Saturday, 4 June 2011

Internet access a human right

A report prepared for the Human Rights Council of the UN General Assembly proposes that Internet access should be treated as a human right, and even illegal acts such as copyright infringements should not result in Internet access being cut off. Clearly, access to the Internet is an important component of free speech these days - although I am reminded that, as Stanley Fish told us, "There's no such thing as free speech: and it's a good thing, too". We see that every day, it seems, in the English courts as the judges try to balance the right of privacy with the freedom of the press, as Parliament told them to do when it passed the Human Rights Act. There's another balance to be struck between the right of a scofflaw to free speech and the rights of the copyright owner with whose material they make free.

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