Since the advent of the internet, there have been warnings about the digital divide and the amplification of the separation between those who have access to technology and those who don’t.
In recent years, there has been a soft trend toward internet access — more specifically, broadband access — being considered a human right. In fact, in recent years, several Scandinavian countries including Finland and Sweden have declared broadband access a basic human right. Last year the UN made it’s own declaration that broadband access was increasingly important for education, healthcare and participation in the democratic process.
Taking on the challenge of connectivity as a human right, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote a manifesto on the state of the internet and a plan for connecting five-billion more people online.
“The internet not only connects us to our friends, families and communities, but it is also the foundation of the global knowledge economy,” the manifesto points out. “But a knowledge economy is diﬀerent and encourages worldwide prosperity. It’s not zero sum. If you know something, that doesn’t stop me from knowing it too. In fact, the more things we all know, the better ideas, products and services we can all oﬀer and the better all of our lives will be.”
The full manifesto can be the full manifesto here. However, the “rough plan” for connecting more people includes three important components:
- Making the internet more affordable
- Making more efficient use of data, and
- Helping businesses drive access
Do you think internet access is a human right?