Should internet access be a human right?

It might seem absurd to suggest, but could the lack of equality in access to the internet effect future innovation? With two-thirds of the world’s population not having access to the internet their full potential may not be realised.

Whilst the majority of us take our access to the internet for granted, from being able to access it directly from our smart phones to getting the WiFi on the underground, many do not have the same luxury and could this in fact lead to them not being able to reach prosperity?

The issue has been highlighted recently after news of US president Barack Obama urging the FCC to provide equal internet access as a basic right to all Americans. Similarly the UN has been raising the same issue for over 3 years, so perhaps there is something in it after all.

A study commissioned by CIGI (Centre for International Governance Innovation) revealed that three quarters of web users in Britain believe that we should all have the basic human right for affordable internet access. But in providing something such as this, just who would the large issue of privacy control lie with? This in itself would entail a large review as there are bound to be issues surfacing when allowing every person across a country affordable access to the World Wide Web.

With over half of British internet users more concerned about internet privacy issues this year than they were last, security would be a large issue for users and could the affordability of such a proposition effect the time and money spent on working on the control of the internet?

Whilst this may be somewhat a “pie in the sky” idea for the time being, there is no doubt that the issue will arise time and time again with those that make the decisions. With an increasingly booming online economy there is little doubt that with access more freely available many people would be able to realise their potential in business, and in turn their taxes paid from revenue could help to increase funds for the governments to reinvest in the country.

It could also ensure that all children at school age have as much opportunity as their peers to access the information and knowledge that they require to complete their schooling to the best of their abilities.

Overall, is the suggestion of internet access being a human right so unbelievable? Many of us treat it almost like it is already and as such an official ruling would not necessarily make a difference for many of us, but could change the lives for some.


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