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Internet Defense League to save the web from evil governments

Holy global web censorship takedown, Batman!

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Not for profit rights group Fight for the Future will on Thursday launch the Internet Defense League, a new initiative designed to help internet stakeholders fight back whenever their rights are threatened by the man.

The League will launch tonight in San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, London and, bizarrely, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, by shining its trademark cat logo into the sky.

Fight for the Future’s hope is that the League will spring Batman-like into action whenever internet rights are threatened, as the following blurb on its web site explains:

The Internet Defense League takes the tactic that killed SOPA & PIPA and turns it into a permanent force for defending the internet, and making it better. Think of it like the internet's Emergency Broadcast System, or its bat signal!

When the internet's in danger and we need millions of people to act, the League will ask its members to broadcast an action. (Say, a prominent message asking everyone to call their elected leaders). With the combined reach of our websites and social networks, we can be massively more effective than any one organisation.

The success or failure of such a plan, of course, will depend on the reach of its members, but the group seems to have done pretty well to get the likes of Mozilla, WordPress, Reddit, the Cheezburger Network and a host of online rights groups signed up already.

Given the propensity for governments over the past year or two, especially in Asia, to tighten their grip on web freedoms, it’s probably not going to be long before we see what the League can do, and how many of those signed up actually decide to participate actively.

However, as we have seen recently in China, Thailand, Pakistan and elsewhere, what governments tend to do is espouse a slow, insidious creeping towards greater censorship and control rather than one specific SOPA-like cause which the masses can rally against.

So far the group is concentrated almost exclusively in the West. It will have to engage a lot more with internet stakeholders in Asia if it's truly going to make a difference. ®

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