Daily Opinion Ideas Technology

The Internet Should Be Considered a Basic Human Right

Guy Fawlkes mask

High five to the genius who invented the toilet. If not for him, I’d have nowhere to do my best thinking.

#classy

I randomly think about the internet and how different my life was without it. For example, if it wasn’t for the internet, I wouldn’t be able to learn independently. Not easily anyway. Quite literally, many answers are at my fingertips. It’s a big reason why I don’t understand why people call tech support. Many of them are just Googling the answers when they become stumped anyway.

Surprise motherf***er!

What’s more interesting to me is the more people have access to internet, the more people have access to knowledge. That’s pretty significant for two reasons:

  1. Knowledge helps to develop marketable skills. It’s not the key to everything, but it’s a big help. For example, I acquired a far-too-expensive college degree to get into a IT, a field where, more often than not, I’m constantly teaching myself anyway. And where do you think I’m getting that knowledge?Ding, ding, ding. That’s right, the internet.

    Hell, even my job is performed remotely. As long as I have a good connection, I can simultaneously continue my employment and education. So long, shirt and tie!

  2. Multiple sources of knowledge help to create open-mindedness. I truly believe part of what keeps various cultures and societies stuck in their ways, both positive and negative, is because they have a limited view of the world. It’s not always the case, but if the user elects to do so, a person can become well-traveled without leaving their front door.I’m not trying to say people need to abandon what they know, but can’t we learn from and possibly adopt the best parts of our respective cultures? Reality doesn’t need to be painted by a single brush.

Above all, knowledge helps develop a critical eye. Rather than simply accepting what someone forced you to learn, the internet allows you to pursue knowledge on your own terms. That’s a powerful thing. That’s why I feel the internet is basically becoming a new human right. The knowledge aspect alone is enough to convince me. It’s not perfect right now, but it can be.

Why do we still treat knowledge as if everyone doesn’t need to have it? In the US, we keep young adults in debt well into their thirties or more just to get a college degree. Sucks for you if you can’t pay for it outright or get a scholarship. But at least we have access to something. Some people live in countries where the chance of getting any education at all.

People build the internet. All of us. We’re doing it right now just by clicking “Like” on a Facebook post or buying an e-Book for your Kindle. So why in the hell should it ever be inaccessible to anyone? Why should it be filtered? The internet is the closest thing to our collective thoughts. The more we use it, the more it knows about us. It knows our history just as much as it knows how to build a 3D printer. It knew because someone chose to share that knowledge. Shouldn’t everyone have access to that knowledge?

How is this not a basic human right?

I’m not saying the internet is perfect. Far from it. But I love it because it exposes the best and worst of us. I’ve learned about the nature of human beings because of the internet. Seriously. I tested this by life coaching a couple people. Think about that: I was successfully able to life coach people simply because I studied the internet. And you know what? I’m sharing the things I’ve learned with all of you.

Like the ant that builds the hill, I need to help build this internet. Maybe I’ll take a picture of a sunset and make it more beautiful too.

Anyway, let’s do our best to make sure this remains a product of the people. There are countries out there that will remain unnamed whose governments think it’s a fantastic idea to filter the internet. I’m going to uncensor myself this time: That’s just shitty.

I’m going to put some thought into how the people can kind of “take back” the internet, or at least make it easily available to more people. There are awesome movements out there like Hello Hub (which I wrote about here) so maybe I’ll compile a list of more of these so they’ll get more exposure. My audience isn’t huge, but I’m gonna damn sure do my part.

In the meantime, let me know what you think. Is this a fair argument? Can the internet be considered a basic human right and should any government have the authority to censor it? Shouldn’t the censored material be chosen by the people democratically since we’re building it?

Just saying.

Peace out, party people.

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