Internet access may not be as basic as human right as freedom of religion or a fair trial, but it’s getting closer. In fact, the United Nations appears to be pushing its members towards making that goal a reality.
Via The Verge, the United Nations Human Rights Council successfully passed a new non-binding resolution that condemns nations that intentionally attempt to block its citizens from connecting to the internet. Essentially, the resolution reiterates the UN’s position that freedom of expression on the internet should be a form of protected speech. It should be noted that the UN doesn’t actually have the authority to make that a law, but the resolution was supported by a majority of its members.
Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia were among the nations that opposed the resolution, as well as democratic republics like South Africa and India. This is an important issue because it’s becoming more and more commonplace for oppressive governments to shut down access to the internet as another measure of controlling its citizens. The digital rights organization Access Now has indicated that there have already been 20 instances of government imposed internet shutdowns in 2016, which is up from 15 reported shutdowns in 2015.
It may take several years for internet access to be recognized as a human right, if it ever happens at all. But if nothing else, the UN’s new bill will hopefully raise awareness of this issue.
What do you think about the UN’s attempts to protect internet access? Let us know in the comment section below!