Is Internet Access a Human Right?

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, an IEEE Fellow, contradicts a U.N. report saying it is

3 February 2012

In a January opinion piece in The New York Times, Vint Cerf, a Google vice president and IEEE Fellow, argued that Internet access is not a human right. He wrote in response to a report last year by the United Nations, stating that the Internet has become “an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress.” The report cited the use of social media during the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. But Cerf, often referred to as a “father of the Internet,” argued that “technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself.” He added that for something to be considered a human right, “it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience.”

Do you believe Internet access is a human right? Why or why not?

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