Ireland calls for internet as a human right by law

An organisation in Ireland wants to establish the “internet as a basic human right” as law.

It follows a decision this week to stop ISPs using filtering technology.  The ruling was made by top and well respected judge Pedro Cruz Villalón, Advocate General to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), who ruled that Belgian ISP Scarlet should filter out copyright-infringing content from its network.

According to Silicon Republic,  ALTO, an organisation representing licensed telecoms operators in Ireland, has seen this as good starting ground to take intenet rights further and “transpose internet access as a human right into Irish law.”

It welcomed the advocate-general’s decision, which it said was “encouraging” and showed that internet filtering infringed on “fundamental rights.”

It said: “Internet access is now a fundamental right and has been enshrined in EU law.”

However, the calls may fall on deaf ears as this is something many have been calling for a long time.

This month Sir Tim Berners-Lee, told delegates in India that internet should be considered a basic human right and recognised as such in law. He said that the world needs to get away from the idea that the internet should be controlled by large corporations or governments.

Back in September, others warned that high internet prices in developing countries could push them further behind in the fight against poverty – and claimed that access to the internet should be a basic human right.

Jim Killock, executive director at the Open Rights Group, told TechEye that basic internet rights can be established by governments rather easily. He said in Finland the government had already begun.

“The government in Finland established that it was a human right to give everyone a connection to the internet. That’s not to say that people should have it free, but that no-one should be without it. This rule has meant that the country has had to establish what happens if people don’t pay their bills, but I don’t think that anyone is saying that if you don’t pay, you don’t get it,” he told TechEye.

“The second thing is that people expect to be able to go onto the net with privacy and without being blocked, this is of course the ultimate human right. The three strikes rule breaks this,” he added. 

“It’s more about making the internet as important as getting gas and water.”