Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 4th Jun 2011 19:52 UTC
Internet & Networking Since it's weekend, let's start with some good news we can all be happy about. The United Nations has declared internet access a human right, and has called upon all nations to not instate any laws that have the power to cut people off the internet, with France and the UK being singled out because they passed three strikes laws.
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A human right... Really???
by kedwards on Sat 4th Jun 2011 22:52 UTC
kedwards
Member since:
2009-04-25

While I agree that governments shouldn't filter or block internet access in the name of national security, I disagree in declaring the internet a human right. The internet is a product or service, it is not a necessity of life.

Reply Score: 4

RE: A human right... Really???
by JAlexoid on Sat 4th Jun 2011 23:14 in reply to "A human right... Really???"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

is not a necessity of life.


So is hot water, clean water, electricity or medical care. Or, come to think of it, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and most other freedoms you come to enjoy.
Human right is not the same as free public service. Neither is it only a necessity of life.

Imagine you'd be barred from all and any libraries for sharing your book with 3 friends and allowed to buy books only 10 years in print(point here is out-of-date material). That would be basically what disconnecting you from the global knowledge banks(today aka internet) be 50 years ago. Knowledge is power.

Human kind advanced so fast only because education is a right and to a certain degree is maintained as a free public service in a lot of countries.

Reply Parent Score: 4

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

So is hot water, clean water, electricity or medical care.


Well, actually, access to clean water is pretty much a necessity to human life. Without clean water, we tend to get bacterial and/or parasitic infections and die. The same could be argued for medical care. Without at least basic medical care, quality and length of life would be greatly reduced.

When it comes to the Internet however, one could live a long and healthy life without ever using it or ever having access to it. So I really don't think your comparison is valid.

Reply Parent Score: 6

jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

"is not a necessity of life.


So is hot water, clean water, electricity or medical care. Or, come to think of it, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and most other freedoms you come to enjoy.
"

Freedom of religion and expression are products or services?

I'm not just picking. There is, in fact, a fundamental difference between things like internet access, water supply, electric supply, and medical care, and things like religion, expression, and so forth. The former are impossible without modern technology; the latter are possible in any day and age, if we merely respect others.

When organizations like the UN elevate nearly every modern convenience to the status of "human rights", they make a mockery of the term.

Imagine you'd be barred from all and any libraries for sharing your book with 3 friends and allowed to buy books only 10 years in print(point here is out-of-date material). That would be basically what disconnecting you from the global knowledge banks(today aka internet) be 50 years ago.


This reason this would be immoral is not because "access to books" is a human right (books are a modern convenience) but because "freedom of expression" is a human right.

Reply Parent Score: 3

marblesbot Member since:
2009-12-25

So everybody is in agreement that many people in this world don't have access to clean water, and are getting sick and dying because of it. Still, we're arguing about internet access instead of doing SOMETHING about the non-access to clean water.

Reply Parent Score: 1

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

The internet is a product or service, it is not a necessity of life.


Well... I think it's a bit more complicated than that. I would say that access to information is a basic human right. Access to information from multiple view points and multiple world sources. And of course, the best way to ensure universal access to information is via the Internet.

Is access to the Internet a basic human right? Probably not. But access to information should be. And the best way to ensure that access is via the Internet.

Reply Parent Score: 3

kedwards Member since:
2009-04-25

Well... I think it's a bit more complicated than that. I would say that access to information is a basic human right. Access to information from multiple view points and multiple world sources. And of course, the best way to ensure universal access to information is via the Internet.

Is access to the Internet a basic human right? Probably not. But access to information should be. And the best way to ensure that access is via the Internet.


I think you hit the nail on the head. I probably should have worded my post a little bit better. There is a huge difference between a right and a product or service.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: A human right... Really???
by brynet on Sun 5th Jun 2011 00:00 in reply to "A human right... Really???"
brynet Member since:
2010-03-02

It is necessary, in the 21st century, as a primary and efficient means of distributing accessing information.

The digital age equivalent of a public library and free speech, or something like that.. ask your kids.

Edited 2011-06-05 00:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

coreyography Member since:
2009-03-06

Maybe. I presume the UN's point of view is a free speech/access to information argument. I won't argue that the Internet is the most-used information conduit in the world today

On the other hand, "Free speech" at one time meant jumping up on the nearest tree stump and saying your peace. You were free to talk, or not. Others were free to listen, or not. But in general it was wholly based on the actions of the speaker and listeners; no one else, not a corporation, not a government, had to provide the "infrastructure" for them.

I suppose if the UN's position were refined to, "if I am willing and able to pay for Internet access at reasonable (yeah, there's still a weasel word) rates, I should have access to it, and should not be subject to arbitrary disconnection", I could support it. But "the public must bear the burden of getting everyone on the Internet" is something else entirely.

The point is probably moot, however. This will likely be roundly ignored by large monetary and governmental interests, as with the death penalty mentioned earlier. The US once upon a time had to break up AT&T's telephone monopoly, and it has been trying to reestablish itself under different names ever since.

Reply Parent Score: 1