In France and Greece consumers have a legal right to internet access. In Spain, Finland and Estonia it has been (or is being) enshrined as a human right. Earlier this year, the BBC commissioned a survey of more than 27,000 people in 26 countries that found that 79% of adults regard online access as a fundamental right.
This time the Sydney Morning Herald reports discussion initiated by Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre executive director David Vaile, backed by the former head of GetUp! Brett Solomon, who is now executive director of AccessNow.org in the US.
Red Alert ran a bit of a discussion on this issue last year. It is particularly relevant given the government’s intention to include a suspension of internet access clause into the new Copyright Bill about to come before the Commerce Select Committee. Labour supports the Bill (mostly) but opposes suspension.
I am interested to hear the Australian Human Rights Commission president Catherine Branson QC’s comments that:
while the Commission had not yet looked at internet access as a human right; it did recognise internet access may raise issues “relevant to the right to freedom of expression” as defined in a United Nation’s covenant on civil and political rights.