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QOTD: Is Internet Access a Fundamental Right?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 12 comments

Is Internet access a luxury or a necessity?

In October of last year, Finland became the first country to make broadband a legal right. Come July, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection and the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications has guaranteed that by 2015, this will be upped to a 100-megabit connection.

Today a new survey shows that 80 percent of people believe that Internet access is a fundamental right. BBC News today reports that a survey of more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries shows that four out of five people believe that Internet should be a basic right. 

Today's question of the day is: do you think Internet access should be a fundamental right?

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  • -3 Hide
    cammmy , 9 March 2010 06:10
    Wow! 4 out of 5 people are idiots
  • 1 Hide
    Repelsteeltje , 9 March 2010 07:12
    I disagree. It effectively means that we owe everybody a broadband connection. I don't want to pay for that. If people can't afford it, they can always go to a public library, school or other social facility. What do people do on the net anyway... Porn, games, shopping and social blabbing.

    PS: I live in Finland.
  • 2 Hide
    BeakerUK , 9 March 2010 15:55
    I wouldn't say it's a basic right. Internet access is a luxury, though people seem to assume it's an automatic thing that they are entitled to a fast internet connection these days. If people can't afford a quick connection then as the other poster said, they can always use a public connection somewhere. Hell, a BT line isn't a right over here! If it was then they wouldn't be able to get away with the extortionate amount they do for pressing buttons in an office to activate or transfer a line (£125 for pressing a few buttons, and flipping an active line over to my name was what I got quoted when I asked!).

  • Display all 12 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    Dandalf , 9 March 2010 17:57
    I think an ATI HD 5970 is a fundamental right
  • 1 Hide
    Nick_C , 9 March 2010 19:12
    If you look at it as a right to have a connection if you can afford it (so that the state cannot remove it from you at the behest of big content) then it seems more reasonable.
  • 2 Hide
    malphas , 9 March 2010 20:57
    A right to Internet access clearly doesn't mean a right to have a free Internet connection to your home, unless you're deliberately misreading it that way so you can pout about it.

    Given the increasing importance of the Internet I'd be one of the 4 out of 5 that agrees it should be a fundamental right. email, for instance, is set to supercede regular mail as the defacto standard form of communication between businesses and between organisations, and between organisations and individuals. Lack of electronic signature standards is one of the last obstacles holding this back. For instance, I wouldn't be suprised if in the future you have to pay an additional fee if you want your bank/utilities company/goverment agency to contact you by mail rather than email, as happened with paying by cash or cheque rather than direct debit.

    Along with other essential services and processes (paying your bills and taxes, obtaining a driving license, recieving your salary invoices, accessing your workplace/school, etc.) migrating online, those that can't or don't use the Internet will become even more marginalised.
  • 0 Hide
    waxdart , 9 March 2010 21:42
    Home Internet is a private service which people work hard to be able to buy a computer and to pay for access. This is not a right. TV is not a right. Radio is not a right.

    However, you should be able to access your government and it’s information.
    So long or a site like it exists people without a computer/ internet should be able to walk into a library and gain access to that which they cannot afford.
    The access should be highly secure.
    There are many online only deals for the essentials such as Gas, Electric and Water.
    The best deals for banking are often only available online. You cannot tax the poor by deigning them access to these things. They’ll just stay very poor no matter how hard they try.

    And as for Education for the young and old this should never be held back at all, what so ever.

    Trusted secure access to the internet is a right and should be provided for to every member of the uk.
    I do not think I would do online banking at a library so until then, home internet is a highly protected privilege and no government can take it away without providing an alternative.
  • -1 Hide
    core i7 ownage , 9 March 2010 22:21
    The Internet isn't private place. Those think the Internet is fundamental right is an idiot. My friend which came to UK few months ago, he never knew how to use computer, not even Internet. They were unheard of.
  • 0 Hide
    may1 , 9 March 2010 23:07
    i think that the "right" is supposed to give everyone the infrastructre to use it - so people living in the middle of nowhere still have access from their homes.
  • -1 Hide
    tahoward , 10 March 2010 02:09
    I hope this does not become a standard else where. Watch communication technology stagnate. :)  Just like government provided health care.

    As for infrastructure; ask yourself this. Should there be government provided cell phones? This device can do just as many personal operations; banking, browsing, purchasing, etc... Does everyone get the Iphone, Droid or Blackberry?

    Where is the motivation for developers to even make technological advances if their work will be handed out willy nilly. Not all businesses/corporations are saints, but I'd personally have a free market that can help decide where advances are made.
  • 0 Hide
    anon6 , 10 March 2010 02:43
    I think the word "right" is a totally arbitrary concept that depends on the era, cultural region and the person speaking it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 11 March 2010 06:44
    I think it's more of a way of getting back to what the internet was design for -- Information Highway

    Government don't chargew you to go into a libary & look up information, it's just an extension of the government updating there hoild on the people, As in the Entertainment of the masses, 60 Years Ago People were getting TV's (Entertainment), 20 Years ago Mobile Phones (Comunication's), So now why not Interent, the governemnet are there to provide for the people so now they give you Free Internet, Video, Music, Art, culture, literature, Shopping & Comunication -- It's not just a Right, but a benifit

    I couldn't plan half the things i do without the internet, other than run up huge phone bills chasing after companys & talking to Automated Computer systems which never have the right option or Key to press

    So i say well done Goverment You actully done something Good for once -- -- Then i remember it isn't my Governemnt giving free internet - Pah --

    & 1 Mb line would suck anyway -