The Internet as a Human Right

Aside from the cat videos, the Internet has become a haven for information sharing and interactive connectedness amongst humans. Many people use the internet every single day, a common habit shared by those who have internet access. Whether the use of the internet is for business or pleasure, it has become an extension of human life that will not soon suppress.

Compared to the many 1st world internet users, over 5 billion people do not have access to the internet. Whether this be due to lack of electricity, lack of money, or a restricting government, the number of non internet users greatly out weighs those connected. Seeing as how the Web is still fairly young, questions on the legality of internet access are very important to it’s development and sharing. Some believe that the internet is so important to the growth of humanity that it should be viewed as a Human Right. A human right is defined as a moral principle that is upheld through human behavior. It is shaped over time by cultures and eventually becomes part of typical human behavior. Today the government protects these norms legally through the Constitution and Bill of Rights. If the internet was to classified in this category, it would mean that any person, protected by law, will be inherently entitled to use the it simply because he or she is a living human being.

The Internet provides a whole new landscape for expression. Ideas, pictures, news, and basically anything can be shared instantly at the same time. With this being said, we must look at what services the internet provides. Many of the services coincide with Human Rights that already exist, meaning if the internet is restricted, many human rights also restricted. The internet itself is merely a new platform for communication. The right to education is a very important right that can be upheld through the internet. Information on virtually anything can be found after a few minutes of web browsing. It also serves as a platform for expression. To limit the use of social media would be to limit ones Freedom of Speech. Lastly, if the internet were made a human right and made accessible to everyone, we could finally reach the goal of connecting every living person. This trait could prove to be very beneficial to the development of our Earth.

In Plato’s The Republic, he touches upon the argument that at times, sharing ideas can be very dangerous to the human mind. He says that we should only share an idea if it is morally correct and wholly true. This idea suggests one of the disadvantages to the Internet as a Human Right trial. The internet is used as in any way the user wishes to use it. Much like a virtual body, internet access lets human become a presences. It is here that people decide to use the technology for either good or evil. Many cases of cyber bullying, anonymous threats, and other harmful acts are prime examples of internet access abuse. Here, we can see many people being stripped of their human right because of the lawlessness provided in different parts of the internet. The three rights I feel are under the most attack are that of equality, discrimination, and inhumane treatment. Often a username is used to protect the identity of a person using the internet, however this has been seen to have very negative effects on the use of racial slurs and verbal abuse.

In my opinion, the right to knowledge is the most important human right. With out it, humans could be corrupted into a narrow-minded way of thinking that is very dangerous to humanity. The ability to learn about any topic of interest is the sole reason for almost all innovations to this day. I believe that due to the vast amount of miscellaneous information available on the World Wide Web, it should be seen as a right to the world.   The ability to instantly inform oneself about any aspect of life is one of the greatest opportunities known to man. To strip a person of education is to strip a person of thoughts, which could be catastrophic to human development.