Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Right to internet access?

Finland is looking to make fast internet access a legal requirement and is couching the law in terms of "rights". From Laura Vilkkonen, the legislative counselor for the Ministry of Transport and Communications,
We think it's something you cannot live without in modern society. Like banking services or water or electricity, you need Internet connection,... Universal service is every citizen's subjective right.
There are so many things wrong here.

What does she mean by a "subjective right"? Since when are banking and electricity rights? And how something that has barely existed in the course of history can philosophically be considered a right is preposterous.

Making high speed internet access a right mocks the concept of rights.

And it significantly impinges on the freedom or internet service providers in doing business.

Who is going to pay? If it is the consumer surely he should be free to choose a slower speed/ cheaper option, especially if the higher speed/ dearer option precludes any internet connection (though now a "right" the state will come to the party).

Coming soon to a government near you,
It is a view shared by the United Nations, which is making a big push to deem Internet access a human right.

In June, France's highest court declared such access a human right. But Finland goes a step further by legally mandating speed.
That France legislates such measures is suggestive that such rights do not exist. The fact that the United Nations supports it is confirmation they do not.

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