Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Life, Liberty, and Internet Access?!

"Four In Five Consider Web Access A Fundamental Right"
Epicenter, Wired, (March 8, 2010)

"Four in five adults believe access to the Internet is a fundamental right — with those feelings particularly strong in South Korea and China — and half believe it should never be regulated, according to a global survey.

"A poll of 27,000 adults in 26 countries for the BBC World Service showed 78 percent of internet users believed the Web gave them greater freedom, while nine in 10 said it was a good place to learn. Respondents in the United States were above the average in believing the internet was a source for greater freedom and they were also more confident than most in expressing their opinions online.

" 'Despite worries about privacy and fraud, people around the world see access to the Internet as their fundamental right,' said Doug Miller, the chairman of GlobeScan which conducted the survey. 'They think the Web is a force for good, and most don't want governments to regulate it.'..."

So much depends on what the folks had in mind, when they checked off 'fundamental right.' I think access to the Internet is about as important as electrical power and clean water (with a waste treatment to handle outflow). But I wouldn't say that I have a 'fundamental right' to a 60-cycle 120 volt power supply. (I live in America: that's how our power grid works.)

But then, I don't think I have a 'fundamental right' to some prescribed income, or a career I like, either. A right to pursue it: yes. Catch it: no. What can I say? In my own way I'm counter-cultural.

But, again, so much depends on what the folks thought 'fundamental right' meant.

It's an interesting article: And I'm relieved to learn that so many people are on the same page with me about censorship. Apparently.

I've gone into this before: I don't want to be 'protected' from ideas that someone else thinks might be bad for me.

And, a related item, from BBC:

"US eases Cuba, Iran, Sudan sanctions to allow freer web"
BBC (March 8, 2010)

"The US treasury department has eased sanctions on Iran, Cuba and Sudan to help further the use of web services and support opposition groups.

"US technology firms will now be allowed to export online services such as instant messaging and social networks.

"Companies had not offered such services for fear of violating sanctions.

"Opposition supporters in Iran used social networking sites and services to organise protests after the country's disputed presidential poll last year...."

I think this is a good idea: easing up on those sanctions. Not because I think that Cuba and all represent the last, best hope for The Cause. I'm just not too keen on trade sanctions: I'm not convinced that they do more good than harm. Besides, I rather like the way we do things here in America, by and large: and think that, with the occasional aberration like the Big Three automakers meltdown, the American economy is an 800-pound gorilla that will overwhelm the more radically impractical systems, given a level playing field.

Apathetic Lemming of the North isn't a political blog, but I'm "apathetic" only in the sense that I don't care about the 'right' things. (More about that: "Why 'Apathetic Lemming of the North?' " (September 9, 2007))

And when it comes to the open exchange of ideas: In my view, about the best thing that people who are serious about giving 'power to the people' can do is let people communicate with each other. (More about that: "DC Gun Ban, Online Censorship, Individual Rights, and Power to the People ," Another War-on-Terror Blog (June 27, 2008))

Vaguely-related posts:


Brigid said...

Might want to take a second look at this: "the Internet is about as important to electrical power"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


Oh, yeah. That I might. Thanks!

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