UN Report: Access to the Internet is a Human Right

While most people probably think of the Internet as a luxury or privilege, the UN has declared it a human right that should be protected by governments around the world.

“The unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only enables individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole,” reads a report titled “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression” by Special rapporteur Frank La Rue

“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.”

Though one might think Internet access is a problem only in third-world countries or in nations ruled by oppressive governments, a recent study conducted by The National Telecommunications and Information Association and the FCC found that 5 to 10 percent of Americans cannot access Internet speeds that would allow basic Web functions, like downloading images or participating in video chat.

Copyright holders in New Zealand and Australia also take issue with the UN report, claiming intellectual property rights are an actual UN-declared human right, unlike access to the Internet. The nations’ internet service providers are supposed to terminate internet service for repeat copyright offenders, a disciplinary action that the UN would presumably see as a human rights violation.

What do you think? Is Internet access a privilege or a right?

Digital Trends, ZDNET

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