Monday, 13 February 2012

Broadband access is a human right. Then what?



 Burcu Baykurt and Minna Aslama Horowitz blog about the importance of a broadband access as a part of knowledge society.

German historian Gerhard Oestreich (1968) says one could see in every basic right the aims of the political and social ordering. As the global discourse on civil and human rights moves toward a more democratic direction, one can easily trace the evolution in communication rights starting with the emphasis on the freedom of expression in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) to the more inclusive forms of communication such as the right to have access to information or the right to communicate. With the normalization of the Internet in daily life, the rights-based approach to ICTs becomes more critical on a global as well as national level. Not only the recent protests in Tahrir or Wall Street that use multiple and advanced tools of technology to challenge the established power, but also growing public interest and concerns about our rights in the so-called cyberspace (privacy, copyright, freedom of expression to name a few) confirm Oestreich’s view about the relationship between rights and the political/social order.

We live in a world filled with abundance of information and messages and not only our rights are more mediated by technology, but also our online experience either complicates existing issues or raise new questions in relation to rights and citizenship. Therefore it should not come as a surprise that there is an ongoing discussion about whether the Internet is a human/civil right or not. According to a BBC Poll in 2010, almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the Internet is a fundamental right. Finland is reportedly the first country in the world to legalize broadband access as a human right in 2009. The government’s decision to guarantee every Finn a 1 Mb connection in July 2010 made news all around the world in online activist circles as well as mainstream media. Since then, the United Nations has joined the bandwagon in November 2011. Although the UK has not legalized the Internet access within a rights-framework yet, it highly advocates universal service principle in its broadband policy initiatives through the Digital Economy Act and projects like the Broadband Delivery UK as well as the eAccessibility.

On the one hand, putting the Internet access within a law/regulation context aims to emphasize the critical needs associated with this technology and puts greater pressure on governments and corporations to build the necessary infrastructure. On the other hand, there are some opposing views, sometimes from the least-expected sources – e.g., by one of the founding fathers of the Internet, Vinton G. Cerf, who argues against the focus on technology, i.e. means, rather than the end itself –civil rights in a democratic society. The essence of his argument not only points out the pitfalls of over-prioritizing technology, but also shows how complicated Internet access policies are. Getting connected to the Internet, or stepping into the cyberspace, neither solves the existing inequality issues in society – in defiance of both Finnish and British broadband policies that describe universal broadband access as a panacea for most economic and social problems- nor comes without its own intricacies.

Take Google’s blog services and Twitter – two online global mega platforms that have decided to engage in country-specific content censorship. As the CEO of Twitter notes -- and many concerned media-activists debate -- this is a complex issue. On one hand, this smells like restricting the freedom of expression in one of the most filter-less communication platforms there is. On the other hand, the country-by-country policy allows dissident voices to be tweeted beyond the borders of a country, even if their tweet would be censored in that country.

Another example: While writing this blog and simultaneously reading a techie activist list-serve, we encountered a case that could be discussed in connection to the UDHR Article 12 (“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence…”). A digital journalism student was searching for experts to interview on social network scraping. The topic was inspired by an incident that sounds like an urban legend (which it might be): The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had allegedly denied two young Brits entrance to the country at the LAX airport. The reason: DHS had discovered that these social-media-addicted tourists had tweeted they would “destroy America” (party in America, in the U.K. slang).

Yet, some might argue, was that an act of privacy interference, as Twitter is a public platform? Why should the DHS not engage in monitoring social media? More broadly, as the diplomatic and military leaks by the whistler-blower online collective and site Wikileaks has made us ponder, what is the right balance between national/global security and secrecy? What are our rights as citizens, on one hand, to privacy and, on the other hand, to information?

The last weeks have also witnessed global activism that created unholy alliances of Silicon Valley and grassroots actors. As documented in this blog, the Internet mega stars Google and Wikipedia went on strike, as did individual bloggers. The controversy populated Facebook statuses, YouTube videos, and tweets. People around the globe learned about SOPA and PIPA, legislation to counter online piracy and copyright infringements that were to be decided upon in the United Stated House and Senate. Similarly, in January 2012 the international Anti Counterfeit Trade Agreement evoked protests in Europe just as the EU officially joined Australia, Canada, Morocco, and the U.S. (among others) in combat against intellectual property rights violations.

This is surprisingly close to another old idea -- the Right to Communicate -- that was brought about by the Global South in the 1970s and 80s to counter Western cultural imperialism. The UN Universal Declaration (Article 24) does respond to the right of cultural identities -- and in the same article, it addresses intellectual ownership: the right to moral and material protection of scientific and artistic authorship. SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA aim at protection of intellectual property. But the opponents of those regulatory initiatives argue that such laws and agreements hinder the openness, collaborations and innovation in the networked, borderless, global environments.

As those examples demonstrate, broadband and Internet policymaking is quite complicated. Different layers of networks (physical, content, service) are controlled by various stakeholders, there are always contested values at play, and it is a very decentralized system that cannot be solely governed by policies or regulation. It is every stakeholder’s, including users, responsibility to reshape how access is defined, measured, and put into action. Network(s), or networking, is not only a technical term but also a process of collaboration that is much needed to achieve effective Internet access for everyone. However, before embarking on this project, it is highly crucial to make sure we speak the same language of access that corresponds to the same complicated, yet more fruitful, picture for each of us.

Physical infrastructure and high-speed connectivity are a must, however making these two available only will neither provide equal access for everyone, nor deliver the promises envisioned in the policies. If the goal is to empower citizens and communities in society, access should be rethought along the lines of its multidimensionality, which is derived from using networks, knowledge, and modes of communication in various areas of life for different purposes in line with the diversity of needs and uses of various groups and individuals. Ensuring effective Internet access available for everyone is not only a difficult, but also a daunting task. However it is what policies of the 21st century to strive for to handle the complexity of networks and utilize the potential of the Internet.

Burcu Baykurt 
New York University’s Media, Culture and Communication Department. Prior to NYU, she studied Political Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London where she conducted research on broadband policies of Finland and the UK.

Minna Aslama Horowitz 

Assistant Professor at St. John’s University, New York. Affiliated with the McGannon Communication Research Center, Fordham University, New York, and the University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research/Media and Communication Studies.

17 comments:

seo melbourne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
deny andoid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
deny andoid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
deny andoid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
deny andoid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linkon Khan said...

Broadband service is human right?? what is the talk. IS it true.

Sagheni Sagheni said...

vimax
vimax asli
vimax canada
pembesar penis
obat pembesar penis
obat perangsang wanita
obat sipilis
obat perangsang wanita

Sagheni Sagheni said...

vimax canada adalah obat herbal yang di khususkan untuk kaum lelaki , yang berfungsi sebagai obat pembesar penis permanen dan memperpanjang sesuai yang di inginkan , secara cepat dan akurat tanpa efek samping serta dengan hasil permanen , Vimax Canada Asli tersebut telah menjadi pilihan para konsumen international

vimax canada adalah produk suplement obat pembesar penis herbal yang sangat efektif dan berkhasiat untuk masalah laki-laki


COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT PRODUCTS vimax
Who should not drink obat vimax? Yes what age? Vimax is safe for consumption all men of age 17-74 years.
Does vimax asli side effects? No ... vimax made by the team physician experienced through research and clinical trials over the years. For more than 11 years in circulation, vimax reportedly did not cause any side effects.
Do vimax canada safe for people with diabetes, hypertension, hypotension, heart, kidneys? Very secure at all, because vimax made of herbal ingredients. besides it can also help reduce other diseases.
Does vimax obat pembesar penis create dependency? No, when we have reached the stage of maximum and we are satisfied with the results vimax, we can stop taking it.
Does vimax pembesar penis can make allergies? Not unless you are indeed allergic to the content that is in vimax.

herbal isme said...

Penyakit apakah yang menyebabkan vagina ngilu? | Obat sipilis untuk wanita
Obat kutil di kemaluan
Obat kutil pada alat kelamin
Obat Kondiloma Akuminata
Obat yang ampuh mengobati kencing nanah
Obat kencing nanah atau gonore yang manjur
Mengobati penis keluar nanah
Obat yang manjur untuk kencing keluar nanah
Cara cepat mengobati penis keluar nanah
Obat vagina terasa ngilu | obat gonore manjur
Mengobati sakit alat kelamin keluar nanah
obat untuk ujung penis keluar nanah
Nama obat penyakit kencing keluar nanah
Obat wasir herbal : Cara alami mengobati wasir
Apotik Herbal : Obat Keputihan Alami
obat wasir tanpa operasi
Obat wasir herbal manjur

obat herbal denature said...

OBAT AMBEYEN PADA WANITA
obat kutil kelamin yang paling manjur tanpa efek samping
Gejala-gejala sakit ambeien
obat kutil di kemaluan
Obat ampuh tumor usus
Obat herbal tradisional untuk penyakit kanker
Obat Alternatif Kanker Payudara
Obat tradisional untuk kutil di kemaluan | Obat Herbal Manjur
Gejala Kutil Kelamin dan Cara Mengobatinya
Pengobatan kutil kelamin di rumah tanpa perlu ke dokter | Obat Herbal
cara mudah dan cepat mengobati kutil di kemaluan
Obat kutil di kemaluan yang murah dan aman tanpa efek samping
Obat herbal alternatif untuk kanker
obat penyakit sipilis pada pria
BAGAIMANA MENGOBATI KUTIL KELAMIN SECARA EFEKTIF

obat herbal de nature indonesia said...


cara mengobati kutil di kemaluan pria
obat kutil kelamin yang manjur dan murah
obat kutil di batang penis
obat kutil di kepala penis yang manjur
obat jengger ayam tradisional
cara mengobati kutil kelamin
Obat kencing keluar nanah
obat kutil kelamin jengger ayam
obat kanker serviks dan kanker payudara
obat kutil kelamin manjur

peninggi badan said...

cream ajaib
cream kuda hitam

peninggi badan said...

cream pembesar penis
suplemen herbal
cream pembesar penis
obat pembesar penis
cream ajaib
cream kuda hitam

veno ananda said...

alat bantu sex
boneka full body silikon
alat bantu sex
alat bantu sex
alat bantu sex

OBAT HERBAL DE NATURE said...

Excellent blog you have here but I was curious abou t if you knew of any communi ty forums tha t cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get advice from other experienced individuaIs that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Appreciate it!

Chenzhen 20160303chenzhen said...

yeezy boost
burberry outlet canada
tiffany and co outlet
christian louboutin uk
instyler max
louis vuitton bags
asics gel kayano
michael kors outlet online
michael kors outlet online
oakley sunglasses
pandora jewelry outlet
michael kors outlet online
canada goose jackets
timberland boots outlet
ghd hair dryer
adidas shoes
hollister clothing
louis vuitton pas cher
oakley sunglasses outlet
nike huarache
adidas superstar white
hermes outlet
tiffany jewelry outlet
coach outlet online
abercrombie outlet
omega
black timberland boots
nike running shoes
armani exchange
michael kors outlet online
ray ban outlet
coach outlet online
kate spade uk
north face outlet
nike tn pas cher
nike huarache black
versace sunglasses
kobe bryant shoes
nike blazer
stan smith adidas
chenzhen2016618

Thomas pedro said...

It is critical that you discover a bank that can do a FHA Home Loan before you make a pledge to purchase a fabricated home. You can contact your land specialist and they ought to have the capacity to help you to discover a moneylender that they have utilized as a part of the past. Payday Loans