UN Declares Internet Access As Human Right

Internet access is a human right, and ensuring universal access to the Web “should be a priority for all states,” according to a new United Nations report.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the report — which comes on the heels of a communications blackoutin Syria last week — was written by Frank La Rue, a special rapporteur to the U.N. who was quick to acknowledge the importance of Internet access as demonstrated by the recent “Arab Spring” uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries. Though the Internet has been in existence since the 1960s, La Rue notes it is its “incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life” which makes an unprecedented force and thus worthy of

The report, which the Atlantic describes as reading “like a hat tip to WikiLeaks and its campaign for transparency,” was met with strong praise from groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT).

“As Rapporteur La Rue affirms, the Internet’s unique ability to provide ample space for individual free expression can lead to the strengthening of other human rights, including political, economic and social rights,” Cynthia Wong, Director of CDT’s Project on Global Internet Freedom, tells PC Magazine. “In order for these rights to be realized, governments, civil society and industry must all continue to build on the work begun by the Special Rapporteur.”