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|BBC Poll: Access To The Internet is a 'fundamental right'|
BBC Poll: Access To The Internet is a 'fundamental right' [news.bbc.co.uk]
|Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests. |
The survey - of more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries - found strong support for net access on both sides of the digital divide.
The right to communicate cannot be ignored," Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), told BBC News.
|"The right to communicate cannot be ignored," Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), told BBC News. |
"The internet is the most powerful potential source of enlightenment ever created."
He said that governments must "regard the internet as basic infrastructure - just like roads, waste and water".
Ah yes, but then we must all accept that it needs to be regulated and made to conform to certain standards, just like roads, waste and water.
|A majority of users in Japan, South Korea and Germany felt that they could not express their opinions safely online, although in Nigeria, India and Ghana there was much more confidence about speaking out. |
Now there's a surprise, eh? ;)
System: The following 4 messages were spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/foo/4093520.htm [webmasterworld.com] by brett_tabke - 4:18 pm on Mar 8, 2010 (cst -6)
I have never thought of it this way.
Nearly 80 percent of people worldwide consider access to the Internet to be a basic human right, rather than a privilege, according to a poll conducted by GlobeScan on behalf of the BBC World Service.
The survey – involving more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries – found that 87 percent of those who used the Internet felt that Internet access should be “the fundamental right of all people,” while more than 71 percent of non-Internet users felt that they should have the right to access the web.
“The right to communicate cannot be ignored,” Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), told BBC News. “The Internet is the most powerful potential source of enlightenment ever created.”
Might agree... as long as those who think it is a privilege can pay for their electricity and access. Not even the US Constitution guarantees a right to Internet, Gab, and Streaming Video. :)
If you have no Internet - in a few years you won't be able to participate in anything. You will be cut off from information, work, social life, education, communication, democratic processes.
So yes: Access to the internet is a basic human right.
I might agree that people have the right to access the Internet. But not that access must be provided to people at other people's expense.
If someone chooses to live in the middle of a swamp, the rest of the people should not be required to pay for that person's access to the Internet (in the forms of taxes or fees).
|If you have no Internet - in a few years you won't be able to participate in anything. You will be cut off from information, work, social life, education, communication, democratic processes. |
Jecasc you need to get out a bit more. Try going to the pub, I can get all of those things there. ;)
Is Internet access a fundamental human right? Depends on how you mean the question.
If you mean, "Is Internet access such a fundamental right that it must be granted to all," then I answer as follows:
There are extremely few real human rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are good for starters and possibly the only ones I'd really stand behind, because, when you get right down to it, those are about all that cannot be granted by any human entity - they can only be taken away.
I know "pursuit of happiness" might encompass Internet access in some people's minds, but note that the "pursuit" of happiness only guarantees a chase - not necessarily catching the object. ;) In fact, the pursuit of happiness appears to be predicated on life and liberty in the first place, meaning that those two rights (which do not include the Internet) are all that any person has a "right" to (or should need) while in pursuit of the third.
On the other hand, if you mean, "Is Internet access such a fundamental right that it must not be restricted," then I'd say to apply the same rules that you'd apply to freedom of the press - as in, the government doesn't owe me a newspaper, but if I can afford to buy one, they also don't need to go around telling me I can't read it.
I don't agree with this, not at all. It is a privilege.
Before you flame me for being an Internet Nazi, think forward a bit - once a thing is determined to be a "human right," the rest of us will wind up paying into the pot so that those who can't afford it can have the same "right."
This line of thinking (IMO) is part of "what's wrong with the world," too many things fall under the umbrella of "human rights" and now we're taxed to death carrying their weight.
How far do you think "having access to telephone communications is a right" would get? I don't pay my bill, I have no phone. End of story.
What comes next, "Internet Access Stamps" (re:food stamps) and all the ingenious ways the "users" will figure out to abuse that system? Bah.
The conspiracy theory crackpot rests . . .
The 'internet as utility' was agreed in principle at least a decade ago between the private sector players creating and providing the supporting infrastructure and the public sector leaders who allowed and encouraged such developments. So, in that respect, I'm not quite sure what the fuss is over this little poll.
Except for the accomplishment of a rather big plan for the creation of something that the public now thinks they should have as they do gas, water and electricity. Well, that was the plan all along!
The long-range strategists succeeded, and rather admirably, too.
But who gets gas, water, and electricity without paying? Your public utility companies have something to say about that... and they are not granting either "privilege" or "right".
|don't agree with this, not at all. It is a privilege. |
I agree but then is it not the case that this is about making it available to all but not necessarily for free?
I think it is now a utility in the same way as electricity or telecommunications.
"Human right" is putting it too strongly, but I think banning people from the internet (as in the proposed Uk Digital Economy Bill) is a breach of human right.
People should pay for it themselves, though - that said I do think we should aim for a society where everyone can afford it, just as everyone in a developed country (and most people in many developing countries) can afford a phone.
If you look at what people who advocate this are saying it is that it is now "basic infrastructure" like water and electricity that needs to be available. They are not saying it should be provided free to everyone.
|I don't agree with this, not at all. It is a privilege. |
I agree, and I'm not a conspiracy theory crackpot.
the idea of internet access as a fundamental human right dilutes the whole concept of human rights.
As for making it available to all at a price - it is available to everyone with a phone line and a computer. if you have to pay for rights, they're not really rights are they?
@rocknbil if you want a conspiracy theory: big media (who can sell ads direct) are pushing this in order to cut off income from a networks to small competitors.
In reality the whole concept of "human rights" is flawed.
My "rights" are someone else's responsibilities and vice versa.
There are no innate rights, they are granted to you by your society or market economy and the level of those "rights" depends largely on the wealth of that economy. e.g. if you live in a dessert then you don't have the right to water. It would be nice to have water, but if there isn't any you can't have the right to it.
The internet is no more a human right than a lending library or a television is. The very idea is risible!
|If you have no Internet - in a few years you won't be able to participate in anything. |
The same has been said about electricity, automobiles, television, telephones and even credit cards yet some people survive happily without them all. Think Amish.
The Internet is not a "right", nor is driving, nor is clean water or electricity if you can't pay your bill.
I'm sure there are starving people sipping e.coli infested mud water from a hole in the ground in some underdeveloped nation who's children are dying from malaria thinking "Wow, if we just had the internet all of our basic human rights would be met, we'd be saved!"
Let's ask people living in areas where the death squads drive around all day committing genocide if they'd prefer LIFE or THE INTERNET?
the Amish have telephones. Not in their houses - the main phone line is the barn... and they use cell phones :)
Let's ask people living in areas where the death squads drive around all day committing genocide if they'd prefer LIFE or THE INTERNET?
Considering LIFE wouldn't be going so great for them I'm sure they would prefer the escapism of THE INTERNET.
I think you folks are confusing things. It said, right to "Access" the Internet. That does not mean they will get it for free but means they can have it at a cost. I also think the people in the survey would expect an "unfiltered" Internet connection. Which is not available in some places on the globe.
One of my first jobs in high school (around 95, 96) was working for the Canadian government's 'Community Access Program', which set up Internet access points in community accessible places like public libraries and town halls. The intent of the program was to ensure access, however inconvenient, for every member of every rural Canadian county.
I taught countless people, young and old, who couldn't get Internet at home at the time, the basics of surfing and searching.
I think the spirit of that government initiative is what is reflected in this opinion poll - there is an entire information medium that, if access is left to the market, will drive the rich and the poor further apart. Whether or not you consider it a 'human right' is a bit of semantic play, but as was mentioned earlier in this thread, would barring someone from the internet be an infringement of their rights? What if entire swaths of population are cut off from it because of infrastructure issues? What if those people all happen to be poor?
Stacking internet access up beside whatever our conception of a 'right to access public utilities' encompasses may indeed be a step towards equality of educational opportunity.
I'm not sure about the choice of words "fundamental right". I would agree to change the words to "fundamental necessity". Maybe there is a better fit?
This seems to come back to regulation - government that is. My personal test for the application of regulations is when the "fundamental necessity" test applies or whether or not I can function normally in society without the product or service.
For example - hot topic is the regulation of banks. Some say let them run free - let the market decide. Sounds good, but I don't see how I can run my life without a bank. Try to cash a check, accept payment from a customer, and get a credit card? Banks are a necessity - therefore should be regulated so that the consumer and bank business are both treated fairly.
Let’s try another – Cell phones, there was a day when nobody had a cell phone – I’m old enough to remember. Believe it or not, we survived however most folks had a land line in their home and pay phones were never too far away. Eventually, cell phone will surplant land lines and will become a "fundamental necessity”, therefore these organizations need some regulation that is fair to both the phione companies and the consumer user.
Back to the subject at hand – can I live without the internet? Probably, however life would not be as convenient and since I have been living off my web business for over eight years now I would have a serious change of lifestyle if the internet shutdown. I think the internet is fast becoming a perceived as a "fundamental necessity".
What a silly misinterpretation of the poll question.
"Freedom" and "justice" are fundamental rights, along with more specific things like the right to own property and have a name. The UN agrees with all that.
Internet is a "nice to have" luxury. So what do they mean by fundamental right?
*Equality in accessing* the internet as a fundamental right - as in, the internet should not be only for fully-abled people; access should not be limited dependent on one's race, ethnicity, language, religion, orientation, mental capabilities, etc.
It doesn't mean everyone will be able to buy connectivity or have it wired out to their mountainside shack.
It was a lively conversation starter though
|So what do they mean by fundamental right? |
Most zealots that I've discussed this with view the internet as "freedom of speech" which is exactly what the BBC story said in "The right to communicate cannot be ignored,"
However, the right to use the internet does not equal the right to communicate, it's just another communication medium.
A costly communication medium.
People that can't afford the Internet can still communicate by yelling and screaming at each other out their windows the old fashioned way.
|In reality the whole concept of "human rights" is flawed. |
I disagree, some things such as a right to justice (e.g. a fair trial) are universal. I would say that if a society denies people the right to free speech, freedom of worship, etc. that society is simply plain wrong.
|I'm sure there are starving people sipping e.coli infested mud water from a hole in the ground in some underdeveloped nation who's children are dying from malaria thinking "Wow, if we just had the internet all of our basic human rights would be met, we'd be saved!" |
Poor people can benefit hugely from better information flow. A peasant farmer can check how much his crops sell for in the city which puts him in a better position to negotiate with middlemen, kids can have better access to educational material. It need not be delivered by computers and internet - books and mobile phones may be a better first step, but the more the better.
Certainly, starving people need food more urgently, but long term solutions to their problems need (among other things) essential infrastructure such as electricity, water and communications.
|"We have entered the knowledge society and everyone must have access to participate." |
We have entered nothing of the sort! People, and societies, have been acquiring knowledge from day one. Everyone "must" have access? Wrong again! There are those that "do", those that "don't" and those who "don't care". Those that DO will strive to reach new heights and gain new knowledge - no matter what medium is in use. Those that DON'T will sit back and complain until those that DO begin to trickle some down their way. Those that DON'T CARE will continue to live in cardboard boxes and live off the scraps.
My other thought to all of this: Someone seems to have made the assumption that the internet is a believable source of knowledge. As a group of webmasters, you all know how much junk exists on the www, and how easy it is to manipulate that junk until it seems to become fact. So what are we promoting the right to access? Mostly crapola.
Yes I'm serious. Consider that one of the largest online newspapers was hacked - a fact. Now am I to believe that every time I access information from that source it is to be trusted? Hell no! I would like it to be trusted, but the internet isn't the panacea of the information age.
The fundamental right to access the internet is no more or less than the fundamental right to read any book or newspaper or magazine of your choosing. You pay for it, have it delivered, and expand your own slant on whatever truth you believe. Please, don't pass off your "right to access" as my "must have access".
|...we should aim for a society where everyone can afford it, just as everyone in a developed country (and most people in many developing countries) can afford a phone. |
This. Repeated for emphasis.
but surely these rights are only allowed by the rest of society agreeing to them. They are not intrinsic, they do not exist on their own, they are man made. It would be wonderful if such rights were universally available but they obviously and demonstrably are not.
|some things such as a right to justice (e.g. a fair trial) are universal |
Socialism says it's a "right," capitalism says it's a "privilege." I'm voting for capitalism so I don't go bankrupt supporting socialists.
Saying access to the Internet is a "right" is just more socialist vomit coming out of the BBC.
@rbarker, as no one has been advocating ownership of the means of production by the state or the workers, this is not socialsm. Socialism refers to a particular political position: it does not mean "anyone who is more left wing than me personally".
Adam Smith was in favour of some state subsidy and regulation, was he a socialist by your standards?
|It would be wonderful if such rights were universally available but they obviously and demonstrably are not. |
They are not but they should be. In any society where they are not, you find many people risking their lives to try to make them available.
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