Internet access is something we take for granted, especially as U.S. citizens. Simply walking the streets of a metropolitan area can have your phone prompting you to connect handfulls of free internet hotspots. In the same light, coffee shops, cafes, fast food restaurants, and even large downtown sections of bigger cities offer basic, free internet access that is available anytime we may need it. There seems to be access to the online world no matter where we go.
The rate of internet users has sky-rocketed since the mid-1990′s. The Pew Internet & American Life Project claims that nearly 10 percent of adult U.S. citizens were using the internet in 1995. In August 2011, a mere 16 years later, that figure blows up to a whopping 78 percent of adult Americans. American teens, of course, being alot higher – reaching 95 percent around the same time frame.
Illustrating my point perfectly; Americans having such widely available internet access may make it hard to understand the United Nations’ declaration of internet access being a “human right”. In the US, there are no government restrictions on what we can view, produce, or access on the internet. Illegal activity, of course, still followed up with consequences. In reality only about one-third of the world is able to have such freedom online, leaving the other two-thirds without a voice. In places such as China, web usage is very limited as well as closely supervised and controlled. The new declaration seems to portray China as the main reason for this new wave of change. China tried to defend it’s approach to a controlled web universe, but in the end was ultimately forced to give in.
The declaration was set in place to allow more freedom of speech – using the internet as a medium. This means there would be more freedom for citizens of countries within the UN to express opinions and views what they pleased with more relaxed or completely relinquished restrictions. While it may not be as vital as food, water and shelter, the ability to freely express oneself will be a welcome change in many countries.
Ultimately, we recognize that it is unethical to cut people off from communication in the ‘real world’, so why should people be silenced in the online world as well…
Before I begin to type a lengthy novel over the matter, I am curious to see how other people feel about the matter.Do you feel that internet access should be free of restrictions for all? Or should the government be allowed to limit what we view and produce in interest of national internest?