginning, anyone so inclined was able to host their own data easily, we might have had a very different approach to home servers. they could have become the norm for households, e

        • by lexsird (1208192)

          Seriously? I feel sorry for you. You sound intelligent, which puts you at odds versus the average Internet user. Look over the shoulder of the jock in any particular school at what they are doing with this technology, particularly Facebook and try hard not to strangle them. Ironically, it's not produced brilliant minds like one would hope, but instead it's help stupid people concentrate their stupidity. The tech is intelligent, but the users aren't, nor are they ever going to change; it only gets worse from

    • cables can be cut, power can be switched off, frequencies can be jammed

      the health of the internet is merely a reflection of the health of society. so focus your efforts on the keeping society's attitude healthy. that's your best, and only defense, to keeping the internet truly free

      there is no such thing as a technical fix to a sociological problem

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        cables can be cut, power can be switched off, frequencies can be jammed

        True, yes, but not without getting the masses up in arms.

        Right now, it's too abstract. "So WHAT if every single keystroke I type, every site I visit, is logged by my government? I'm not doing anything wrong!" Outside of a tiny minority, people don't care.

        But take away their internet by cutting the cable, and they WILL care. Governments generally can't do that. They CAN engage in censorship and widespread surveillance without getting the population up in arms though, which is why technical measures agai

      • by gman003 (1693318)

        there is no such thing as a technical fix to a sociological problem

        Sure there is! Rip out everyone's brains and replace them with computers! Much easier to keep in line, easier to keep happy, and probably more productive to boot.

        Hell, why bother keeping the fleshy meatbags? Kill all the humans, replace with robots. Problems. Solved.

        Even if problems do arise with that, it's all code and technology. Release a patch, or come out with a new version. BAM. Sociological problems. Technical fixes.

      • by yanom (2512780)
        Except this is a sociological fix. It's not new technology, it's a new application of technology.
    • by cpghost (719344)

      The internet really needs better built in, automatic, technical measures to protect anonymity and protect against censorship.

      I couldn't agree more... even though I was one of those people who believed that you can't fix social issues by technical means. Why I agree? Imagine if the Internet was from the ground up based on a pure anonymous p2p technology (say, something like Freenet, just more user-friendly). Any attempt to censor one site would mean that the authorities would have to kill the whole system.

  • Um, No? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Website owners can sign up on the IDL website to add a bit of code to their sites (or receive code by email at the time of a campaign) that can be triggered in the case of a crisis like SOPA. This would add an "activist call-to-action" to all participating sites - such as a banner asking users to sign petitions, or in extreme cases blackout the site, as proved effective in the SOPA/PIPA protest of January 2012.

    Are they nuts? I don't want any outside site having control over my clients' sites. If they are hacked this would give the hackers a quick way to affect any site that signs up with them.

    Well intentioned (I hope), but count me out.

    • Maybe like a banner ad that loads from a 3rd party server like ads currently load from advertising networks?
      I'm hoping the blackout will have to be done manually though
    • by Anonymous Coward

      That would depend on how the code is implemented. It's not available yet. They could design it so that you get an email which then opts you into a campaign for instance upon your approval. Maybe that means they send you a link to your own site /activate_campaign.php and that then pulls the content which will display as well as set dates for when the campaign ends. You would never even have to give any control to them of your site. Of course you would be linking to them. However a 'hacker' couldn't display s

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      It shouldn't be hard to rewrite the code so that it only activates with your consent.

    • by million_monkeys (2480792) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:37PM (#40129221)

      Website owners can sign up on the IDL website to add a bit of code to their sites (or receive code by email at the time of a campaign) that can be triggered in the case of a crisis like SOPA. This would add an "activist call-to-action" to all participating sites - such as a banner asking users to sign petitions, or in extreme cases blackout the site, as proved effective in the SOPA/PIPA protest of January 2012.

      Are they nuts? I don't want any outside site having control over my clients' sites. If they are hacked this would give the hackers a quick way to affect any site that signs up with them. Well intentioned (I hope), but count me out.

      I think the summary is wrong about how the system is supposed to work. From the actual IDF site: "First, sign up. If you have a website, we'll send you sample alert code to get working in advance. The next time there's an emergency, we'll tell you and send new code. Then it's your decision to pull the trigger."

      Sounds like they give you a sample code in advance so you can make it fit with your site, then if something comes up, they send you a version specific to whatever the issue is. If you don't think it's important, you can just ignore it. If you do want to include a message, you can pop it on your site. And it shouldn't screw anything up because you've previously tested/customized the code for your site. That's slightly (completely?) different than the summary which implies they give you code allowing them to automatically add alerts to your site whenever they want.

      I'm still not convinced it's worthwhile, but it's not the "no way in hell I'm doing that" method that the summary describes

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What we need right now is some way to get the people involved so we don't have anyone threatening to take centralized control of our websites, ruining the entire idea of the internet! So quick, everyone, submit to us taking centralized control of your websites!

      Where's everyone going? Come on, this is important and stuff!

    • by iamhassi (659463)

      Are they nuts? I don't want any outside site having control over my clients' sites. If they are hacked this would give the hackers a quick way to affect any site that signs up with them. Well intentioned (I hope), but count me out.

      I was thinking the same thing:

      Me: (reading).....bat signal for internet... "that sounds good"..... participate in future protest..... "great!".....sites would respond to the call to "defend the Internet".... YES!....... "add a bit of code to their sites "...... um, ok, ya, sure, banner or something, i can see that........... " in extreme cases blackout the site"............ WTF NFW [urbandictionary.com]

      Are they serious? They lost 99% of their support from that one line, "in extreme cases blackout the stie". There is no w

      • by iamhassi (659463)

        Just automatically trigger a banner or something, don't make this more difficult than it has to be.

        or better, send me an email with a link I have to click to activate the banner, because honestly, you might be protesting something someday that I dont wanna protest. Yes, SOPA bad, and Internet Defense League sounds frickin awesome (do we get t-shirts or costumes?!?) but i don't know who's going to be eventually running it, Evil Mega Corp might take over the IDL and trigger the banner for Evil purposes, so while I'd like to add the code just one time and leave it there, I'd also like to be given the optio

      • So, every time there's an emergency, i'm updating code? What sense does that make? LOL come on guys!

        It's Monday morning here, the above quote eloquently describes the rest of my week.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yay for voluntary botnet! :)

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Indeed.

      It's not just government that is easily corrupted by power.

      How about setting up a mailing list to alert all those who sign up, instead of asking them to hand over control of their websites?

    • by EdIII (1114411)

      I was thinking the same thing. A league is an alliance between a group of people. This is more like the Borg and they get to be the queen issuing the orders to all the drones.

      An alarm system where information and activities is coordinated against laws and censorship sounds like a good thing, but that does not require site code controlled by other entities. It can be just a website where you have a membership and a mailing list, which has been pretty effective for a large number of things.

      Now, a link on t

      • An alarm system where information and activities is coordinated against laws and censorship sounds like a good thing

        They already exist, EFF, Grok law, ACLU, collectively they are known as lobbyists.

  • At least... (Score:4, Funny)

    by gmuslera (3436) * on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:23PM (#40129155) Homepage Journal
    it isn't called "League of the Extraordinary Websites".
  • but ripe for abuse

    they should call it the doomsday machine

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmCKJi3CKGE [youtube.com]

  • misleading summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cyko_01 (1092499) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:47PM (#40129277) Homepage
    This is not a piece of code that you put on your site and they flip the switch for you whenever they feel like it (although that is an option too if you really don't care). They basically send you an email about the current threat and YOU flip the switch if you want to participate. The code is just so that everybody's banners look the same.
  • Sounds to me like the perfect way to troll millions of people at once

  • by kubernet3s (1954672) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @02:14PM (#40129439)
    You know, not a single site I went to on "SOPA day" actually blacked out. Wikipedia put a lame ass banner frame that could be circumvented by pressing escape soon after the page loaded, and that was about the most aggressive I saw.
  • newsflash (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Swampash (1131503)

    Governments, particularly that of the United States, do not give a shit if you black out your website or put a passive-aggressive post-it note at the top of each page. SOPA got killed because a bunch of multinational megacorps that spend millions on lobbying collectively had a quiet word with their "clients".

    Just kidding, it was probably that thing on petitiononline.com, no, really it was.

    • You don't get it. Of course the Governements will ignore this "Bat Signal". That's not the point of it. The point is for popular websites to be able to easily inform their viewing public about legislation like SOPA and CISPA and what all. So that their viewing public can raise a ruckus at the gub'mint and get the gub'mint to back the fuck down.

      The Bat Signal didn't tell criminals to pack up and go away, it told Batman to swing by and find out about the criminals, so he can go make the criminals pack up and

    • by EdIII (1114411)

      It might not be that simple.

      Politicians are incredibly self-serving. When huge websites went down it made the Plebs get angry because their bread and circuses were being fucked with. That is historically a bad thing.

      While I am sure that some big corporations who were fighting for their own interests, which only temporarily aligned with the best interests of The People, had some large influence on the outcome, it was not the only major influence in the room.

      There was the Pro, the Con, the Intelligence Comm

  • by utkonos (2104836) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @02:27PM (#40129525)
    And the internet will lose eventually.

    The problem boils down to attention span. The SOPA/PIPA protest was something new. The threat was very in-your-face. It was easy to get the internet to pay attention for these reasons. Congress has learned from that mistake. The new bills are all going to end in the same situation, but they will be smaller and sneakier. The internet has already expended its attention span. It will be impossible to muster the same protest again, unfortunately.
    • A coordinated effort to rapidly identify and track sneakier efforts could get the word out. That alone would make this effort valuable. In fact, if there was simply a way to collect and display bills (and precisely who was behind them) - that would be pretty effective. They could even take a page from sites like ActBlue, and raise funds for primary and general election challengers to bill sponsors.

      Plus, part of the reason SOPA failed was a few big internet companies jumped in. So in addition to being snea
    • by guises (2423402) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @06:26PM (#40130811)
      It's always a mistake to play a defensive game like this. It isn't enough to oppose bad laws, it's necessary to pass good ones that preclude further bad legislation. It's much harder to undermine a good law than it is to legislate something new.

      So, in other words, we need to identify something positive and back that, or write our own. I've heard some good things about the OPEN act - the *AAs oppose it, for one thing, that's a solid win. It hasn't had a whole lot of press though.
      • by utkonos (2104836)
        This needs to be modded way up. I couldn't agree more. With solid legislation in place, creepy bad laws would be impossible to pass. As it is now, its a war of attrition, and the enemy loses absolutely nothing if their bills are shot down. They just go back to the drawing board and separate that unsuccessful bill into smaller sneakier pieces until it all passes into law.
  • ... who controls the switch for this bat signal? Do they have an underlying agenda? Will we all be called to action to support one of their pet political initiatives once they've got us trained to respond reflexively to their cute graphic?

    Political power is all about amassing a support base of voters, activists, etc. that you can use when negotiating your position. Who is behind the IDL? And given a large enough membership list, what can we expect them to lobby for? Given a large enough membership list,

  • Given the prevalence and frequency of attacks on our freedoms, (Internet or otherwise), I'm afraid these 'bat signals' will occur so often that even people who would otherwise be sympathetic, concerned, and involved will sooner or later simply start to ignore the warnings while the equivalent of 'compassion burnout' sets in.

    The people in power understand this natural tendency, and will continue to up the ante until the overwhelming majority of netizens will respond to the latest warning with nothing more th

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