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

Paul Lehto lehto.paul at gmail.com
Thu Jan 12 12:25:07 EST 2012

On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 7:54 AM, Brice Abba <briceabba at hotmail.com> wrote:

>  Hi All,
> Since Internet can be considered as a tool i agree with Vint CERT...
> in the same way even if "safety and resistance to oppression" is a human
> right
> having a weapon (tool) is not one...

So then one may have a right of self-defense, but no right to use "tools"
of any kind (no right to use weapons, rocks, pepper spray, locked doors,

One may have a right of free speech, but no right to use "tools" in its
furtherance. (no right to use typewriters, internet, loudspeakers or radio
or tv access)

One may have a right to life but no right to use "tools" in furtherance of
life. (no right to use medicines, doctors, herbal remedies, or books
containing knowledge about life...)

The idea that one may sever the "tools" to utilize or enjoy a right from
the right itself completely destroys the right, in principle.

I have previously posted that whether or not a person has a right to
exercise a right by a particular "tool" depends on things OTHER THAN the
fact that something is a tool by which one exercises the right.  For just
one example, it depends on whether other meaningful avenues exist to
exercise the right.

Take "tools" away from human beings and you've reduced them to the status
of naked animals, perhaps with the addition of verbal language.  But
without tools to disseminate the verbal language, a human is in a form of
communication exile, akin to talking only to one's self or perhaps a tiny
number of people in one's physical presence.  After all, an auditorium with
a lectern or a loudspeaker or leaflets are all "tools" of communication.

Some would like to say that the "tools" one uses to exercise a right are
frozen in time and don't include "modern" tools.  This could limit
self-defense to hands only, and speech could be confined to the home and
perhaps the streetcorner.  Once again, whether a modern "tool" is
protectable as a means to exercise a right depends not on its status as a
"tool" or a "technology" but on how prevalent the tool is, how important
for the meaningful exercise of the right, and the availability of
alternative channels for exercise of the right that are at least
approximately equal in effectiveness.

Paul Lehto, J.D.
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