[governance] NYT opinion by Vint Cerf: Internet Access is not a HR

Norbert Bollow nb at bollow.ch
Thu Jan 5 09:31:37 EST 2012

Matthias Kettemann <matthias.kettemann at uni-graz.at> wrote:
> I don't see the point Vint Cerf's is trying to make, when he writes
> that "technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself".

I think he has a valid and important point in that human rights
assertions should be phrased so that they are independent of any
particular technology, so that they continue to be valid as
technologies continue to evolve.

My proposal would be to assert the human right that today is
roughly equivalent to saying "Internet access is a human right"
somewhat like the following:

  It is a human right that a person's access to means of communication
  must not be hindered in any way beyond the charging of reasonable
  prices for communication related goods and services.

At the present time this implies that denying someone Internet
access is a human rights violation. Which it is, today. But when
the principle is phrased like I propose above, it in addition meets
the criteria that Vint Cerf asserts that human rights should satisfy.

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