Whacky Weekend: Is Internet Access a Human Right?

Leo Bicknell bicknell at ufp.org
Thu Jan 5 15:41:10 UTC 2012

In a message written on Thu, Jan 05, 2012 at 10:22:52AM -0500, Jay Ashworth wrote:
> Understand: I'm not saying that FiOS should be a human right.  But as a 
> society, America's recognized for decades that you gotta have a telephone,
> and subsidized local/lifeline service to that extent; that sort of subsidy
> applies to cellular phones now as well.

There's a pretty big gap between providing subsidized service because
it's good for people/society/the government/business/whatever and
a "human right".  The government subsidizes lots of things, roads,
electric service, planting of wheat that doesn't make any of them
human rights.

A few years back I read the Wikipedia page on Human Rights, and it
made me realize the topic is far deeper than I had initially thought.
There really are a lot of nuances to the topic.


Broadband, to me, is not a human right.  It is something that makes our
society more efficient, and improves the quality of life for virtually
every citizen, so I do think the government has a role and interest in
seeing widespread, if not universal broadband deployment.  Failure to
provide broadband to someone is not a human rights violation though,
and the idea that it is probably is offensive to those who have
experienced real human rights violations.

       Leo Bicknell - bicknell at ufp.org - CCIE 3440
        PGP keys at http://www.ufp.org/~bicknell/
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