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RIGHT TO ACCESS THE INTERNET

The Internet is becoming the Town Square for the global village of tomorrow”.

~BILL GATES

 

The Internet is a global and seemingly omniscient library that can be accessed just by the click of a button. It is so gigantic, and powerful that for some people, it is has become a complete substitute for real life. It has created a platform for innovation. It has turned out to be the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.

The Internet (portmanteau of interconnected network) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

The Internet and the www are not the same. The Internet is explored using a browser and the act of browsing the Internet is commonly referred to as surfing. Users browse the websites and web pages by following hyperlinks that point to an address, more commonly referred to as a URL. A search engine is used to find information on the Internet.

It is very difficult to estimate the area that the Internet covers. Also, every second, millions of people remain connected to it. The right to access the Internet, also known as the freedom to connect and enjoy the human fundamental rights, i.e. the freedom to express and have an opinion. In abstract sense, a right connects justice and social correctness, synced with the rule of law and society.

The UN declared that it considers the access to the Internet to be a human right. Specifically, an addition was made to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Section 32 adds, “The promotion, protection,and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet” and another 15 recommendations that cover the rights of those who work in and rely on internet access. It also applies to women, girls, and those heavily impacted by the digital divide.

The Kerala High Court, in a monumental decision, held the ‘Right to Internet Access’ as a fundamental right. The Court declared that the right to have access to Internet becomes the part of right to education as well as right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Access to Internet is fundamental to achieving a specific vision for the future. It can improve the quality of education in many ways. It opens doorways to a wealth of information, knowledge, and educational resources; in turn increasing the opportunities for learning. Access to the Internet with sufficient bandwidth, is essential for the development of an informed society. Lack of broadband connectivity is preventing the widespread use of Internet in education and other areas of life in many countries. A legal and regulatory environment that fosters investment and innovation is critical to enable broadband access. It is not just a matter of connectivity. For the access to be meaningful, it must also be affordable for schools and individuals; the teachers and students must acquire digital literacy and other skills required to make the best use of it. Those teachers and students also need to find and use locally relevant content.

Internet is traditionally introduced as a privilege in current society. The world economy is going through a massive transitions right now. The knowledge economy is the future. It becomes a utopian idea. Internet has removed the limits for sharing information and knowledge. However, there is a need to ensure the safety and security over the Internet. The right to Internet access is still the most vulnerable debate in the information technology world. Its impact is different on people in different fields.