In a message written on Thu, Jan 05, 2012 at 11:09:59AM -0500, Jay Ashworth wrote:
Didn't *say* broadband. Didn't even say "Internet service". Said "Internet
*access*", in the non-techspeak meaning of those words.
For the purposes of my e-mail and this point in time, they are all
That is, if "interenet access" is a right, providing someone a
9600bps dial up does not, in my mind, qualify. That might qualify
for e-mail access, but you can not use a reasonable fraction of the
Internet at that access speed. Similarly, denying someone internet
service denies them internet access. The only difference between your
terms and mine, is that mine are fixed to this point in time while
yours is a general concept that may move in the future. One day 50Mbps
broadband may not qualify anymore as "internet access" due to where the
interernet ends up.
I think you're still thinking of service, as opposed to access. Public terminals, say at libraries, are also access. Free public wifi is also access.
But let's take a specific (famous) example. Kevin Mitnick. From
his wikipedia page:
"During his supervised release, which ended on January 21, 2003, he was
initially forbidden to use any communications technology other than a
If Internet access (to use your term) had been a human right than
his human rights were violated by the government when they banned
him from using any communications technology. Do we really want to
suggest that banning him from using the computer is the same level of
violation as enslaving him, torturing him, or even killing him?
Clearly not, at least at this point in history. Internet access is more like access to transportation; the law implicitly requires you to have it (in the form of being able to compel a person to appear at a given place and time), but not only fails to mandate its availability, but includes provisions for explicitly denying access to it in some cases.
Internet access becomes a human right only when your other, more basic human rights depend on it. If a person without internet access cannot obtain food, shelter, or basic transportation, then it is a human right.
As an aside, your example is flawed, because judicial punishment does involve a loss, or at least a curtailment, of what many people consider to be basic rights.