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Is Internet Access a Basic Human Right?

June 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

The UN thinks so and it also believes the UK’s Digital Economy Act should be illegal. I weigh up the pros and cons for TrustedReviews

 

Is Internet Access a Basic Human Right?

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 11 June 2011

Air, water, free speech, Angry Birds… there are many things over the years we have come to see as basic human rights. According to the United Nations this week we should all start getting used to another, perhaps more surprising one, Internet access.

“Given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states,” said the report from Frank La Rue, a special rapporteur to the United Nations. La Rue wrote the report “on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

He explained that “the Internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency in the conduct of the powerful, access to information, and for facilitating active citizen participation in building democratic societies.” He added that “the recent wave of demonstrations in countries across the Middle East and North African region has shown the key role that the Internet can play in mobilizing the population to call for justice, equality, accountability and better respect for human rights.”

Why write this report now? La Rue noted that the Internet has existed since the 1960s, but said its evolution was such that today there is “incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life”.

Is La Rue right? READ ON

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