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Farid HUMBLOT

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Should the internet be a fundamental right?

80 % people around the world believe that internet access is a fundamental right.
The revolution in Egypt shows that internet (in that case mostly Twitter) is the tool to enhance ideas. TED.com is another example of that.
But as the same time people around the world do not have access to this magnificent and even if they have, it is under surveillance.
In we look at the Egyptian revolution, you will that the impact and the spread of the idea of 'we can change our country' came from the internet. Twitter was not only a logistic tool but also a powerful spreading tool.
Mass media follow the revolution on Twitter.
So my question is 'should the internet be a fundamental right?'
And if it is how do we define it?

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    Feb 26 2011: There are no such things as Rights. If we understood this the world would be a better place.
    • Feb 28 2011: Thank for your comment. Do you really thing that our society could live without rights? Don't you think that without rights, people with less power will take their own rights?
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      Mar 4 2011: Hello Lee, Please help me to understand your answer above.
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        Mar 7 2011: Please don't misunderstand I am not some godless beast but I think it goes like this. If we rights then be definition it means that some one has to give us those rights. So if we have the right to a job, a good education, food, a roof over our head etc, and if two people are born at the same time, which one has the right and which is born with the responsibility to give it to the other. In truth there are no such thing as rights. We say we have the right to a job, so we go to the job centre and register, do we really then believe that the person who takes all that information will then take our file home and keep looking for a job for us in their spare time until they have found one for us? I believe that society will prosper when we have the understanding that in order to move forward we need to be accommodating and considerate to each others needs, that does not equate to rights that equate to cooperation without cooperation very little gets done. So do I believe that the internet is a fundamental right? Absolutely not. Do I believe that in cooperation with each other in order to make sure that we can all share in the technology of the internet will create a better society? Absolutely! The thing about rights is, If I have the right to eat, do you have the responsibility to supply me with food? I think the US Constitution is close, it says, 'One has the right to PURSUE happiness' it does not say 'One has the RIGHT to happiness'
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          Mar 7 2011: You are describing what is normally called positive rights, rights that require the action of others to fulfill them. And your explanation is a fine outline of the problem of positive rights.

          Often when people speak of rights, they are speaking of negative rights. My right to practice a religion, for instance, does not burden you with responsibility. It only requires that you don't interfere. The same is true for my right to express myself and choose my own course in life. These are the kind of rights outlined in the Bill of Rights.

          The original question about the internet is interesting because it can be read both ways. You can make a strong argument that I don't have the positive right to internet access in the sense that someone must provide it. But assuming I can secure bandwidth and equipment, should I have the right to free and unencumbered access to whatever information I want so long as I'm not imposing on other's rights? That's a slightly more difficult question.
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          Mar 7 2011: Mark, that is well argued.
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          Mar 8 2011: Mark, I think the same.
          Besides, I don't see internet as a fundamental right, but it is different when we talk about freedom of expression and access to information. However, nobody should has the rights to prevent you from accessing it - for me this would be crime since it is against your rights.

          Internet has been playing a role of the most important way to communicate and access information. Furthermore, it works as a powerful tool to generate opportunities. Through it you build social networks, you can learn about almost everything, you improve your possibilities of having success in your professional life - whether it is your goal - and even start building a family. Therefore I see that internet soon will become as important as the superior education is nowadays. There is a big difference of average salaries - it doesn't mean quality of life, but it can be strongly related to - of people who attend a superior course and people who don't because of the opportunities and preparation that the superior education offers. The same will be with internet: the "lack" of internet access will work as a limitation for people under this condition.
          I don't know yet how to provide internet access to everyone in the world, but I believe that it would be very important to make the world better and I looking for solutions.
        • Mar 10 2011: Thank you, Lee, I think, too, that there is no such thing as Rights. We don't even have the Right for food. We are simply lucky if we live in a surrounding where people are considerate of everyones needs (I like the way you put it), and where the material situation is such that food and other necessities can be provided.
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          Mar 10 2011: Lee. You are right AND wrong. We need cooperation. At this point in history I think we still need to talk about rights. Because there is not enough cooperation. And I am not willing to let go of the rights I have according to Swedish and international law in such a hostile world. My ancestors worked hard to get me these rights and in honor of them I will defend them.
          Democracy, civil rights and other rights are the slow and clumsy tools for cooperation we have. We can start using other tools as well, while keeping them because they are still doing their job.
          I would love Internet to be a shared property for all mankind. How it could happen I do not know. Let us just pool all our energy and thoughts together. Be realistic, plan for a miracle.
    • Mar 5 2011: I'm not sure I agree with you. Yes "Rights" are a fiction, it's an abstract idea, it's nothing real that you can touch.
      But when the idea is accepted and practiced by everyone it becomes real. It's like money, one could say that money have no real value, it's just a piece of paper (or now a days code mostly). But since I can use money in practice to buy things, it has a "real" value. (Since the store also values money)
      Rights is just an idea but it's a good idea! Without it we would still be little more than slaves to the nobles and the king. Theft is argued wrong on a basis that we all have a natural right to property. Without that right society wouldn't function. Actually I think that most, almost all, of our notions of "wrong" are somewhat based around the idea of rights. Even the idea that "wrong" is wrong can be connected to rights. "Do you want rights? then respect the rights of others"
      I can not see how thinking "there are no such things as rights" could make a better society.

      But maybe I just assumed that you meant the same thing that I would have meant if I said that there are no such things as rights. So please explain.

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