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Farid HUMBLOT

Community Manager,

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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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    Mar 10 2011: The internet, in itself, isn't free. It isn't a right to give away in the first place, as access to it is controlled by private companies. Services we subscribe to are usually provided by private companies. Facebook and Google, to name a couple, are private companies. They essentially have the right, as private companies, to terminate or deny access to certain things that are not in accordance to their mission as a company.

    Our rights in the first place are a result of centuries-long battles on how we essentially want to live, or rather, how we need to live, in order to function as a coherent unit in society. Do we need the internet for this? Not particularly. In the same way that we do not really need cars, TV, or helicopters to function in the most basic sense as a society. The fundamentals lie in respect, understanding, and collaboration. These are what constitutes our basic rights.

    The problem with the internet is that what defines "free speech" varies across different countries, and the internet surely reflects what already exists, or doesn't, in terms of how people communicate. What happens in situations like the Facebook-instigated uprising in Egypt, or even a Facebook ban in China, arises from very specific political action, and what happens online is only symptomatic of the particular situations each country - or city - faces as a whole.

    So the question really is - to what extent does the internet supplement our human rights?

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