Just how important is the internet?
“Is connectivity a human right?”
That’s a question and cloaked statement Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made on his own personal Facebook page this week to announce his goal at getting all seven billion people in the world online.
According to Zuckerberg, the internet is an essential part of life. He aims to find ways to get web access to everyone – even those living in remote areas of poor countries – by partnering with electronics giant Samsung; Finnish handset maker Nokia; and wireless chip maker Qualcomm Inc. Google has already launched a similar project that launches internet-beaming antennas on giant helium balloons.
Obviously, such internet access would boost the billions already in Zuckerberg’s pockets. Still, some agree with his assertion that internet access is needed by all.
Fordham University communications professor Paul Levinson was quoted by the Associated Press as saying on the matter, “I think it is actually a profoundly important human right in the 21st century to have access to the internet.”
But in a world where many, even those in wealthy countries like America, struggle to obtain housing, education, food, water, and adequate healthcare, among other necessities, how can the internet seriously be considered a need? While technology is a major part of today’s society, and the internet is a driving force behind that technology, do rural communities in African nations need Facebook, or clean drinking water and adequate food?
Some might argue that internet access would allow more of society’s concerns to be publicized, possibly leading to more action regarding those troubles.
The majority of people, however, are already aware of the plights of so many across the world. If too little is being done now, could the internet really make a difference?
It’s also slightly ridiculous for a billionaire to say that the same internet that made him rich is a basic human right. While many go without the true basic human rights, Zuckerberg is not in need.
So, is the internet a basic human right? Share your thoughts on this subject in a Letter to the Editor. Letters can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 910, Jennings, LA, 70546.
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