Free Wifi: A New Right?

internet rightsA few days ago we read an article in El País that made us think about how the access to the internet is essential to today’s society.


We can hardly imagine ourselves without that virtual place where one can go to get information, find entertainment, contact friends, look for a job, to publicize a business, buy and sell all kind of things, to listen to music, etc. Everything is on the internet via all kind of different devices that make the connection possible. Since it arrived, internet has changed our lives.


However, either due to geographical issues (like being in a place with no connection) or to the economical ones (like not being able to afford the service or the devices), those who cannot use internet are facing a real disadvantage compared to those who can. The digital divide is not only found between rich and poor countries, but also within countries such as Spain, which offers an extensive access to the web. This situation of inequality has been increased by the economical crisis we are facing at the moment.


Considering the access to internet as a Right is not something new. In fact, some time ago, Vinton G. Cerf  took a stance against this consideration (“technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself“). In spite of that, countries such as Finland has been providing for this right for some years now. Moreover, beyond countries, municipalities like Jun (Granada) pioneered the development of information society in Spain. In the case we are examining now, the novelty lies in contemplating free and complete access to internet for all the population of the USA as a legal option. This way and regarding access, equality would be in fact real.


Sun Tzu said “opportunities multiply as they are seized”. What innovations may come into being thanks to a complete and free connection? How many new businesses may grow in this fruitful field? How internet and the social media may evolve in the future? The questions are many. For the moment, and as a possible answer, on the quoted article we read that in the USA the proposal is being supported by the most important technology companies and is being opposed by phone companies. In any case, none of these positions is unselfish. The big question is, will the general welfare prevail over economic interest? Maybe, as Cerf said, access to technology may not be a Human Right or not even a civil right, but at this point of History it is, indeed, a necessity.


Puedes leer la versión en español de este post en HolaBanana.


Un pensamiento en “Free Wifi: A New Right?

  1. Pingback: Wifi gratis: ¿un nuevo Derecho Fundamental? | hB!


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