OpinionInternet access should indeed be a basic human right.
      – Lee J Haywood, 2010-01-04 at 23:17:22   (50 comments)

On 2010-01-04 at 23:18:05, Lee J Haywood wrote...
In some countries, Internet access has already been made a human right - rightly or wrongly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_access#Internet_access_as_right
On 2010-01-05 at 00:11:17, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I know a few people who don't have Internet access, but the majority do have it. Most information is now only available online. For example, if you want to know cinema times it makes more sense to look it up than have everyone speak with a human being on the telephone. At the same time, it's a service that you pay for - directly or indirectly - and so if you want it you pay for it. If you feel you can live without it, or have no interest in it, then why does the government need to be involved? Then again, if you live in a remote location can you argue that you'd struggle to access essential services without it?
On 2010-01-05 at 04:32:42, BorgClown wrote...
I understand it as the right to information, as books and education. I'm sure you can learn more from certain sites than most schools, given the proper dedication. No one should be deprived of that opportunity.
On 2010-01-05 at 23:52:11, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Perhaps the argument is that no-one should be actively denied access, rather than access itself being granted as a right. In other words, barriers are removed but you still have to pay for it? I'm not sure what the laws are intended to achieve, I admit.
On 2010-01-06 at 21:25:30, BorgClown wrote...
Water is an universal right and we pay for it, just like food, shelter and law.
On 2010-01-06 at 22:17:19, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Reading more on the subject, it seems that the idea is that there's no point having a freedom of expression (as a right) if no-one's able to listen. In other words, there's no point putting all our information on the Internet if some people are fundamentally prevented from reading it. Perhaps a more interesting question is whether or not the Internet is fundamentally different from previous forms of communication, so much so that it deserves special treatment?
On 2010-01-07 at 01:26:45, Melchior wrote...
As lee said, I wouldn't go so far as to say you should be provided with internet access, merely not legally prevented from obtaining it. Like any human right, you can't positively endow it upon someone, just stop other people from taking it away. @Lee J Haywood: But people are able to listen - even at the most basic level you can go out on the street, talk to people, whatever. For the countries which have made it a right, it seems a bit at odds with other communication technologies like phone and TV - the internet is a similarly commercial service from which your access can be removed for not paying bills, violating terms of use etc... I don't see how someone's right to access the internet can be upheld if no company wants to connect them.
On 2010-01-07 at 05:13:58, BorgClown wrote...
The Internet is to us like Gutenberg's mobile types were in its time.
On 2010-01-07 at 12:56:06, DigitalBoss wrote...
If "fundamentally prevented from reading it" is the main issue here, this is a case of censorship not human right. This type of censorship is usually initiated by a very strong government intending to maintain rule and limit the knowledge of its citizens. Elitists in strong communist governments believe that they know what is best for their citizens and if the citizen learns otherwise may revolt and demand more freedom and liberty. Kinda sounds like the current US government and its relationship with the liberal main-stream media. Oh, we can't tell them how much this will really cost, let's shift the numbers around to hide it, and then the media not covering it because they are "in the tank" for the administration.
On 2010-01-07 at 12:56:49, DigitalBoss wrote...
Bigger government = less liberty.
On 2010-01-07 at 17:03:42, Lee J Haywood wrote...
I suppose it's an interesting point that China could make Internet access a fundamental human right with one hand, and take away that liberty with the other via government censorship. @Melchior: Presumably if Internet access is a right then someone could force at least one company to connect them through the courts?
On 2010-01-08 at 04:03:45, BorgClown wrote...
Censorship and control sucks, specially on the Internet. If the current tendencies toward control continue, I fear the day when we tell little children stories about how the Internet was open and anonymous in our days. It's a good thing projects like Tor are preparing for a worst-case scenario.
On 2010-01-08 at 10:57:55, Lee J Haywood wrote...
If Tor is illegal then there's nowhere to hide. It's little different to the restrictions placed on air travel in the US, or overzealous enforcement of copyright law in the real world. From the law's point of view the Internet really is nothing special at all! It's special in that it's a wild frontier with few controls, but the law has always applied on the Internet even if it wasn't being enforced (or is impractical to enforce). Indeed, censorship and control are just as bad whether they're on the Internet or not - it makes little sense to say the Internet should be more free than other areas of life?
On 2010-01-08 at 21:38:44, DigitalBoss wrote...
I fear the day when we tell little children stories about how our country was open and free, and citizens had no worries of higher taxes and less liberty. Oh, that day is now.
On 2010-01-09 at 05:00:37, BorgClown wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: Information needs more freedom than physical objects. Almost all countries recognize freedom of speech and faith, yet all of them have strong regulations about what you can do physically (slapping an idiot, for example). The Internet is pure information, even if most of it is crap.
On 2010-01-09 at 05:01:45, BorgClown wrote...
@DigitalBoss: There has been no single country who can brag about that degree of liberty.
On 2010-01-09 at 10:51:40, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: The Internet isn't just about information, it's about what you do with it. Information can be copyrighted, and few forms of physical media are impervious to being copied as digital information. Crimes can be organised by e-mail. Illegal material such as child pornography can be shared online. There are valid reasons for the law to be involved in the use of the Internet, but as in the real world there's scope for overreach.
On 2010-01-09 at 16:43:44, DigitalBoss wrote...
The US used to be free, or much more free than now. We have steadily lost liberty since the days of the big progressives in the 1920s. The progressives are elitists who think that they know how "society" is supposed to work and that they know more more about how we should live our lives than we do. The really sad part is most of them have never run a business, or had to make a payroll, and have no idea what it takes to be successful. They live their whole life as employees of the state.
On 2010-01-10 at 23:14:14, BorgClown wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: I'll counterattack with a real-world example of information being more free than physical objects. The postal service.
On 2010-01-10 at 23:15:54, BorgClown wrote...
@DigitalBoss: A progressive from the 1920's must be some sort of old-fashioned conservative today.
On 2010-01-10 at 23:43:15, Lee J Haywood wrote...
It doesn't matter what method you use to commit a crime, it's still illegal. Using the post office or the Internet makes no difference - the law still applies.
On 2010-01-11 at 21:29:45, BorgClown wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: Postal correspondence is guaranteed more privacy than, say the telephone. And even the phone gets as much privacy as a private conversation. Why do you think the anthrax scares were mailed instead of personally delivered? (if they ever were, it was more hype than anything)
On 2010-01-15 at 11:39:28, Lee J Haywood wrote...
So if postal correspondence has more privacy, it has less 'freedom' in the sense that the sender has greater control of their privacy? Information on the Internet is has greater freedom because it's more prone to being intercepted? I still don't see what privacy and interception have to do with criminality. If anything it means that the police ought to be more effective with regard to the Internet, since it's easier to see what's being passed around. OTOH there's such a staggering amount of data that's it's impossible to monitor it all (much like the postal systems).
On 2010-01-15 at 15:05:45, DigitalBoss wrote...
This is the problem with you communists. You want the government to feed you; you want the government to educate you; you want the government to tell you how you can make your living, and how much money you can make, and you want the government to pay for all your health care. You want the government to have all this power over your life because you need such a warm and fuzzy feeling of security, but all of a sudden when the government has all the power it needs to give and take away everything you have, you start claiming all these rights that you are supposed to have.
On 2010-01-15 at 15:16:07, DigitalBoss wrote...
"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have". - Thomas Jefferson
On 2010-01-15 at 15:21:41, DigitalBoss wrote...
"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either". - Benjamin Franklin
On 2010-01-15 at 16:19:27, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@DigitalBoss: Why is it that the last 6 comments you've made here have nothing to do with the topic?
On 2010-01-15 at 18:03:23, DigitalBoss wrote...
This topic is about a powerful communist government, like China, censoring it's citizens access to the Internet, is it not? If it is not, then I don't see how you can force a commercial enterprise, in which most ISPs are, to consider their service a right. Maybe you are advocating that the government take over control of the Internet, oh my god that would indeed be a screw-up!
On 2010-01-15 at 18:05:10, DigitalBoss wrote...
You are a smart guy, why don't you explain to me what the topic is about, since I am such a dumbass.
On 2010-01-15 at 18:52:26, Lee J Haywood wrote...
The topic is about Internet access being a human right. It's not about human rights in general per se, and it's not about the US government. It's not about governments at all. It's about the Internet and the notion of human rights. How that right is 'enforced' is not at issue. Censorship is on-topic, your diatribe regarding the flaws in the US government is not.
On 2010-01-15 at 20:32:32, DigitalBoss wrote...
Ok, now we are getting somewhere. How else are you to have ANY human rights if they are not to be enforced? Now that the elitist, that thinks he knows more than everyone else, has blessed the censorship angle, let us discuss censorship and the Internet. Would you consider the communist Chinese government Internet censorship of it's citizens a result of the large central power it holds?
On 2010-01-15 at 20:36:38, DigitalBoss wrote...
I know that you see where I am going with this, and I know that it pisses you off to no end, AND I LOVE IT!
On 2010-01-16 at 10:29:41, Lee J Haywood wrote...
No, the size of the government is irrelevant. The Chinese government's decision to filter Internet content is based on their belief that it protects the government and hence the stability of the country. I agree with them, in the sense that I agree that owning a gun in a country where everyone else has guns makes a perverse sort of sense. Since they already have censorship, it would be scary for them to change the system today. Just because something has historically been the case doesn't make it right however. This is on topic. The tenuous link to the size of the US government is not. There are other topics for that.
On 2010-01-16 at 15:59:57, DigitalBoss wrote...
Ok, so you must think that Internet access should not be a basic human right. You agree with the Chinese censorship. I knew it, you are a communist. To hell with the rights of the Chinese people. The size of the government has everything to do with the situation in China. The larger a government gets, the more powerful it gets, the more it wants to stay in power, the more it limits it's people's freedoms. When the government gets that big it needs to be taken down, blood-letting and all. It is the only way the people will be able to regain their freedoms (rights). I am an individual. The smallest minority. My rights should supersede any government policy.
On 2010-01-16 at 16:14:19, DigitalBoss wrote...
After further thought... If you agree with the Chinese censorship of the Internet, you probably believe that the Chinese government knows best what is good for their citizens. They know more about what is good for the Chinese people than the Chinese people know. This is what I mean by elitist government. The government is full of people that think they know what is best for the people and they start to ignore the people's rights and freedoms, because they think they know better.
On 2010-01-16 at 16:14:49, DigitalBoss wrote...
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson This is what the Chinese people need to do, and maybe soon enough, the Americans. "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have." -- Thomas Jefferson
On 2010-01-17 at 04:06:27, BorgClown wrote...
I'd love to see your posture if USA's government really let capitalism go wild, and the communist government of China ate all your economy. A big, dictatorial and monolithic government would subjugate a capitalist jungle. You owe it a lot already.
On 2010-01-17 at 10:33:51, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: Wow, talk about misrepresenting what I wrote. I said I understand their reasoning but that it "doesn't make it right however". No country should be censoring information available to its citizens, but since the Chinese are already doing it I simply stated that it's difficult for them to stop. Have you read Jennifer Government, where in the future the US government is just another corporation stripped of any real powers? It's basically post-apocalyptic, a world with only limited rights and where capitalism has taken over. It's meant as a warning, that money shouldn't control every decision. Perhaps the most important role of the government is to provide policing of both its citizens and corporations (as well as generally defending them).
On 2010-01-18 at 01:42:02, BorgClown wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: Haven't read the Jennifer Government novel and don't think I'll do, already know too much about it.
On 2010-01-18 at 01:43:07, BorgClown wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: Oh no, you are big red a commie! I knew it!
On 2010-01-18 at 20:39:27, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: I'm not red. I'm not even particularly pink, as I don't get out in the sun enough.
On 2010-01-20 at 21:08:13, BorgClown wrote...
Also, the British sun must be very mild, if the famed foggy climate is true.
On 2010-01-20 at 23:12:36, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@BorgClown: Foggy? It's rarely foggy, except up on the moors in Sherlock Holmes' movies. It is very variable and unpredictable though, with rain half the time (although half of which period I cannot say).
On 2010-01-22 at 01:42:33, DigitalBoss wrote...
...but you are a communist, admit it. If you are proud of what you believe in, you should have no problem admitting it.
On 2010-01-22 at 19:51:50, Lee J Haywood wrote...
As I've said before, I don't agree with any political idealism. I'm proud to be able to be independent and think for myself about every issue on its own merits, not being a lackey for some dumb manifesto.
On 2010-03-08 at 21:55:59, Lee J Haywood wrote...
"We have entered the knowledge society and everyone must have access to participate." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8548190.stm
On 2010-03-18 at 02:41:54, Melchior wrote...
Gah, you said society! Now DB is gonna be all upset.
On 2010-03-21 at 07:22:00, BorgClown wrote...
Let's call it "happy group market"!
On 2010-03-21 at 19:01:19, Lee J Haywood wrote...
How about calling it a non-market market, where people are just nice to strangers without any money being involved?
On 2010-03-22 at 03:36:19, BorgClown wrote...
I'll go with free non-market market. Except if it involves food, then it has to be called feed nom-market.