The Internet As A Basic Human Right

The Internet As A Basic Human Right

I have often thought about the Internet as one day being a basic human right. Of course there are more serious physiological needs and issues to be met around the globe but how challenging is this concept really? Here in the United States for example, basic education through the public school system is an opportunity given to all Americans regardless if it is efficient or not. With tax payers willing to pay for public school infrastructure, teachers, administrators, school buses, and a host of other tangible and intangible assets, how much of a stretch is it to think about the right to high-speed Internet access for our citizens? Could we even see an amendment sometime in the future granting all American residents the right to high-speed, net neutral, wireless Internet access? With the aid of inexpensive technology, nothing could do more to knock down the knowledge and information gap than universal Internet access. Understand that education itself is not immune to the disruptive nature of the internet. Though we are currently dealing with the controversial issues of net neutrality and Wi-Fi privacy concerns, how might this idea revolutionize education and the world we know?

This of course is a half-baked idea in need of some discussion.


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10 responses to “The Internet As A Basic Human Right”

  1. Franziska San Pedro says :

    Hi Dan,

    I will vote for you! Everybody has the right to get good education (and I don’t see public schools provide that… High speed internet for all!

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

  2. Julio C. Felix says :

    Today, we don’t even receive free healthcare as a “basic human right”, and we might never get it. Not even free food or water is a “basic human right” in the government’s eyes. How could you possibly think that someday there will be an amendment granting “free high-speed internet” to citizens? First, we will need an amendment that gives people, electricity, then computers, and so on, don’t you think? However, soon we will have “free high-speed internet”, but not because of an “amendment” – only because wifi technology will reach every corner of this world and tech companies will find a way to provide it for free (and only if you already own a computer).

    • Dan Fonseca says :

      Hey Julio,

      Thanks for stopping by. I do agree that it is a tricky task. This argument, like most of my posts, only serve as an intellectual expriment and a way to conceptualize a theoretical framework. The truth is, government is too slow to deliver this, if we are to see this we will see it from the companies and their technology itself, essentially overstepping the governing body. I do want to say that the UN just declared the internet as a basic human right a few days, now regardless of how you feel about the UN’s legitimacy, you can’t argue that this idea will soon see a few more adopters. I would be interested to see a cost comparison between universal healthcare and internet access.

      Like any great conversation, a different perspective is cherished. Thanks for giving that Julio. I’d love to hear more from you. Thanks!


      P.S. Here is an article on the UN’s statement >

      • Julio C. Felix says :


        Ok, so we may be getting into a vortex of ideas here – just to make sure – I do believe the internet should be a human right. but only if you can afford it. I guess what the UN wanted to establish when they declared “internet access as a human right” was that – a government shouldn’t prohibit/block/filter citizens from getting access to the world wide web. Now, we know this does happens all the time in many countries (Middle East, China, etc). By declaring the internet as a human right, the UN is pronouncing their conflict with any nation that does not allow their citizens to get access to the internet.

        Like many others that commented on the GOOD post – I feel the government, UN, etc. shouldn’t be involved in this “internet-for-all” dream TODAY, (there are more important human rights to be implemented properly before in the agenda) they should only intervene when a government or someone is prohibiting/blocking/filtering internet access to their citizens. I believe that is what they are doing. Remember this is politics – UN wants to make sure each and every human being on this planet has the same rights – if one country is lacking this initiative they will come after him.

        I believe Ms. Willis and you (Dan) went a bit farther with this ‘dream’ of free internet. However, maybe in the long long future we will need this. Good post.

        -J. Felix

        • Dan Fonseca says :

          Very cool Julio. Like I said, this is all just an interesting intellectual exercise looking to push a few boundaries and explore how they are received. Ultimately, a net neutral web will be important if we want the true democratization of information. Let me ask you this, with Internet service providers always based out of companies and states, how will we ever truly get an un-bias web? The provocations of Wikileaks showed us how the modern world would react to letting go of power and “embracing” transparency. Should we then have an international internet service provider? One with no party or nation affiliations? Could that even happen? Thanks again for weighing in.

  3. armandpolanski says :


    Nice Thoughts!

    I envision a future that anywhere in the world, we can open up our laptop, Iphone or any WIFI device and we can connect to our social media network. But if this happens, Can the Internet replace cellphones or text messaging since we can go online anytime we want to?

    Armand Polanski

    • Dan Fonseca says :

      It already is! Ever hear of Skype? Or owning a Google number? Buying a carrier-less android phone and simply using the internet as your “carrier?” It’s happening and it is freaking out companies like Verizon or AT-T. Thanks for weighing in Armand!

      • armandpolanski says :

        I actually haven’t heard of what you said in the former. An internet carrier?! that’s amazing. Why isn’t it here yet?

        Your welcome!

        Looking forward to see your next post soon.

        • Dan Fonseca says :

          Its here, it’s just not properly adopted and the infrastructure is not there. If proper WiFi was EVERYWHERE then we would not have to do anything besides Skype or Google Voice, even Apple wants in. With Microsoft purchasing Skype, Facebook will have a heads up too on the action. And yes, post in the works :) Thanks Armand

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