Whacky Weekend: Is Internet Access a Human Right?

Daniel Staal DStaal at usa.net
Thu Jan 5 15:43:51 CST 2012


On Thu, January 5, 2012 11:37 am, Zaid Ali wrote:
>
> 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
> communication.

The Internet is quickly becoming more than just a medium for speech.  It
is access to services, education, markets, and tools of analysis, among
*many* others.  Many of the specifics are covered under other rights, so
the question is does the whole become more than the parts, and is *that* a
right?

I'm with the 'probably not quite yet, but soon' group.  I don't think it
will be long before it is impossible to participate in modern society in
any meaningful way without access to the Internet.

Vint does have one other point: the tool is not the whole of the thing. 
What we currently call 'the Internet' could be replaced by a different
network, if someone were to invent something that was a good enough
replacement.  But at this point, I think *that* network would be called
'the Internet' then, and we don't *have* a separate name for the tool from
what it does.  (With the possible exception of some terms in cyberpunk
novels...)

Daniel T. Staal

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