Right now there is a conference going on in Denver where some participants are tossing around phrases describing access to the Internet as a “human rights issue”.
Really? Please. Get real.
Human rights has to do with access to food, water, and shelter. Human rights is about being able to leverage your capital to earn a living, to feed your children, to actualize your dreams.
Is the Internet essential to life, liberty, and security of person? Is the Internet necessary for the avoidance of slavery? Is the lack of Internet access the same as torture or cruel, inhuman punishment? Does the lack of Internet access equate to a violation of equal protection?
Can having Internet access help us acquire and use capital? Yes, it can. Depending on your occupation you could argue that Internet access is part of your production function, part of the mix of capital that helps you build and create. Access to the Internet can be a tool for the entrepreneur developing innovative services or technology for delivering those services..
A human right, however? That’s a stretch, unless you believe that just because something is online you have some right to that content and believe access to it should be free. Maybe that’s the human rights my progressive friends on the left are referring to. If so, then they miss the whole point as to what human rights is all about.