If you’re at work and your boss is on your case for checking out memes, updating your various social media pages, and looking at your favorite website that has all of your news and cultural needs, you can now tell them that your internet usage is a basic human right and the United Nations said so.
Last Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution that denounces countries that impede on their citizens’ internet access. Most countries were in favor of the resolution that states, “the same rights people have offline must also be protected online,” but of course, there were several countries adamantly opposed to the resolution. It is no surprise that China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia were against this push to expand freedom of expression to the online arena. These three nations are known for their extremely strict rules regarding internet access.
The Verge states that the U.N. can’t legally enforce this new resolution, but it “puts pressure on governments and gives credence to the actions of digital rights advocates around the world.” Thomas Hughes, the executive director of Article 19, a charity which focuses on defending the freedom of expression, praised the latest U.N. resolution stating:
“From impunity for the killings of bloggers to laws criminalizing legitimate dissent on social media, basic human rights principles are being disregarded to impose greater controls over the information we see and share online.”
Hopefully, this resolution will put an end to government internet shutdowns. Access Now, a global advocacy group protecting internet rights said that there have already been 20 recorded internet shutdowns this year alone. A social media shutdown recently occurred in Turkey where information regarding the recent airport bombing was blocked for Turkish citizens. A lot of shutdowns revolve around government protesting, but Algeria even shut down social media access so children in school wouldn’t be able to cheat on tests. This resolution could be a big step towards global internet freedom regarding information and access.
(Via The Verge)