Whacky Weekend: Is Internet Access a Human Right?

Zaid Ali zaid at zaidali.com
Thu Jan 5 16:37:07 UTC 2012

On 1/5/12 8:07 AM, "Jay Ashworth" <jra at baylink.com> wrote:

>----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Zaid Ali" <zaid at zaidali.com>
>> On 1/5/12 7:22 AM, "Jay Ashworth" <jra at baylink.com> wrote:
>> >Vint Cerf says no: http://j.mp/wwL9Ip
>> >
>> >But I wonder to what degree that's dependent on how much our
>> >make Internet access the most practical/only practical way to interact
>> >with them.
>> >
>> >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
>> >and subsidized local/lifeline service to that extent; that sort of
>> >applies to cellular phones now as well.
>> I agree with Vint here. Basic human rights are access to food, clothing
>> and shelter. I think we are still struggling in the world with that.
>> your logic one would expect the radio and TV to be a basic human right
>> they are not, they are and will remain powerful medium which be enablers
>> of something else and the Internet would fit there.
>Well, I dunno... as I think was obvious from my other comments: TV and
>are *broadcast* media; telephones and the internet are not; they're
>communications media... and they're the communications media which have
>chosen by the organs of government we've constituted to run things for us.
>You hit the important word, though, in your reply: "*access to* food,
>and shelter"... not the things themselves.
>The question here is "is *access to* the Internet a human right,
>which the government ought to recognize and protect"?  I sort of think it
>myself... and I think that Vint is missing the point: *all* of the things
>we generally view as human rights are enablers to other things, and we
>generally dub them *as those things*, by synecdoche... at least in my

If I wrote a blog article that criticized the government and it was
shutdown along with my Internet access I wouldn't say that my right to the
Internet was violated. I would say that my right to free speech was
violated. Regardless of one way or two way communication it is


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