The human right to free Internet access

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In 2016, the United Nation’s General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution regarding ‘The Promotion, Protection and Enjoyment of Human Rights on the Internet’. At the heart of this resolution is the UN’s concern that ‘rights that people have offline must also be protected online.’ While the UN thus recognises the importance of the Internet, it does so problematically selectively by focusing on protecting existing offline rights online. I argue instead that Internet access is itself a moral human right that requires that everyone has unmonitored and uncensored access to this global medium, which should be publicly provided free of charge for those unable to afford it. Rather than being a mere luxury, Internet access should be considered a universal entitlement because it is necessary for people to be able to lead minimally decent lives. Accepting this claim transforms our conception of the Internet from a technology to that of a basic right.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-331
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Philosophy
Issue number2
Early online date11 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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