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UN declares internet access a human right

John Moe Jun 6, 2011

This is a more important story than anything Apple or Nintendo announces. Apple will have a new product, it will succeed or it won’t, lives will be pretty much the same either way. But in a report issued late Friday, the United Nations says:

Given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states.

The report goes on to say:

States should adopt effective and concrete policies and strategies — developed in consultation with individuals from all segments of society, including the private sector as well as relevant Government ministries — to make the Internet widely available, accessible and affordable to all.

This emerges as Syria cut off internet access in order to try to stop anti-government protests and not long after Mubarak tried to do the same in Egypt.

Obviously, the UN does not make laws in other countries but governments who cut off access will now be in violation of the UN. But the bit about how online access should be “widely available, accessible, and affordable to all” could arguably leave the United States in violation as well.

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