The right to Internet access, also known as the right to broadband or freedom to connect, is the view that all people must be able to access the Internet in order to exercise and enjoy their rights to freedom of expression and opinion and other fundamental human rights, that states have a responsibility to ensure that Internet access is broadly available, and that states may not unreasonably restrict an individual's access to the Internet.
In December 2003 the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was convened under the auspice of the United Nations. After lengthy negotiations between governments, businesses and civil society representatives the WSIS Declaration of Principles was adopted reaffirming the importance of the Information Society to maintaining and strengthening human rights: 
1. We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10–12 December 2003 for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, declare our common desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
3. We reaffirm the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration. We also reaffirm that democracy, sustainable development, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as good governance at all levels are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. We further resolve to strengthen the rule of law in international as in national affairs.
4. We reaffirm, as an essential foundation of the Information Society, and as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organization. It is central to the Information Society. Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits the Information Society offers.
A poll of 27,973 adults in 26 countries, including 14,306 Internet users, conducted for the BBC World Service between 30 November 2009 and 7 February 2010 found that almost four in five Internet users and non-users around the world felt that access to the Internet was a fundamental right. 50% strongly agreed, 29% somewhat agreed, 9% somewhat disagreed, 6% strongly disagreed, and 6% gave no opinion.
In May 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council "exploring key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet". The report made 88 recommendations on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of expression online, including several to secure access to the Internet for all. Other recommendations call on states to respect online anonymity, adopt privacy and data protection laws, and to decriminalize defamation. La Rue's recommendations explained that:
Media coverage of the report suggested that La Rue had declared Internet access itself a human right by emphasising that "the Internet has become a key means by which individuals can exercise their right to freedom and expression". In his report La Rue stressed that "There should be as little restriction as possible to the flow of information via the Internet, except in a few, very exceptional, and limited circumstances prescribed by international human rights law." La Rue also emphasised that "any restriction must be clearly provided by law, and proven to be necessary and the least intrusive means available for the purpose of protecting the rights of others".
In July and August 2012 the Internet Society conducted online interviews of more than 10,000 Internet users in 20 countries. In response to the statement "Access to the Internet should be considered a basic human right":
In Summer of 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a non-binding resolution condemning intentional disruption of internet access by governments.  The resolution reaffirmed that "the same rights people have offline must also be protected online". Recent practice of the UN treaty-based bodies indicates growing interest in ensuring access to the Internet. In addition, Internet-related recommendations formulated under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism are as numerous as those related to the right to food and the right to water – both of which are well-established human rights.
Several countries have adopted laws that require the state to work to ensure that Internet access is broadly available or preventing the state from unreasonably restricting an individual's access to information and the Internet:
The right to Internet access is closely linked to the right of freedom of speech which can be seen to encompass freedom of expression as well. Two key facets of the Internet are highlighted by Stephanie Borg Psaila - the Internet's content and the Internet's infrastructure. The infrastructure is necessary in order to deliver the service to the masses but requires extensive positive action. The content loaded onto the Internet however is seen as something that should be available to all, with few or no restrictions; limits on content have been viewed as the key breach of human rights, namely the right to freedom of speech.
The Internet's power is said to lie in its removal of a government’s control of information. Online on the Internet, any individuals can publish anything, which allows citizens to circumvent the government’s official information sources. This has threatened governing regimes and lead to many censoring or cutting Internet service in times of crisis.
China and Iran are currently the two world’s largest censorship users. Both nations use extensive firewall systems to block any information from the Internet which they perceive to be offensive or threatening to their regimes. If a citizen of these nations is caught dissenting from the nation using the Internet then they may face severe penalties, even the removal of civil liberties.
In contrast to this, censorship which has been initiated by the United States is focused more on the protection of intellectual property. While the right to proportion of one’s individual ideas is recognized, there is widespread fear that wide-ranging powers awarded in anti-piracy laws will lead to the abuse of freedom of expression and censorship.
The removal or censorship of Internet in turn could be seen as a breach of the human right of freedom of speech.
One such particular incident was in Egypt, where the government of Hosni Mubarak shut down the Internet a number of times during the 2011 uprising in an attempt to suppress the protests, which happened during the Arab Spring. Even though services were only cut off for a few days, this stifled Egyptians' ability to access basic services – such as ambulances – which has been blamed by some for escalating the death toll of protesters. In response to this, Google and Twitter developed a voice mail service for Egyptians to leave messages which in turn were posted onto Twitter.
In the report to the OSCE on Internet access as a fundamental human right, Professor Yaman Akdenian states that the right to freedom of expression must be universal including the technology which will enable it. Restrictions on this right and any mediums required to fulfill it should only be permitted if they comply with international norms and are balanced again the public interest. Furthermore, the author noted that new technologies which arise in aiding the freedom of expression will require new approaches. Thus rules governing the use of non-digital media cannot be assumed to apply to digital media too. Furthermore, it was also noted in the paper presented to the OSCE that extra measures should be taken to ensure vulnerable groups such as children have access to Internet and literacy programs.
The right to development is a third generation right recognized by the UN General Assembly. The Internet's role in securing this right has been noted by human rights scholars and activists in several ways. The increasing access to technology such as mobile phones has already proven to provide developing nations with further economic development opportunities. Increasing access to the Internet can, for example, improve low income individuals' access to financial services such as savings accounts and enable online trading.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, in his 2011 report to the UN Human Rights Council emphasised that "without Internet access, which facilitates economic development and the enjoyment of a range of human rights, marginalized groups and developing States remain trapped in a disadvantaged situation, thereby perpetuating inequality both within and between States". La Rue's report led to arguments that in order to secure Internet access as a human right and to facilitate every nation's economic development, governments should act to ensure universal access, just as governments should act to ensure access to utilities such as water and electricity. The advocacy group A Human Right estimates that 4.6 billion people worldwide currently do not have Internet access and that increasing access to the Internet by just 10% can add 1.28–2.5% to the GDP of developing countries.
Traditionally the right to freedom of assembly covered peaceful gatherings such as protests in physical public spaces such as town squares but as technology progresses we are seeing a revolution in the way people meet and interact. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has stated, "cyber space, after all, is the public square of the 21st century". Today we are seeing an increase in the relevance of internet and the right to freedom of assembly. Even signing an online petition has been known to cause arrests and the internet has become a useful tool in the organization of protest movements and demonstrations.
It is widely recognized that without the contribution of the Internet and social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook recent political events such as the Arab Spring could not have occurred, or at least not to the same extent. The role these mediums had were to allow the communication and mass dispatch of protests and other movements.
Internet access was also pivotal in the Occupy movement. A collective of journalists involved in the movement stated in regards to access to internet, "[a]ccess to open communications platforms is critical for the human species evolution and survival".
Implementing the right to Internet access can be accomplished by requiring that universal service providers provide a mandatory minimum connection capability to all desiring home users in the regions of a country they serve.
Much of the Spanish speaking world has celebrated Internet Day since 2005, including many initiatives of increasing network access. Panama has 214 "infoplazas" which are places of free Internet access. (from Hoy (from Ecuador) on May 17, 2011, called "Derechos Humanos y accesso de la red central celebracion del Dia de Internet".)
High-profile criticism of the notion that access to the Internet should be considered a human right comes from Vint Cerf who is often dubbed the "father of the Internet". Cerf claims that internet access cannot be a right in itself. Cerf sums up his argument when he states "Technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself." This has been seen as a narrow interpretation by some human rights commentators including Amnesty International.
Cerf concedes the Internet plays an important role in civil participation which leads him to conclude that Internet access should be a civil right, but he does not agree with it being afforded the higher status of a human right.
This article has sparked much debate online about the scope of human rights and whether Internet access should be afforded that status.
Many have pointed to weaknesses in Cerf's argument. Cerf notes that the positive act of providing Internet access would be too onerous on governments and in any case governments do not have a duty to provide all their citizens with access to other forms of communication such as telephones. Egyptian human rights activist Sherif Elsayed-Ali argues that the notion of rights have the ability to change as social contexts change. He claims that one must look at right in the context complete denial to the world population of that right would lead to a detriment in the quality of life. Elsayed-Ali claims without the Internet we would be taking a step back in our development with news and innovation in crucial sectors such as health and technology would take much longer to spread across the globe.
There has also been criticism of Cerf's framing of the Internet as something less important than the right to "freedom from torture or freedom of conscience", as it might be better compared to other basic human rights like those found in Article 25 of the UDHR, notably "the right to a standard of living … including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services". A Human Right, a non-profit organization, also took issue with Cerf's belief that placing technology in the pantheon of human rights is a mistake because "we will end up valuing the wrong things". They argue that "The potpourri of protocols, wires, and bits that make the Internet are no more special than the hammer and nails used to build a home, and to classify either as a human right would be a sincere mistake. But just as a home is much more than the sum of its parts, so is the Internet."
Brian Schepis, a colleague of Cerf at Google, defends Cerf's conclusion on the grounds that advocates for a human right to the Internet improperly define the qualifications of a human right. Schepis argues that human rights should only protect things that are instrumentally necessary for membership in a political community and, although the Internet is instrumentally valuable for membership, it should not be seen as a human right in and of itself because it is not necessary for membership. In claiming a human right to the Internet, advocates devalue the overall effectiveness of human rights as tools of justification in global political arena through a process called "human rights inflation".
Others have argued that it is ridiculous to consider internet access a human right, as that would mean that all human beings up until the invention of the internet were deprived of a basic human right, which would be an impossibility if it is a natural, inalienable right.
Others point to the fact that it is not the Internet itself which is the right but rather the access to the Internet which should be an enshrined right. The European Union's European Commission Vice President Viviance Reding stated that "The rules therefore provide that any measures taken regarding access to or use of, services and applications must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, including the right to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information and education as well as due process." (Emphasis added) The removal of this right through censorship or the denial of service could amount in a breach to several human rights which are fulfilled through online participation.
La Rue thus emphasizes "Each state should thus develop a concrete and effective policy to make the Internet widely available, accessible, and affordable to all segments of population."
In response to copyright infringement using peer-to-peer software, the creative industries, reliant on copyright, advocate what is known as a "graduated response" which sees consumers disconnected after a number of notification letters warning that they are infringing copyright. The content industry has sought to gain the co-operation of Internet service providers (ISPs), asking them to provide subscriber information for IP addresses identified by the content industry as engaged in copyright infringement. The proposal for Internet service providers to cut off Internet access to a subscriber who had received three warning letters of alleged copyright infringement was initially known as "three strikes", based on the baseball rule of "three strikes and you're out". The approach was later termed "graduated response". Media attention has focused on attempts to implement such an approach in France (see the HADOPI law) and the UK (see the Digital Economy Act 2010), though the approach, or variations of it, has been implemented in a number of other countries, or attempts are made to do so.
The Internet as a whole is seen as a medium which is outside of any one state's jurisdiction, while portions of the Internet are subject to laws and regulations of the countries in which they operate. Going forward, international dialogue has begun on how the Internet should be regulated.
Human rights activists are lobbying for any regulation on the Internet to be in the form of protections of rights rather than in limiting access to the Internet. Any attempt to regulate "harmful" or illegal activities online can face difficulties as states differ in their definitions of both..
The type and breadth of access which is ensured by an enshrined right can also widely vary, with governments which have pursued an enshrinement of a right to broadband often setting seemingly-adequate minimum targets of speed, number of home connections, type of provision, etc.
The term digital rights describes the human rights that allow individuals to access, use, create, and publish digital media or to access and use computers, other electronic devices, or communications networks. The term is particularly related to the protection and realization of existing rights, such as the right to privacy or freedom of expression, in the context of new digital technologies, especially the Internet. Right to Internet access is recognized as a right by the laws of several countries.Elaph
Elaph (Arabic: إيلاف, meaning "Solidarity" in Arabic) is the first daily Arabic independent online newspaper and is not associated with any established print or broadcast medium.Five Star Movement
The Five Star Movement (Italian: Movimento 5 Stelle [moviˈmento ˈtʃiŋkwe ˈstelle], M5S) is a political party in Italy. The M5S was founded on 4 October 2009 by Beppe Grillo, a comedian and blogger, and Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist. After Casaleggio's death in April 2016, Grillo appointed a directorate composed of five leading MPs (Alessandro Di Battista, Luigi Di Maio, Roberto Fico, Carla Ruocco and Carlo Sibilia), which lasted until the following October when he dissolved it and proclaimed himself the "political head" of the M5S. Grillo is also formally president of the association named the Five Star Movement; his nephew, Enrico Grillo, serves as vice president; and his accountant, Enrico Maria Nadasi, as secretary. Davide Casaleggio, Gianroberto's son, has an increasingly important albeit unofficial role.The M5S is variously considered populist, anti-establishment, environmentalist, anti-globalist and Eurosceptic. The party has also been described as New Right and described by some as being right-wing due to its anti-immigration stance despite its promotion of policies usually advocated by the Italian left-wing, such as citizen's income and green-inspired policies. Grillo himself once provocatively referred to the movement as "populist". Its members stress that the M5S is not a party but a "movement", and it may not be included in the traditional left–right paradigm. The "five stars" are a reference to five key issues for the party: public water, sustainable transport, sustainable development, right to Internet access, and environmentalism. The party also advocates e-democracy, direct democracy, the principle of "zero-cost politics", degrowth and nonviolence.In the 2013 general election, the M5S won the most votes of all parties (excluding votes from Italians abroad) for the Chamber of Deputies. However, its deputies only held 109 of 630 positions as M5S refused to join a coalition. Since the 2014 European Parliament election, the M5S has been part of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group in the European Parliament, along with the UK Independence Party and minor right-wing parties. In January 2017, M5S members voted in favor of Grillo's proposal to join the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group, but the party was eventually refused, and M5S continues to be part of the EFDD group.
In 2016, two party members, Virginia Raggi and Chiara Appendino, were elected mayors of Rome and Turin, respectively. On 21–22 September 2017, the Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies Luigi Di Maio was elected with 82% of votes in an online primary election as candidate to the premiership and "political head" of the movement, replacing Grillo as leader of the M5S, but not as the M5S's "guarantor". In January 2018, Grillo separated his own blog from the movement, which was used in the previous years as an M5S online newspaper and the main propaganda tool.In the 2018 general election, the M5S became the largest individual party in the Italian Parliament and entered government.Green conservatism
Green conservatism is a combination of conservatism with environmentalism. Environmental concern has been voiced by both conservative politicians and philosophers throughout the history of modern conservatism with Edmund Burke (the philosophical founder of modern conservatism) in his Reflections on the Revolution in France quoted as saying 'the earth, the kind and equal mother of all ought not to be monopolised to foster the pride and luxury of any men'.Internet Day
Internet Day is an event celebrated in Mexico, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Spain, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, and other parts of the world on October 29, promoted by the Association of Internet Users and by the Internet Society, respectively. It was celebrated for the first time on October 29, 2005. Shortly afterwards, at the Summit of the Information Society celebrated in Tunisia in November 2005, it was decided to propose to the UN the designation of October 29 as the World-wide Day of the Information Society, which resulted in Internet Day being celebrated on that day.Internet access
Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the Internet using computer terminals, computers, and other devices; and to access services such as email and the World Wide Web. Internet access is sold by Internet service providers (ISPs) delivering connectivity at a wide range of data transfer rates via various networking technologies. Many organizations, including a growing number of municipal entities, also provide cost-free wireless access.
Availability of Internet access was once limited, but has grown rapidly. In 1995, only 0.04 percent of the world's population had access, with well over half of those living in the United States, and consumer use was through dial-up. By the first decade of the 21st century, many consumers in developed nations used faster broadband technology, and by 2014, 41 percent of the world's population had access, broadband was almost ubiquitous worldwide, and global average connection speeds exceeded one megabit per second.Internet censorship
Internet censorship is the control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet enacted by regulators, or on their own initiative. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship for moral, religious, or business reasons, to conform to societal norms, due to intimidation, or out of fear of legal or other consequences.The extent of Internet censorship varies on a country-to-country basis. While most democratic countries have moderate Internet censorship, other countries go as far as to limit the access of information such as news and suppress discussion among citizens. Internet censorship also occurs in response to or in anticipation of events such as elections, protests, and riots. An example is the increased censorship due to the events of the Arab Spring. Other areas of censorship include copyrights, defamation, harassment, and obscene material.
Government agencies have various tools to implement restrictions but supporters of internet freedom are trying to overcome such barriers and filters. Access to restricted sites was effectively blocked by tracing and blocking DNS requests but companies like Cloudflare, Mozilla and Google are shifting DNS to TLS layer and making it difficult to intercept.
Support for and opposition to Internet censorship also varies. In a 2012 Internet Society survey 71% of respondents agreed that "censorship should exist in some form on the Internet". In the same survey 83% agreed that "access to the Internet should be considered a basic human right" and 86% agreed that "freedom of expression should be guaranteed on the Internet". Perception of internet censorship in the US is largely based on the First Amendment and the right for expansive free speech and access to content without regard to the consequences. According to GlobalWebIndex, over 400 million people use virtual private networks to circumvent censorship or for increased user privacy.Internet freedom
Internet freedom includes digital rights, freedom of information, the right to Internet access, freedom from internet censorship and net neutrality.NetFreedom Task Force
The NetFreedom Task Force (previously called the Global Internet Freedom Task Force, abbr. GIFT) is an initiative within the U.S. Department of State that acts as the State Department's policy-coordinating and outreach body for Internet freedom. The members address Internet freedom issues by drawing on the Department's multidisciplinary expertise in international communications policy, human rights, democratization, business advocacy, corporate social responsibility, and relevant countries and regions. It reports to the Secretary through Under Secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs and Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs. The task force coordinates the State Department’s work with other agencies, U.S. Internet companies, non-governmental organizations, academic researchers, and other stakeholders.Open access
Open access (OA) is a mechanism by which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other barriers, and, in its most precise meaning, with the addition of an open license applied to promote reuse.Academic articles (as historically seen in print-based academic journals) have been the main focus of the movement. Conventional (non-open access) journals cover publishing costs through access tolls such as subscriptions, site licenses or pay-per-view charges. Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters, and monographs.Right to keep and bear arms
The right to keep and bear arms (often referred to as the right to bear arms) is the people's right to possess weapons (arms) for their own defense. Only a few countries currently recognize any right to keep and bear arms and protect it on a statutory level, and even fewer protect the right on a constitutional level.Social media as a public utility
Social media as a public utility is a theory which argues that social networking sites (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Google Search and Twitter, etc.) are essential public services that should be regulated by the government, in a manner similar to the way electrical and phone utilities are typically government-regulated.
Substantive human rights
Please note: What is considered a human right is controversial and not all the topics listed are universally accepted as human rights
|Civil and political|
|War and conflict|