Saturday, January 07, 2012

right to Cerf the net

Vint Cerf has taken public position against Internet access as a human right.
He claims that it is inappropriate to name a technology among fundametal principles, since technology evolves while principles should stand.
I partially agree on this and in fact I would not mention the word "Internet" but a term referring to the medium, rather than to a specific technology.
Nevertheless "freedom of press" is mentioned in many laws worldwide, including the First Amendment, so I see nothing wrong with "freedom of network", meaning the freedom to create, connect, use and share content with any network.
However Cerf seems to restrict human rights to very few things:
Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience.
He misses though that there are other rights that require not just prevention of wrong doing, but an active policy.

Human rights include right to work (Art. 23 of UDHR), right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care (Art. 25), right to education (Art. 26).
This does not mean that they should be provided for free: it means that no human could live without them. It is our goal as a society to ensure that these rights are attained for all mankind.
It makes sense to consider access to communication and information networks (not just the specific Internet of today) as a basic right, something that everybody should have.
Technology has created the abundance (not scarsity) that pertains to Commons. We should make the network a Common, shared among every person and collectively owned. Each network user in fact contributes to it in term of both infrastructure (the end device and local loop), content and services.
Cutting out a single person from the network is just an offense against humanity as cutting a piece of brain from someone's head.

Vint Cerf is one of the inventors of the Internet protocols and the leading promoter of the ISOC campaign: "Internet is for everyone", hence his opinions require respect.
However Sir Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the Web, has a contrary opinion that Internet access is indeed a human right.


The Polite Polar Bear said...

Parlando d'altro: sei d'accordo con quello che afferma Cory Doctorow nel video che si può vedere/ascoltare qui?

Anonymous said...

I know this is not the proper place but what's your opinion about this article?