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Four Out of Five See Internet Access As a Fundamental Right

Gordon Kelly


Four Out of Five See Internet Access As a Fundamental Right

It is important when working on a tech site to remember that sometimes (often?) the rest of the World isn't quite so enthusiastic about the latest technological breakthroughs. Thankfully though we all seem to agree on one thing...

A massive survey conducted by GlobeScan for the BBC has found four out of five people across the Globe believe Internet access to be a fundamental right. This startlingly progressive picture was built up from polling over 27,000 adults from 26 countries and backs up the actions of Finland and Estonia which have already declared it as such for their citizens.

"The right to communicate cannot be ignored," said Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to BBC News. "The internet is the most powerful potential source of enlightenment ever created... {governments must} regard the Internet as basic infrastructure - just like roads, waste and water. We have entered the knowledge society and everyone must have access to participate."

As the most wired country on the planet, South Korea unsurprisingly topped the poll with 96 per cent of those surveyed believing Internet access is a fundamental right while Mexico, Brazil and Turkey topped 90 per cent. In the UK 87 per cent of Internet users also agreed with even 70 per cent of non-users saying access should be available to all.

Biggest concerns were fraud, privacy, violence and explicit content (almost 80 per cent) with state censorship and the extent of corporate presence tallying less than 10 per cent. Worryingly in this picture the majority of respondents in Japan, South Korea and Germany didn't believe they could express their opinions freely online. Funnily enough Nigeria was one of the most relaxed countries about this, despite being infamous for online fraud.

All in all the poll does make for surprisingly positive reading, though I would argue the huge disadvantages faced by those who lack Internet access are an equally important motivator for all to have it.

How do you all feel? Has the Internet reached the same core value as roads, waste and water or are we all simply getting carried away?


via BBC News

Full Poll Results (Warning: Pdf link)

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