U.N. declares Internet a human right

“A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law,” David Kravets reports for Wired.

“The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet,” Kravets reports. “It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest.”

Kravets reports, “The report, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.”

Read more in the full article here.

51 Comments

      1. And I like the title: “U.N. declares Internet a human right”.

        It is as if “U.N. declares paper a human right“, meaning free press, or “U.N. declares electromagnetic waves a human right“, meaning radio and television.

        1. Completely vain words from the UN. We’ll declare “the internet” a human right but won’t stand in the way of any country (IE:Arab Islamic nations, China, etc) that seek to filter the every aspect of the internet in order to keep their populations in perpetual ignorance.

    1. So you think it’s GOOD when a country shuts off Internet access to stifle free speech? As much as I may scoff at the UN over lots of its failings, I can’t argue with this!

          1. You are right! But our coffers are bare to show for covering you maggots! So get off your worthless ass and pay up for the last 100 years of non shared sacrafice!

          2. Rights are endowed by our creator. They are not granted by governments. Privileges are granted. I have a right to life and liberty that is part and parcel of being human. However, my state grants me the privilege to drive a car. Privileges can be revoked. Rights cannot be taken away – only obstructed. Therefore, the UN can not grant a right.

          3. There are no “American rights”, nor English rights, nor French rights, nor any other (fill in your nation of preference) rights. Don’t confuse “rights” with those things a government allows you to do. Those are privileges.

            Our system is based on a recognition that all “rights” (not privileges) are human rights… that rights are a part of our nature as human beings.

            Now getting any government to recognize human rights… that’s a different matter.

          4. America saved the world from itself in the 20th Century.

            Choke on it, scum.

            And by the way, there is not a single, solitary country that has free speech rights like the United States. (Go to Canada and say something critical of Muslims and see where that gets you with there obnoxious “Human Rights Council”.)

            And by the way, the United States has been, by far, the most ardent and influential supporter of human rights.

            So again, choke on it – useless foreign worm.

            1. Thanks for making my point.

              Free speech is an American right. That right does not exist is Canada, I guess.

              Isn’t there a country that limits a family to one or two children per family. Hmmm… I wonder what they do with the excess life. Right to life? Not in China. Another American idea.

              Just because Americans have a whithered document that says something about rights, it just boils down to someone’s opinion and perception of reality, doesn’t it?

            1. As was pointed out earlier, evidently Canada does not allow free speech either, so yes, obviously, I meant free speech is a concept created by the United States Constitution, a piece of paper.

      1. you dont get it..
        at BIRTH if you do NOT provide your new child with AIR…
        Human rights violation. also called murder.
        if you do not provide the child with an internet capable device, you just committed the SAME human rights violation.
        Murder/Internet. the UN declares it the same….

        it’s NOT about free Speech.

      2. In looking over the post to which you responded, I find no part of it where the OP says – either explicitly or implicitly – that he thinks it’s “GOOD when a country shuts off Internet access to stifle free speech”.

    2. And yet a lot of the same people who say they are useless also cry in fear as they claim the UN is going to take over the US and put us all into death camps.

      The crazies should decide if the UN is a gang of toothless idiots, or the enforcement arm of the anti-Christ. Can’t have it both ways.

      1. they ARE useless.
        and we can claim they are useless AND the anti-Christ as you call it.

        all it takes is a president that AGREE’s with the UN and allows the UN to enforce their laws (UN) over the laws of one’s country.

        1. You clearly know next to nothing about the UN. UN does NOT have a legislative branch. The closest thing it has to laws is Security Council resolutions (which are technically legally binding for all of its members). You also shouldn’t forget that no Security Council resolution can pass unless Americans vote in favour of it (since they, along with Brits, French, Russians and Chinese have the power of veto).

          1. they don’t have “laws”
            but they do pass resolutions that can be adapted as laws in other countries.
            UN wants to pass a global tax… it has zero enforcement, unless a country allows it.

            just like this human rights thing, it has zero effect on any country, unless a country adopts it.

      2. This announcement is being called useless because it has no teeth. Human rights violations continue to happen around the world by members of the UN and nothing is done about it. Nothing will come of this either

  1. Freedom of electronic speech- anyone?
    BTW- how many people in China know who the “Tank Man” is/was?

    Google/ Yahoo/Microsoft have conspired with Cinato keep the story of Tiananmen Square off the net in China. Nice companies that support the freedom of thought & information.

    Access to a government filtered Internet or a corporate filtered Internet is bullshit.

    1. EXACTLY.
      after all, it’s a basic Human right to have access to the internet.

      and God forbid you ever tell your 8 year old he can’t post a picture of himself naked on the net, with his internet device you just took away from him. now YOU will go to jail. (if the UN gets it’s way)

  2. So, when my TimeWarnerCable modem disconnects me for a couple hours, whenever they do something down at the local node, that’s a human rights violation? Can I send them to a war crimes tribunal?

  3. Read through the smoke screen.

    U.N.: A “Human Right” when it works to the U.N.’s advantage.

    U.N.: Not a “Human Right” when it doesn’t work to the U.N.’s advantage.

    Let’s watch and see. We the people, all want free speech.

  4. The U.N. as usual is an amorphous mass of gooey, expired brain matter . . . as well as an enormous waste of time, money and valuable real estate.

  5. This is all about transfer of wealth and income distribution. What this means is… That everyone must have a computer and internet access regardless of whether or not they can afford it. So, get ready for a HUGE new internet usage tax to cover all these new users with this “fundamental right”.

  6. There is no question in my mind that the UN has turned into first and foremost an organization to weaken The Western world, not to fight for “Human Rights”. If the UN was focused on human rights they would constantly rail against nations with serious human rights issues like most Middle Eastern countries, some African, Asian and Eastern European countries are always strongly present. Instead they focused on the West. Where is the constant outrage against Middle Eastern countries that have women as slaves? Where is the the constant outrage against countries that completely control the internet at the state level?

  7. How wonderful to see all Americans find their political common ground… left and right united in a great cause, taking potshots at the UN!

    What comes very clear from this thread is how little (almost nothing) participants know about the UN, the way it works, the work it has done (and continues to do), and the benefits the US has been reaping from it for decades.

    While US contributes the largest single share in the UN’s budget, per-capita contributions are far from largest. Many developed countries have significantly larger per-person expenditures, and US is getting an extremely good deal for their money: they have practically complete control of all UN bodies. In Security Council, they always veto any resolution that they even remotely don’t like, or if it goes against their fairly narrowly-defined big business interest (all climate issues during Bush years, were systematically torpedoed; all social issues that involve even minimal family planning provisions, or stem cell research, were struck down, etc, etc, etc). It simply does NOT matter that the UN was devised as a forum for ALL of the world; US pretty much has practical control of all of it.

    There’s plenty to go on about this, but I have a feeling the audience here is not really ready to learn anything about the way UN works.

    1. I can appreciate your perspective, but it is the wrong assumption that because one dislikes the direction of the UN that one does not know how the UN works.

      My comments were not talking about the 5 permanent members of the security councils ability to veto substantive resolutions but rather procedural resolutions that are not focused on serious human rights issues.

      1. In addition to the social issues (such as human rights), UN also deals with issues of peace and security (which tend to be more important than human rights, as they cost lives). Peace keeping missions have saved millions of lives; as much as human rights violations are important, saving lives is even more important.

    2. Granted the UN can’t pass USA law. But other organizations and bodies are leveraged to initiate USA law. For example, once you declare or define CO2 as a pollutant, then the next step is cleared for regulation. This is how it works. So, if the UN declares internet access as a human right, then other groups pick up on this and use that to kick off the process of getting laws passed.

      1. The only way UN can declare CO2 as pollutant is if USA votes in favour. If they don’t the CO2 declaration is out.

        Any official document that comes out of a meeting, conference, commission, council or a committee, only gets out if it is approved by the members, and US will always water down, or just not even bother voting for, a document that contains text they don’t like.

        During Bush years, there were several various meetings related to peace and disarmament. None have ever produced a final document because US delegation refused to agree on the final document if it contained any language related to disarmament and small arms (the language was referring to illegal trade; not legal possession). Same with nuclear non-proliferation documents. The work of the UN during those years was essentially not moving anywhere (in the field of peace and disarmament) because US just didn’t want to bother with it.

  8. One other thing must be made clear: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is just that — a declaration. It is NOT a law (UN does NOT pass laws), nor is it a legally binding Security Council resolution. Its purpose was to establish set of principles against which members can be judged and which can, together with other LEGALLY BINDING documents (resolutions, treaties) used in legal dealings, specifically within the Security Council.

    It will take about 15 minutes to read through it, and it is a very interesting document:

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Most states of the world are in violation of at least some of the articles. US violations are:

    Article 2 (Denial of some of the rights below based on status — for homosexuals)
    Article 5 (torture — for POWs)
    Article 9 (Arbitrary detention — for POWs)
    Article 10 (Right to full hearing to determine charges against person — for POWs)
    Article 12 (Arbitrary privacy violations — Patriot Act)
    Article 16 (Right to marry — denied to persons belonging to a certain group — same sex)
    Article 25 (right to necessary medical care not afforded to everyone)

    These violations are the ones that are reflected in the LAW of the land; actual practice shows violations of some other articles as well, even though the law of the land protects those rights.

    Obviously, there are countries where the law of the land violates even more articles, but for a country that prides itself for the freedoms for their people, the American system of laws is in violation of quite a few of these articles.

    1. With “It will take about 15 minutes to read through it”, you’ve just moved beyond that average wing-nuts ability to focus. While I appreciate your posting and logic, it’s lost on the majority here — especially on the likes of “FTB” et al. They have disengaged their brains, allowing whatever critical thinking skills they once had to atrophy quickly.

    2. Thanks, Predrag, for the voice of reason. I am beginning to think that the U.S. is being overrun with mindless drones programmed by the extremist end of the GOP.

      Remember, compromise is getting everything that you want…

  9. You’d think the U.N. would work on far more serious human rights, like FOOD and SHELTER.

    WTF is the Internet good for if you’re homeless and starving.

    HELLO U.N.! ANYONE HOME IN THERE?! WAKE UP!

    (Recite with a lisp:) Our privileged world of prissy pampered princes and princesses.

    Dream time is OVER! Get to work! Save humanity!

    1. You most clearly haven’t got a single clue what UN does. Food and shelter (as you call them) are probably most extensive programmes the UN does around the world (in addition to peacekeeping and economic development).

      1. Sorry Predrag, but you clearly want to divert the issue. Nothing I stated matches your derision. I was one of the Trick or Treat for UNICEF kids with a UN flag in my room. Try again.

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