Last updated: July 24, 2012 - 8:47am
[Commentary] The Internet Defense League (IDL) had its formal coming-out parties the other night. To be sure, the individual members and supporters who would respond to the "Catsignal," like Public Knowledge, would be around anyway. And some members agree on some issues but disagree on others. But the idea of a Defense League creates a little bit of buzz, which is a good thing when the odds against it and its members are so daunting in the face of some impressive arch-enemies. What's a Defense League without those who would take over the world? The Justice League of America (JLA) is constantly on guard against such threats. The Internet Defense League should be as well. Unfortunately, the IDL's tasks aren't as clear cut as the JLA.
Defending the Internet is a complex endeavor depending on, say, whether it's U.S. citizens whose rights are at stake or those who live in other countries. The Defense League may have to play referee to decide the unfortunately critical question of which part of society is the IDL's chief nemesis? Who is the bigger threat as an Internet censor -- government or private industry? At the end of the day, the answer to the question of which part of society should censor the Internet is: neither government nor industry. We said it was a trick question. Both institutions can be equally dangerous to Internet users, but only one has the capacity to be a guarantor of rights if it so chooses. The IDL had better have some spare bulbs for the Catsignal. Looks like they will need plenty.
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