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The Internet Defense League will let anyone with a web presence become a digital activist

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The Internet Defense League is setting up a system that will allow participants to deploy digital protest campaigns at the touch of a button.

Internet Defense League banner
Internet Defense League banner

Earlier this year a number of high-profile websites went dark as a form of digital protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act. SOPA was eventually scuttled, but it's not the only internet-related legislation on the horizon, and a group calling itself the Internet Defense League is putting into place a system that could rally thousands of sites for similar protests at a moment's notice. Reddit's Alexis Ohanian and Fight for the Future have partnered to create the initiative, which will send users code they can implement on their own websites to participate in future online protests. Signing up for the service now provides users with test code to ensure their site will work properly with future campaigns — new code will be sent out on a campaign-by-campaign basis — but the IDL is also working on a system that can lie dormant within a participant's site, and be automatically activated when a new campaign starts (within certain parameters set by the site owner). The code will also generate tracking information, allowing the IDL to note how many individuals are actually seeing the various protest campaigns. The system will work with almost any sort of internet presence, from websites and Tumblr blogs, to YouTube channels and Twitter pages.

While Ohanian describes the project as a "bat-signal for the internet," the banner logo for the project actually features a cat — a nod to Ethan Zuckerman's theories on digital activism. A number of sites have already signed up, according to Forbes, including Reddit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Mozilla, while the Los Angeles Times reports that Wikipedia is considering jumping on board as well. If you'd like to get involved yourself, you can sign up at IDL's site.