November 17, 2010
Internet access as a human right
Five countries have now declared internet access as a fundamental human right. Four of these countries are in Europe (Estonia, Finland, France and Greece) and one is in Central America (Costa Rica). Interestingly, there is quite a range of internet penetration rates in these countries:
Costa Rica: 43%
It is likely that there will soon be other additions to this list. There is a strong push for universal internet access by major international organisations. The secretary-general of the ITU, for example, stated that governments should "regard the internet as basic infrastructure - just like roads, waste, and water." A recent BBC World Service poll found that 79% of people, in a poll of 27,000 people conducted across 26 countries, consider internet access to be a fundamental right. However, our representatives clearly remain more sceptical about codifying human rights. This extends to more than just internet access. For instance, last July the United Nations even passed a resolution recognizing that access to clean water was a human right: 122 countries voted in favor, while 41 abstained (including the U.S.) .
It will therefore be interesting to see how this map changes over the next few years. Please provide feedback on any changes that should be made to this list.