Whacky Weekend: Is Internet Access a Human Right?

Jon Schipp jonschipp at gmail.com
Thu Jan 5 17:34:32 UTC 2012

I think there's a fundamental difference between human and civil rights.

Human rights come from our humanity, i.e. us being human. As humans,
we can walk, talk, produce things, own property, etc.

Assuming that isn't true, the next logical question is where do you
draw the line?
Vehicles are beneficial to society, can they be a human right? If you
keep bringing these type of questions up and substitute any good in
place of vehicles, you can see how absurd it is. There's no

I think the idea that food, shelter etc. are human rights is absurd.
Doesn't that imply that someone must provide those things for me? What
if they don't want to? Does that mean they are forced to? Which would
be a violation of their human rights.

Civil rights are rights that are provided by societal institutions
e.g. governments

This makes the most sense to me anyway. I probably need to go read
some John Locke.


On Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM, Leo Bicknell <bicknell at ufp.org> wrote:
> In a message written on Thu, Jan 05, 2012 at 11:48:06AM -0500, Dave Israel wrote:
>> As an aside, your example is flawed, because judicial punishment does
>> involve a loss, or at least a curtailment, of what many people consider
>> to be basic rights.
> In a message written on Thu, Jan 05, 2012 at 11:52:11AM -0500, Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu wrote:
>> Convicted felons surrender a number of rights: freedom (jail terms), the
>> right to vote, etc.  And nobody seems to consider that concept a "violation"
>> (though it *is* of course up for debate exactly what rights it's OK to remove
>> from a felon, and for how long).
> You both make the same, very interesting point.  I want to point
> folks back to the Wikipedia page:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights
> Look at some the substantive rights:
>  - Right to life.
>  - Freeom from torture.
>  - Freedom from slavery.
>  - Right to a fair trial.
>  - Freedom of speach.
>  - Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
> For the most part we don't let judical punishment infringe on those
> rights.  (Yes, there are exceptions, and yes, it depends a lot on
> the location in question.  For instance the death peanlty infringes
> on the first substantive right.)
> However, for an ordinary criminal (Kevin Mitnick, in my example)
> we generally require the courts to uphold all of the substantive
> rights in most civilized societies.
> _Human_ rights is a very specific subset of a continium of rights.
> Note that the "right to vote" is not in the substantive list above,
> and is taken away by judical process in many societies.  Not all rights
> are human rights.
> Should you have a right to internet access, just like a right to vote?
> Perhaps.  Are either one the specific class of _human rights_, no.
> --
>       Leo Bicknell - bicknell at ufp.org - CCIE 3440
>        PGP keys at http://www.ufp.org/~bicknell/

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