Thursday, January 5, 2012

Internet Access Is Not a Human Right

Vinton G. Cerf, The New York Times, Jan. 4, 2012

From the OpEd: “Over the past few years, courts and parliaments in countries like France and Estonia have pronounced Internet access a human right. But that argument, however well meaning, misses a larger point: technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, 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. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. … engineers have not only a tremendous obligation to empower users, but also an obligation to ensure the safety of users online. That means, for example, protecting users from specific harms like viruses and worms that silently invade their computers. Technologists should work toward this end.” Read more