Nearly seven out of 10 Australians see access to the Internet as a basic human right, according to an online — and not particularly scientific — survey by Compare Broadband.
Internet access has faced trial by fire recently on the world stage, with the governments of Egypt and Libya shutting down the Net for short periods in the face of popular insurgencies. Protesters used social media to organise demonstrations and to spread the word — and images — of what was happening.
News from the Middle East surely prompted the poll by Compare Broadband, which offers advice to consumers on Internet service providers.
Out of 519 respondents, 69% saw Net access as sacrosanct, 29% disagreed and 2% weren’t sure.
“Whether it is by accessing news from sources all over the world or sharing information via blogs and social media, the internet has become an essential tool of communication — something many people now cannot imagine living without,” said Compare Broadband spokeswoman Sarah Routledge.
Clearly, the Internet plays an essential role in Australian life. Websites, email, social media, Skype — it’s tough to imagine living without them.
But a basic human right? Really?
Try comparing Net access to any of the articles in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Where would you plug it in? Somewhere between freedom from torture and the right to equal protection under law? Somewhere after protection against slavery?
What do you think? Is Internet access a human right, simply an essential part of our lives, or something in between?
Image by Webtreats