I was sitting around today doing some recreational reading on my iPhone when I stumbled upon an interesting article, well really a blog, from CNN that discussed the recent uprisings in various countries and the way that the various nations that were involved had leaders that limited or cut the countries internet access which led to the UN making an interesting ruling: the internet is now a basic human right. Now don't think that this post is going to be me bashing that decision because I support it. I believe that in our society now, in 2011, the internet is indeed a basic human right. When the internet was first released in the early 90's it was merely a novelty and a business tool that was afforded only by the highest class of people pulling the biggest paychecks. Over time that was reduced to households with dial up and broadband and jump a head a little further and the internet became a crucial tool for students and employees in various jobs alike. Now fast forward to 2011 and it has been upgraded to basic human right. If the internet is indeed a basic himan right, why is it not treated as such.
Here in America we have our basic human rights: electricity (that not everyone has), clean running water (that not everyone has), the internet (which not everyone has). In all honesty the water and electricity deal has a lot to do with not being able to afford bills due to the horrible job market but as long as the debt is reasonable then the companies will work with you in order to make sure you maintain that much. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) however do not work with people to make sure that they can afford their bill and in all honesty they don't act like they want to. Internet is pricey. I haven't looked at the prices in a while but I know good internet can run you at least $60-100 a month. That's a lot for a basic human right when you pile it on electricity, car insuarances, cell phones, and cable TV or home Phone if applicable. Most people can barely afford to pay what they do now, let
alone pile in an internet bill that high. Based on the way it looks though, I am a third world citizen in a first world country.
I have electricity and running water. No cable but I have an iPhone (that I am lucky we can afford) which can NEVER serve as a replacement computer unless the internet makes major changes, but it won't. As far as an internet connection on my laptop goes though, I am forced to either head down to the local library (and work around their business hours, give up good web access on sundays, and fight for a table near the only free laptop outlet) or scrounge around at the windows of my house, standing like an animal, trying to catch an unlocked signal. Naturally a mooched signal like that isn't going to be strong enough to view high quality videos on YouTube, upload videos anywhere, get decent speed downloads, etc. A lot of these are things that are needed for being a student (which I am, getting ready to start college) or a worker. Is that right, having to scrounge like a third world scavenger for a basic human right in the middle of America?
I'm sure I am not alone when I say this: if the UN is going to declare that the internet is a basic human right, then it is important for it to be treated as such. If you wake up and you don't have clean running water or working electricity you would have a fit and demand that someone do something. It's time the same gets done for our internet right. If it is a basic human right it is time that the United States government take the power to control it for themselves and out of the hands of the big companies like Comcast that run it now. It's time America does this for the people so that the citizens of this country have the appropriate access to the resources and services they are entitled to.
Time for me to post this from a scavengers hole,