[AfrICANN-discuss] Internet Access Is Not a Human Right
nigel at channelisles.net
Thu Jan 5 14:04:15 SAST 2012
Then I need to write a reasoned rebuttal, because Vint's wrong.
But in advance of a detailed essay, here's a few thoughts.
Perhaps Vint's not exactly, WRONG, but instead perhaps overinterpreting
the claim that
'Internet Access is a human right'.
If you look at when I first gained access to the proto-Internet, in
1978, Internet access was clearly neither a human right nor even existed
as far as the vast majority.
But if you look at the situation in some countries like the USA and the
UK today, in 2012, a LACK of Internet access clearly INFRINGES basic
human rights in many aspects.
My mother, who is 77, and beginning to suffer some of the trials of age,
cannot use the Internet.
According she is dispossessed in some real ways when dealing with the
She is discriminated and charged more for services by private companies
who do not take reasonable accomodations for the disabled in their
But she can ask me to file her tax return, or book her flights for her.
Now imagine communities who cannot for reasons of geography or education
get access the internet either with reasonable speed (dialup is unusable
today) or at all. We have a new poor, the information-poor.
Is water a human right?
That's a question is a burning issue in many parts of Africa. According
to Kofi Annan it is. See http://www.righttowater.info/
But in the strict interpretation of say the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, or the European Convention, the fundamental right is the
not a 'right to water'. First of all, is the right to life itself, and
then other rights such as the right to found a family, and right to
private and family life. Clean drinking water is a necessity predicate.
It seems to me that Internet access is analogous.
And it appears that the most relevant human right is the right to free
expression (Art. 19 of the Universal Declaration, Art 10. of the
There is no doubt in my mind that lack of functioning and efficient
internet access infringes that right.
(PS: Vika's right. It's never too late. I did it in 2008 at age 50!)
On 01/05/2012 11:29 AM, Vika Mpisane wrote:
> Thanks, AR! This is quite a persuasive argument by Vint Cerf, and I'm
> convinced he's right. He should consider becoming a human rights lawyer as
> well...it's never too late.
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