By Adam Clark Estes 11:29 AM ET
The United Nations counts internet access as a basic human right in a report that bears implications both to on-going events in the Arab Spring and to the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers.
Acting as special rapporteur, a human rights watchdog role appointed by the UN Secretary General, Frank La Rue takes a hard line on the importance of the internet as “an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress.”
Presented to the General Assembly on Friday, La Rue’s report comes as the capstone of a year’s worth of meetings held between La Rue and local human rights organizations around the world, from Cairo to Bangkok. The report’s introduction points to the impact of online collaboration in the Arab Spring and says that “facilitating access to the Internet for all individuals, with as little restriction to online content as possible, should be a priority for all States.”
The UN report overwhelmingly supports the internet as a communication platform, a boon to all democratic societies, but it also warns how the internet’s unique architecture threatens power brokers in those societies:
Phi Beta Iota: The three billion poor are not going to pay what the one billion rich have been paying, nor are they going to put up with proprietary technology. OpenBTS will lead the way toward an Autonomous Internet (Open, Free, Distributed]. Open Everything will have its day.