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Posted at 1:37 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Is Internet access a basic human right?

By T.J. Ortenzi
egypt riots
(Screengrab from Facebook protest page)

Egyptian authorities disabled the country's Internet access last week. While democracy, human rights, and poor governance have been demonstrators' main grievances, the government's decision (and ability) to keep the citizens off the Web seemed to embody the sum of Egyptians' complaints and discontent.

The restricted Internet access prompted The Post's Monica Hesse to ask, "Has society reached the point at which Internet access is a basic human right?"

(In Finland, Internet access is a human right).

Hesse acknowledged that the question might sound ludicrous on its face, but spoke to experts who concluded that yes, internet access is a human right:

As says Chris Csikszentmihalyi, the director of the Center for Future Civic Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: "The point is not that the Internet has become sacred. The point is that human rights have always been sacred.

So the question is? Is internet access a human right? If internet access is a human right, do you think access to social networks is also a right?

Use the hashtag, #InternetRights to tell us what you think on Twitter.

Over the weekend we asked what people thought. Here are a few of their responses:

God yes RT @washingtonpost: Has society reached the point at which Internet access is a basic human right? http://wapo.st/fYvg2Uless than a minute ago via ÜberTwitter

Hell yeah! @washingtonpost: Has society reached the point at which Internet access is a basic human right? http://wapo.st/fYvg2Uless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

RT @washingtonpost: #Egypt Do you think Internet access is a basic human right? http://wapo.st/fEF66G - no, it wasn't even around 30 yrsagoless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

No, but the ability to communicate is. RT @washingtonpost: #Egypt Do you think Internet access is a basic human right? http://wapo.st/fEF66Gless than a minute ago via ÜberTwitter

RT @buythissat: Should Internet Access be a human right? We've always said YES but now ever more so #egypt #jan25 Washingont post: http ...less than a minute ago via Seesmic for Android

"@washingtonpost: Has society reached the point at which Internet access is a basic human right? http://wapo.st/fYvg2U" HELL YES IT HAS!less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

it is in finland RT @washingtonpost: Has society reached the point at which Internet access is a basic human right? http://wapo.st/fYvg2Uless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

By T.J. Ortenzi  | January 31, 2011; 1:37 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Do nothing for two minutes and other digital tricks to tame an Internet addiction
Next: Egypt protests: Day seven (Live updates)

Comments

There’s nothing deterministic about these tools — Gutenberg’s press, or fax machines or Facebook. They can be used to promote human rights or to undermine human rights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apUtmzbx3vo

Posted by: AmnestyInternational | February 1, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

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