Internet access and human rights

Should access to the internet be considered a human right? There are conflicting opinions on this matter and VuBlog provides a brief review of contributions which delve into the issue. To date the UN has been limited to defining the Internet as merely a tool for achieving human rights, some experts warn against the possible distortive effects of digitalisation, while giants like Facebook endeavour in practical terms to provide the Internet for all. 

The Internet as a human rights tool

A United Nations report from 2011, written by Frank La Rue (Special Reporter for the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression) defined access to the Internet as a tool for achieving human rights. This assessment is due mainly to the connection that exists between the Internet and the possibility of being informed and expressing one’s own opinions.

Facebook’s commitment

Since a while, Facebook has made the “Internet for all” its emblem, engaging in development initiatives which bring connections to as yet uncovered areas, especially in rural areas of the least developed countries. The projects Terragraph and ARIES are an example to which the portal Tech Crunch has dedicated an article. The first project aims to create a close network of wi-fi hotspots which take advantage of 60 GHz bandwidth, while the second relies on radio frequencies.

Light and shadow in the relationship between digitalisation and human rights 16

Digitalisation is not always helpful in promoting human rights, in some cases the Internet is actually a weapon of repression and violence. On this issue, the International Human Rights Watch Organisation hosts a contribution from Eileen Donahoe, director of the Global Affairs department. The article analyses in detail some aspects of the new technologies which, if managed incorrectly, can pose a real threat to individual rights.