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EFF, Reddit, Mozilla, others launch Internet Defense League and Cat Signal (internetdefenseleague.org)
429 points by mtgx on July 19, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 140 comments



Well it embodies the best and the worst of internet movements.

While the foundations are good: protecting the web from bad laws, restrictions etc... the execution is really ridiculous. Imagine you're an old style Senator or representative and you see that website with a weird ass looking cat... Do you really think it's going to make them think you're anything but a joke?

I find that the words used are equally ridiculous: "League", "XXX signal".

It really feels like a little club of geeks trying to have an impact in the world and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It could have been a great idea, it's ruined by a poor execution.

edit: I have seen a lot of negative reactions and I appreciate people taking the time to answer to me. I won't edit my previous comment but let me add some things:

I didn't mean to be insulting but if you want it to be a democratic movement you have to avoid inside jokes at all cost. It's literally filled with Reddit/ geek pop culture references and it won't take off in the general public because a very large portion of the population do not understand or don't like it. It's like saying a meme out loud: you feel ridiculous.

For old style senators I am talking about basically any person over 35 that has no idea what reddit/ twitter/ cat facts are and who will find that ridiculous. Yes Senators and representatives are supposed to work for you, but it's like for everything they have to take you seriously. We belong to the Z generation but in order to talk to other generations we have to use common references and avoid cats or internet memes or super hero folklore for what it matters. Serious business in two words.


35? Really? I'm over 35 as are most of my friends, and I seriously doubt any of them are going to be scratching their head at the cat reference. Suggesting we would is a little insulting to be honest. Not to mention the Justice League play is more my generation than yours. I think you need to up your age boundary a bit. Maybe 45, and even then...

Anyways, all of you youngsters who get the cat signal are certainly capable of calling or writing your local representative. I'll cheer for anything that raises awareness and reduces apathy among my generation and yours.


Kids today. People over 35 invented internet culture.


shakes fist


Get off my virtual (VRML) lawn!


Oooh boy was that ever a flash in the pan.


"but it's our thing. Get off Facebook grandma"


Kids today. People over 45 invented the Internet.


Kids today. People over 60 invented the Internet. Vint Cerf was born in 1943.


As if an "old style Senator" would base his support for or against a bill on a website's design.

This is about engaging young nerds and non-nerds, average citizens and making an impact on main stream media. It's a marketing and PR stunt. It will trigger media coverage and thousands of phone calls... politicians fear at least one of those two things like the plague. And it's probably not the phone calls.

We already have a formal projects such as the EFF. They are the backbone of all this.


...and the EFF hasn't been all that wildly successful at bringing the mass of cute-cat-photo-loving 'net users into the issue.


I totally agree that the cat/league/etc. is ridiculous.

The problem is not with old style senators. The problem is with the 95% of the general population that is confused or turned off by it. You're trying to convince the general electorate, which then determines who gets elected.

It does feel like a little club of geeks, which is not effective as a movement that aims to convince/beyond that circle.


Everybody considers themselves a geek these days. Because they like batman, board games or scifi movies like avatar.

Lets hope a majority of people will be fooled into thinking they are part of a special club of l33t interweb freedom f1ght3rs.

I am being both sarcatic ( about how everyone thinks they are a geek these days ) and honest ( about that it could actually work ) here.


Honestly, the 95% of the general population is the percent that still throws around cat pictures as though they're the newest and greatest things. My mother is often sending me cute animal pictures that were popular in the 90's and early 2000's.


We start it, early adopters. The mass picks up on it after a few years, only if it gets started in the first place.


Exactly!


> We start it, early adopters. The mass picks up on it after a few years, only if it gets started in the first place.

Which, coincidentally, is a LOT of what you can see happening these days with "social networking" and "cloud computing" and all those other hypes and trends that basically existed very well in the 90s and before but now the public is "catching up" with technical developments.


I think you have democracy backwards. We are not to serve our politicians, they are here to serve us.

They dont care what a small group of nerds and tech companies want and think. They care what average people think they want.

Symbolism, accessable tone of voice .. Thats extremely relevant.

You shouldnt compare it to lobbyist webites. You should compare it those of political movements and politically oriented charities.

The memification of the message is brilliant marketing, because its funny, accesible and honest.

Rescue the lolcats from the evil clutches of the internet hate league! So load up your meme gun and blast these seniors out of congress.


Rescue the lolcats from the evil clutches of the internet hate league! So load up your meme gun and blast these seniors out of congress.

That right there. Tell me GP when youve found someone who can't get behind that. I think you'll be surprised.


I think you're looking at it from the wrong side. I believe the point of the goofy "league" and cat are to bring in sites, which are mostly made up of reddit'ors and weird-ass-looking-cat lovers. Once the sites are onboard and the "league" sends out the "signal", this site has to attract the users, who are the redditors and cheezburger-ites. Some small, minuscule fraction of those will do things like call their senators, resulting in tied-up phone lines, angry recriminations, and general panic.[1] That is what your old-style Senator is going to take seriously.

The organizational style is very similar to that of other organizations that attempt to motivate constituents like the NRA and AARP and if you really want to spend some time boggling, check out their communications to their constituency.

In other words, the "general public" is not the target here. Neither are representatives, directly. The target is the "Z generation"[2], which are underrepresented in political debates, I think. And if you want them to do something, you probably want to use some memes.

[1] That's hyperbole, but I do suspect that if .01% of the American readers of icanhascheezburger were to call their representatives,

[2] "Z generation"? I prefer to think of it as "Force Z".


> It really feels like a little club of geeks trying to have an impact in the world and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Yeah, there's nothing worse than geeks trying to have an impact. What a bunch of ass holes!

I'm curious, what impact do you have on "old style Senators"?


You're missing the point. I'd argue initiatives like these should have the aim of educating as many people as possible: things like a 'cat signal' may undermine that effort.


Im sorry. But a cat signal is awesome.

And the problem with educating people isnt the quality of the informational value of the message, its the lack of entertainment value.

Consider the daily show or colbert report, do they make people read less well informed newspapers? Most of their viewers were not reading those. It is however taking attention away from reality shows.

Likewise this is not to replace the EFF, but to widen its reach, and get people actively involved, that wouldnt get involved otherwise.


What's important is that you've found a way to feel morally superior and do nothing about the problems we face today. A true internet warrior.


Wait, are you talking about the GP, or the "Internet Defense League"?


Whoa whoa whoa... Don't act like signing up on a website is equivalent to doing something.

It's literally the absolute least you could do.


No, the least you could do is make snarky comments about the people who are actually trying to do something. This isn't about 'signing up' for a website. This is about trying to mobilize a group of people that often times is not that involved with politics. The idea is that when you sign up, you'll take action on the items that the site informs you about. There is literally nothing like this on the internet for this demographic and the OP gets the most upvoted comment complaining that they used the term 'cat signal'? Politics and protesting can be fun and inviting. This has zero effect on anything except for grump old people who think that they know better. We stopped SOPA with a few days of action and a few big names stepping up. This is simply an attempt to harness that power and dedication. People who are already shitting on this, on day one, while typical is still extremely sad.


> We stopped SOPA

This is what I'm worried about. Who really stopped SOPA? You can bet that anyone who signs up for this will go around touting how they stopped SOPA, just like the guy next to me pretty much single handedly saved Haiti in 2010 with his $5 donation to the Red Cross.

There is a disparity between giving money so that others can continue to do work and being the one doing the work. I want that distinction clear, and to remain clear. The doctor who flew down to Haiti to personally help is infinitely more valuable than someone who donated.

EDIT: I'm not saying that this is useless or dumb. It's a step in the right direction, albeit (IMO) a small one. I just don't want to see "I signed up- I'm going to save the internet!" I think the people who really devote themselves to these causes should be respected on a different level than those that, for instance, sign up for this.


Why? Why do you need to make those distinctions? The doctor couldn't fly to Haiti if he hadn't been funded. You need a lot of different pieces working together to make big change.


But someone who posted "Like this if you love Doctors in Haiti" did very little, just as people signing up for a website do very little. I don't like to belittle "raising awareness" campaigns because I know how important they are. But there is no substitute for getting your feet on the ground or your money from your wallet. I worry that we are creating a generation of people who think posting something in their facebook feed is saving the world. It’s certainly helpful, but it has to be in conjunction with real work.

People who aggravated against SOPA certainly did something -- an important thing -- but people who made hard decisions, called or emailed their representatives and really coordinated this effort did more.


This is a little different. For every person who felt they contributed to defeating SOPA, that's a person that politicians have to consider when enacting legislation. That's called paticipatory democracy, and it's pretty awesome!


"There is a disparity between giving money so that others can continue to do work and being the one doing the work. I want that distinction clear, and to remain clear. The doctor who flew down to Haiti to personally help is infinitely more valuable than someone who donated."

Really? Let's say I donate enough money that the Red Cross can afford to send an additional doctor to Haiti. How is that not in the same ballpark as volunteering your time as a doctor to go work there?

We should care about the effects of our actions, and donating money to effective charities (see http://givewell.org) is one of the ways we can have the biggest positive effect.

(I take this seriously; I give about 1/3 of what I earn as a programmer to the most effective charities I can find.)


Like I said, if your money is supporting someone doing good and gives them the ability to continue doing good, then it's helpful.

Going back to the Red Cross example: If I'm a doctor in the US I'm making very good money, I get to see my family every day, and I have a very high standard of living.

It takes one of those doctors (not necessarily from the US, but I imagine most doctors live well) to give all of that up and fly over to a country in ruins to help. Without the people who are willing to really make those sacrifices, we've got a bunch of money and that's it. Money in and of itself is not what is usually needed to rectify situations.


Like us on Facebook to SAVE THE INTERNET!


What's important is that you've found a way to feel morally superior and do nothing to address the concerns raised by your parent that it doesn't achieve its goal and thus diverts valuable resources away from better thought-through initiatives that would be effective at reaching that goal. A true internet warrior.


This cat league stuff is marketing for the network itself, the actual message that will be sent over the network will depend on the specific issue being addressed and will probably be tailored for a more mainstream audience.


>it really feels like a little club of geeks trying to have an impact in the world

What's wrong with that? Go geeks! Don't you think the first time the "Cat Signal" is activated, it will make the news, and bring attention to the issue?

Also, old senators die. We'll replace them with redditors.


victork2 has a very good point. There is a massive disconnect between the online nerd world and the offline non-nerd world.

As a marketing strategy - and let me be clear, this is a marketing & people problem, not a technical one - you need to be able to reach the "Joe the Plumber" types. Someone who checks his facebook & email on the weekends, possibly forwarding glurge. Someone who does not own a smartphone, because they are confusing. Someone who will not get troll culture, memes and lulz, seeing them as juvenile foolery.

Put another way: a campaign like this needs to drive on many fronts, including the internet culture drive, the corporate drive, and the blue-collar drive.


Well, from my quick glance at the site, the league isn't aimed at "Joe User", but internet savvy "Lance Site-Owner" so they can show solidarity with the fight against evils to be yet illuminated by "Fight for the Future".

Basically they are trying to institutionalize a network of "like-minded" internet activists; which will at least be interesting as a sociology experiment to see how it evolves and what kinds of reaction it gets.


Yes, but in order to move outside of the Lances, a different approach has to be developed. It needs not to be a geek-only campaign and instead needs to be a campaign that includes non-geeks.

Remember, most of the world are not geeks, and in a representative democracy, that means very few people in power are geeks. Geeks need to be able to communicate these socio-technical issues to non-geeks. I really hope that the Internet defence league works to communicate to the mainstream of the culture - the non-geeks - what's going on, because the mainstream is the primary driver of how we move politically (technically it's a feedback loop with the mass media playing a large part, but mainstream culture carries a large momentum and sway).


I believe the idea is that when the Committee for Public Safety decides something so heinous is about to be passed in (some?) legislature somewhere in the world (a little hazy on what will be actionable), they will fire up the cat-signal and provide updated campaign code to League members to demonstrate solidarity via a "hunger-strike" of sorts "going-dark" protest.

Not sure if the cat signal will be involved in this "final-mile" of the distributed protest action or not.


> It really feels like a little club of geeks trying to have an impact in the world and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

It kind of is though. Also some of these "little club of geeks" have extraordinarily deep pockets and any Senator/representative worth their salt knows how much that matters. I don't want to make demean important movements in the sixties by making comparisons of their oddities but money/power worked then and Senators/Representatives know it.


Deep pockets, and web sites with millions of visitors.


My guess is that the targeting here is aimed more at internet users than at Senators, i.e. it's an attempt to get more people who vaguely care about these issues actively involved in them and feeling that EFF et al represent their interests.


I'll second this. That stupid-looking cat tells me nothing about the goal of the movement, what it's fighting against, or the character of its supporters, other than they probably also like nyancat or hello kitty. If you want a serious symbol, use the liberty cap that Congress couldn't bring themselves to use on their statue of Columbia.


Is the Internet Defense League just an American thing?


Don't think so. The liberty cap has been a symbol of emancipation from slavery in Western culture since ancient times. There's a statue of Columbia, goddess of liberty, atop the dome of Congress. She was designed with a liberty cap, but was created too close to the American civil war for the south to accept the symbolism.


Thank you for the explanation. I couldn't find a nice succinct explanation in my quick google search.


What? This is an awesome design and approach which will appeal to most people. Everyone's seen Batman, watched cartoons and comedies. This hooks into popular culture and uses it to deliver a message. I don't see references to memes here - can you point any out?

Besides, just what the hell is wrong with cats? Maybe you're a dog person but a lot of us are not. Elitist.


The easiest position to take when disagreeing with someone is to stick a label on the opposition as if this justifies that you should not take their argument seriously.

I for one think he has a point and if you don't please come up with something better than name calling.


That last sentence was meant as a joke. I sincerely hope that HTML6 gets those <humour> tags.


I find that the words used are equally ridiculous: "League", ...

To be fair, the following all get a lot of congressional hearing time:

* American League

* National League

* National Football League


* League of Women Voters

* Anti-Defamation League


League of Nations... Oh sorry, that's the UN.


No but old style senators still like good old fashioned vote buying, vote early, vote often my friends.

If shitty internet legislation costs them popularity or makes them look out of touch then they'll stop doing it.

The key is that this is going to be put in place on many sites so that the power can be readily abused to bring the kinds of legislative changes we want to see.

If it works within a few years you should start seeing earmarks for whoever controls the switch.


For old style senators I am talking about basically any person over 35 that has no idea what reddit/ twitter/ cat facts are and who will find that ridiculous. Yes Senators and representatives are supposed to work for you, but it's like for everything they have to take you seriously. We belong to the Z generation but in order to talk to other generations we have to use common references and avoid cats or internet memes or super hero folklore for what it matters. Serious business in two words.

OK, I don't disagree with the general sentiment of what you're saying... but I think you overstate the extent to which you can generalize the youthfulness of the audience here, and/or the extent to which the Internet is only know nto the young. As a 39 year old "Gen X"er, I'm aware of plenty of people my age who know and use Reddit, Twitter, etc. Plenty of people roughly my age were in college in the 90's when the Internet was first becoming widely available, and are 'net savvy.


I agree with your premise. But I think when it gets momentum and gets picked up by the news media, there will be lots of 'explainers' on TV and the web.


I'd agree if IDL were meant to be a serious policy organization or directly lobby Congress. But that isn't the case - it's a way of applying grass roots pressure by making people like your average redditor aware of issues and motivated to do something about them. That's the target, so thus the geek pop style of communication. Wholly appropriate for what they're actually trying to achieve.


Except that the target audience for this launch campaign is other website owners / webmasters, not the senate or the general populace.

I'm sure if they start doing anything in earnest for the general public the campaign materials will change.


> Do you really think it's going to make them think you're anything but a joke?

After what happened with SOPA and ACTA, they can regard it as a joke at their peril.


Where is your internet defense league?


> It's like saying a meme out loud

Lots of memes are only said out loud. Don't forget the original meme definition.


This part makes me uncomfortable:

> Our organization and network helped to defeat SOPA/PIPA [..] The Internet Defense League continues this work. But it depends on its members' donations

It then goes on to ask for a donation to support staff who 'work behind the scenes'.

I think to people who are unfamiliar with what happen around the community action with SOPA and PIPA this section can be interpreted as the Internet Defense League taking credit for the defeat of the bills.

It also suggests that without financial contributions from members that this work wouldn't happen and SOPA/PIPA/what-comes-next may just succeed next time, even though this organization wasn't even around during the SOPA debate.

There is also no transparency around how this money that is raised will be spent. Who will be hired? What will they do? What will be volunteer roles and what will be hired roles? Weren't SOPA and PIPA defeated by volunteers in ad hoc communities and not paid salarymen working for a quasi online charity? Why is this not structured as a charitable organization? Why is my donation not tax deductible? Who are the people behind this? Where are they based? Why is this so United States centric? Who is backing this financially so far? Where is the about page? Is this a scam?

There should be a lot more details on that page before you ask people for money.

I would have preferred that donations were directed to the EFF, and that the online organization is done by volunteers - as, you know, it has worked just fine in the past.


Considering the list of supporting sites, that are behind this project, claiming to play a crucial part of the defeat of SOPA, would be totally correct.

But they dont actually do that. They use "we" in a politically rethoric form, where they try to convince the reader what their position already is. Its like saying "we the american people, need lower taxes to be free".

Its a marketing trick.


Well, Wikipedia's shutdown played a pretty significant part in the SOPA/PIPA action... and Wikimedia has decided to not take part in the Internet Defense League.

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/Interne...


Just donated - now a member. Will be installing the code on my blog.

If you think this is stupid and ridiculous, what exactly are you doing to save the Internet?

[edit]I just became an EFF member too.


>If you think this is stupid and ridiculous, what exactly are you doing to save the Internet?

I'm holding my rock. It keeps internet-killers away.


NEWS FLASH: Being bitter, apathetic and contrarian does not make you sound smart. This is undeniably an awesome idea. Stop searching for flaws and help.


But, but, I am bitter, apathetic, and contrarian!


Why make the tracking code so complicated ? Couldn't it be simply written like this ? :

   <script async src="//members.internetdefenseleague.org/include/?variant=banner">
Also the url is the referrer no ?


The async property doesn't work in IE


It seems a little strange that they want their users to put hosted JavaScript on their sites. Just doesn't feel like "freedom" to me. Couldn't they control a lot of sites or steal information by changing that script to something malicious?


Do you have g+ / tweet / like buttons on your site? Google Analytics? Disqus? jQuery CDN?


For that matter, have you ever run "yum update httpd" without reviewing the source code first?


Really? A giant cat?


It is not supposed to be a lobbyist. It is supposed to be a poltical movement.

Its political marketing aimed at voters. It should target the type of teens on facebook, that you and i may look down upon.

As far as im concerned, they dont even go far enough. We need a comic. We need memes.

RESCUE MONORAIL CAT FROM THE CLUTCHES OF THE EVIL INTERNET HATE LEAGUE. FIRE UP YOUR MEMES AND BLAST THESE CORRUPT SENIORS OUT OF CONGRESS.

That kind of stuff!


> It should target the type of teens on facebook

The type of teen who legally can't vote? Sounds effective.


Many of them can. And they are still easier to convince, that an 80 year old that still uses racial slurs.


I can't even tell if you're being sarcastic anymore. These "memes" are driving me crazy.


Not sarcastic. Question: do you need convincing, or are you not the target audience?

Im suspecting that most people here, are already being served well by the EFF.

Consider this a branch, with a different tone, aimed at the facebook / youtube / 9gag crowd.

And its still usefull for us, since we can eaily integrate the "alarm" with our own websites.

My memes were an exaggeration, but they were not sarcastic. Lets just hope the people here can be practical enough to accept that maybe the tone of voice isnt for us, it is the most effective way to promote a cause we all already care deeply about.


This reminded me of Anonymous rallying the troops for some LOIC action.

I think the Internet Defense League has got it right.


Yeah, I can't take them seriously unless they embed a video; maybe Piano Cat playing a slow, ominous melody, or a call-to-arms.

Piano cat plays

Prepare for battle soldier

Evil is afoot


s/call-to-arms/call-to-paws/


They could have picked much worse...


Goatse (for example)?


would you prefer an elephant or a donkey instead?


Any idea on how this league will be governed? Does each participant vote on what should become actionable? Will it's governance be by elective representation?


Indeed. I like the idea of this, but without a clear constitution and statement of their mission I can't sign up for it and I certainly won't be injecting their code into my web sites.


Any idea on what it actually does? How does it detect "danger"? It seems more like an attempt to co-opt internet freedom movements than actually do anything at all.


Theyll be able to spam, hopefully millions of websites, at once, with the same exact political message.

If they use this sparringly ( only for things as big as SOPA ), most site owners wouldnt mind.

And the impact, together with all major cities suddenly blasting a cat light, will likely reach the news.

At which point, people like the EFF ( which are also part of this initiative ), will likely have serious, well spoken individuals available for interviews and such.


I can't believe there is so much negativity. I'm usually the guy who has something negative to say about everything, and end up in these threads where other people ask, "why so negative?"

But this? This political action is literally what killed SOPA; that's not me talking, that's straight from Dodd's mouth. Now they've developed an easy call-to-action for future, similar bills? It's genius. Politicians thrive on the historical forgetfulness of the public. It was a matter of weeks before another bill similar to SOPA was in the works. The politicians will adjust their strategy and count on less political action the "next-time-around". I hope this can prevent it.

Who cares if it's about cats and comics? That's the theme of a generation and internet culture. And (combined with their high unemployment and lower expectations of future standard of living) this generation is going to be a political force. Bank on it.


Oh man, oh man, oh man, I miss putting little blue ribbons on all my Web pages' footers!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Ribbon_Online_Free_Speech_...


As a multicultural person who has lived in more than one country, as usual when I see initiatives like this, I wonder how well they will work in China, behind the Great Firewall.

http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17910953

I posted a Chinese saying attributed to Confucius the last time we discussed an effort to use the Internet to bring about more transparency.

始吾於人也,聽其言而信其行。今吾於人也,聽其言而觀其行。"At first my attitude toward people was to listen to their words and to trust their deeds. Now my attitude toward people is to listen to their words and observe their deeds."

I listen to the words "Internet freedom should not be restricted" and I say, as people did during the 1960s civil rights movement, "Right on!" But then I observe deeds and I wonder if anyone has an effectual plan to stop the prior restraint of all print publications in China or the direct party cadre oversight of all broadcast media in China. I can access the Chinese media (and do) just fine, via the World Wide Web, but the common people of China, even the many who now have Internet access, are far from being able to access any available news source from anywhere around the world to the same degree that most Hacker News participants can.

All kinds of tough world problems would be easier to solve if the common people of China (and Russia, and a few other countries) had less restricted access to news and information, both about the country they live in and all other countries, and more opportunity to practice political dissent and open discussion of public policy, culminating in voting for national leaders in free and fair elections. If an Internet Cat Signal helps bring that about, I'm all for it. But if the Cat Signal serves mostly as yet another silly publicity tie-in for a Hollywood movie, I have better uses of my time and the server for my personal website than to link into the project.

I would really like to see an Internet freedom project that has significant advice and direction from political dissidents experienced with one-party dicatorial regimes, such as the current regime in China. Such a project could help Western Internet freedom activists better understand what issues really matter, and what technical means can overcome determined governmental opposition.

See

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/july-dec12/dictators_07...

for examples of research on this important topic.

Best wishes to everyone working for more free flow of information to more people all over the world.


I think the point of the cat signal is nothing to do with promotion of Hollywood movies and everything with trying to rally the people who have a strong understanding and interest in the freedom of the internet.

Think something like the NRA or NAACP, but for the internet. Things like the EFF are cool but not nearly as popular and accessible as things like NRA.

Unfortunately there is very little which western political groups can do to force the hand of the Chinese government with regard to censorship.


> I would really like to see an Internet freedom project that has significant advice and direction from political dissidents experienced with one-party dicatorial regimes, such as the current regime in China. Such a project could help Western Internet freedom activists better understand what issues really matter, and what technical means can overcome determined governmental opposition.

So Tor then?


From Techdirt:

"Earlier this year, I wrote about the Hacking Society gathering, put on by Union Square Ventures. During that discussion, Clay Shirky brought up the idea of an "Internet Volunteer Fire Department" and Tiffiniy Cheng, from Fight for the Future, explained the IDL and how they were already working on it. You can watch that discussion to get a sense of the thinking behind this effort:"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=X...


Too bad this seems very US centric...


If you're in the UK you could do a lot worse than join the ORG[1]. Maybe non-US resident HN'ers can co-opt this thread to post their own local feline alert movements.

[1] - http://www.openrightsgroup.org/


It's a shame non-US residents would have to set up something locally.

I had hoped for a truly global 'Internet Defense League', which then could have smaller branches for country/region specific issues.


As is the core infrastructure of the internet...


Cripes, they've still got that shitty name.

Anyone from the United Kingdom will immediately associate the name with the English Defence League, a violent far-right Islamophobic street protest movement.

As branding ideas go, having a name that has that connotation is a really dumb choice.


Did they avoid using bats for copyright reasons?-) Cat doesn't cut it as much as bat I guess.


It's the internet. We like cats. Cute cat pictures make the internet work.



At the risk of being productive, what is the benefit of using this "service" over posting my own message on my website? (Honest question)


Oddly, signing up wouldn't work for me in chrome...only Firefox worked. When I submitted the form in chrome, is just reloaded the page.


Worked for me in chrome.


"bad monopolies".. so which monopolies are good?


Monopolies are not inherently bad. A monopoly on some good or service might be that way because it provides the best product at a fair price and there's no way somebody else could beat them. It's only when a monopoly starts using its position of power to either unfairly gain advantage in a similar market, start screwing over customers that they become "bad," or some other tactic that ruins competition or hurts consumers.


> Monopolies are not inherently bad.

Yes they are. They are bad because they are a massive risk center to their customers. For a small industry this is just kind of annoying, but for a massive one it can have a detrimental effect on the entire economy and not having massive single points of failure in your economy should be (and sometimes is) considered a matter of national security.


Try convincing someone to build out basic utilities without giving them one. I like to be able to flush my toilet, personally.


What about wireless spectrum? Should we just give access to spectrum to everyone who wants it? Your radio, cell phone and wireless Internet would stop working within weeks, I'm sure. Sometime monopoly is not only good, but necessary.


That the status quo for RF spectrum is that of government granted monopoly in most of the world is not evidence that this is a necessary way to operate. In fact there have been numerous proposals to change the regulation of important RF ranges into a more typical commons based usage model. e.g. the "whitespace" wireless broadband systems that are still fighting their way through the FCC regulatory quagmire in the US.

I'd even argue that the regional monopoly system we currently have actually frequently does have to act in communal ways in the best interests of different providers across regulatory regions. People without billions of dollars on the table just aren't allowed in those conversations.


I'm not entirely sure that we have locked out people without billions of dollars. I followed closely and commented on the low power FM rollout (I managed a college radio station at the time) and though it wasn't perfect, I do feel it was a major step. It allowed many small broadcasters to enter the market that would not otherwise have had an opportunity.

I don't have anything against whitespace spectrum (though I do feel it becomes a shoving match of who has the biggest tower), but there are certain applications that demand a monopolized spectrum, such as cell phones. If providers were not able to provide national, dedicated networks, the cell phone industry as we know it could not exist. This is not to say that cell phones wouldn't exist (perhaps just a patchwork of regional providers), but the level of seamless service that consumers have come to demand would not. Even a patchwork of regional carriers would require regionalized monopolies. Why would you go to the trouble and cost of building a tower if someone can just build another, larger one next to it?


Insurance for one. The original idea for insurance was that it was a not for profit enterprise that gets better the more people that are participating. We've bastardized that with private insurance, but in theory, an insurance monopoly is a good thing since it creates the best allocation of resources.


When you are the first to produce something, you have a monopoly over the production until someone else can copy you.


Utilities, roads, wireless spectrum, really anything that requires everyone to agree on a standard set of rules for it to work. Can you imagine if roads were built like web browsers? It's one thing to have a website not work in your web browser, but when someone's safety is at stake, I'm a big fan of standardization.

Of course -- and I've said this before -- anything important enough to be a monopoly is important enough to be heavily regulated in order to operate in the public interest (as utilities, roads and spectrum are).


Major League Baseball and the NFL are government sanctioned and enforced monopolies because breaking up the talent into competing leagues would be be ad for the sport.


Over the years, MLB has been exempted from antitrust enforcement.

The government does nothing to enforce monopolies in the sports world (remember the XFL? It failed because not enough people watched. Also, there are pro/semipro baseball teams not affiliated with MLB. A somewhat local to me example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traverse_City_Beach_Bums).


I was misinformed, apparently. Thanks for clearing that up.


The state has a monopoly on violence that can only be wielded in certain circumstances and certain rules. Most people think that is a good idea.


armies


it depends on point of view


Google search.


Google search may be good but do you really mean it is a good thing they have a monopoly? (which was I think the question)


Haha yeah! Fuck 'thinking,' I want a cat on the internet to tell me to yell at senators! Absolutely nothing about this feels like mob rule!


You're not terribly familiar with the concepts of democracy, right?


I just cant take such initiatives seriously if they have Facebook-Buttons...


How else do you propose they get the word out without Facebook/Twitter etc. buttons?


I'm not against using these buttons, the harmful/annoying thing is that they're used to set tracking cookies. The most simple solution would be to put them on an extra page or only enable them when the user clicks some button. But I'm sure if smart people think about it they find much more solutions. Obviously the designers of this site didnt, and thats what I dont like- being against "bad monopolies" and giving FB more data? Seriously?


>You could just, you know, choose not be logged in with facebook. Im not.

I dont even have an account.

EDIT: It doesn't matter BTW if you're logged in. The cookie will still be set.

>And as for tracking cookies: every website has them to some extend. And every browser lets you pick the policy you prefer.

That's true, but I think it's just careless from the designers to leave out something like this on a website standing for a mission to get rid of "bad monopolies". It's obviously not a big thing, but still something which makes me scratch my head.

>But if you care some much.. Go help them out!

Yeah, I should do that since I'm bitching here.


You could just, you know, choose not be logged in with facebook. Im not.

And as for tracking cookies: every website has them to some extend. And every browser lets you pick the policy you prefer.

But if you care some much.. Go help them out!


>You could just, you know, choose not be logged in with facebook. Im not.

This utterly misses the point. This is not about being logged into Facebook or not. I don't have a Facebook account I could be logged into, and they still try to track me (if they could, and wouldn't be shitlisted by at least 4 different filters, that is).

Facebook has no business with me. They can - and should have to - stay the fuck out of my life. The same goes for the other billions of people who don't have a Facebook account and hopefully won't get one.

And even if you are logged into Facebook, that still gives them no right to track you. Privacy is an inalienable right that you cannot give away by signing up for a Facebook account.

>And as for tracking cookies: every website has them to some extend.

That's not an argument, that's a lame excuse. Everyone needs to stop this shit. There's no justification for it. And no, targeted ads are not a justification. If your business model depends on infringing on the privacy of people, then your business modell is highly unethical and should be illegal.


use a browser that blocks third party cookies by default. safari does, opera does and google has an option buried somewhere 9 clicks away in the settings.


I think the poster has a legitimate point. As an end user you can protect yourself, but as an organization that cares about Internet freedom it's a legitimate concern to consider: "Are we enabling tracking through the use of our advocacy, and if so can we avoid that."

Although, I wouldn't go so far as to say that I can't take them seriously because they decided to use the buttons.


And this is why movements fail, because everyone wants to add their own agenda.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that privacy is not a worthwhile concern, but this movement seems to be about protecting the Internet from government abuse, not about privacy practices of private companies. Sure, it could be about both, but that would dilute the message and create a handicap, especially if it means having to avoid some of the primary methods of communication online.


I think this organization has bigger issues than facebook buttons on its website


Not really. If Facebook already established a cookie in your browser they will still receive it in all browsers but FF.


one thing at a time. the purpose of this is to have a more effective, durable 'internet lobby'. not to make everyone get rid of fb buttons.


That's ok, I find it difficult to take anyone seriously who seems to think fist-shaking at social networks is going to make them less important or go away.




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