German court rules that the Internet is an 'essential' part of life

By Shawn Knight
Jan 25, 2013
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  1. A Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe has ruled that the Internet is an essential part of life. German law already mandates that individuals can be compensated for the loss of use of essential material items, meaning that people have...

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  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,572   +862

    So basically what you're saying is this, "In Germany, ISP CEOs, are allowed to sit on the bench in German Federal Courts".

    I'm assuming that a "basic human right", doesn't necessarily that it will be provided free of charge. It's just that now they can't deny you the right to have it, and be overcharged in return.

    Are the German Courts still in the Reichstag, or have they since been moved to the upper floors of a Comcast Building?
  3. PinothyJ

    PinothyJ TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 429   +15

    Both you and the title of this article has missed the point. He was without his Internet connection and the ISP did nothing to ensure that he could still access the internet. It is like your car being put in the shop for a period of time because of a part recall and the company either not giving you a replace vehicle to use, or giving you one that is simply inappropriate or incomplete to adhere to your needs and the very thing that you have paid for.


    This ruling is for a single case and is not something that is to effect German lawmaking...
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,572   +862

    I didn't miss anything, but I fear you have.

    Whether or not this case has a direct affect on German legislation at its conclusion is moot. This is what's known as a "test case". And it's testing to determine if you can float the concept past the judicial branch of a government that, "having internet access is a human right".

    It's that same type of crap the RIAA / MPAA are reviled for. Every time some new format comes out, they try to re-legislate copyright law in a court, thereby short circuiting the painfully slow, and fantastically expensive process of buying off an entire congress.

    These types of cases are "end around plays", attempting to force legislators to act in accordance with prior court decisions.

    And if it weren't exactly that, than the plaintiff should have sued his mutt ISP and phone company, for breach of contract, punitive damages attendant to the breach, out of pocket expenses, and any collateral damages which this outage had caused him. But, the IPS would use, "unavoidable circumstances" as a defense, and most likely get the case kicked. So, enter the "human right" smoke and mirror show. Neither party is going to play fair when you come right down to it.. But, one thing is certain, future decisions will be swayed by citations of past decisions. The next case may very well be decided on the outcome of this one.

    IE: The phone wasn't working, so the burglar alarm wasn't working. His house was broken into, and he lost $xxxx.xx in goods, possessions, and property damage because of it. That should have enough merit of its own as cause of action, not this f***ing "human rights" BS.

    But you know, "human rights" is a real gray area. Personally, I don't believe there is such a thing. But now that you mention it, the U.S Constitution stipulates to certain human rights. That said, perhaps we should go masturbate in public on a crowded street corner. If we get locked up for it, I'm gonna go with a first Amendment defense. "I have the right to self expression", and the local authorities have abridged that right. Sounds silly right? Well then, don't tell us you have the right to nurse your child in public.

    All of my silliness notwithstanding, in the US an individual actually does have "the right" to telephone service. As long as you pay your bill that is. However, that has already been extended to free cellular service for the needy. So, how far off is the "right to internet access"?

    There are two sides to this story though, and these huge telecoms do need to be reminded big time, that they're still public utilities.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,255   +460

    Do explain....
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,572   +862

    My logic is a bit circuitous on this. Man started the "human rights ball rolling" in Genesis, when he gave himself, "dominion over the animals", and blamed it on God.

    With that said, and depending if you believe in God, man doesn't really have "the right" to bestow "human rights on himself", you have to wait for God to be so moved.

    On a less philosophical level, humans now "have the right" to be supported by the state, simply by virtue of the ability to reproduce themselves. In Spanish, this would be expressed como eso, "basta ya"! (enough already).

    So, man grants himself more "human rights", by virtue of his personal agenda, and whoever has the greatest sob story, (need).

    But, all I've been able to conclude from all of this, is that man, is the only ape species with a self serving agenda!

    (Sorry, but you asked).
    davislane1 likes this.
  7. GunsAblazin

    GunsAblazin Newcomer, in training Posts: 74

    We all know that human rights are man made ideals put in place to protect the personal safety, well being, and prosperity of mankind; the internet is becoming a necessity to achieve those things. People make a living (among other things) on the internet; having that cut off is more serious than it seems. What if the ISPs decided to block Facebook or Youtube? The people working for those companies would find themselves in a pickle and a lot of money would be lost. I suspect governments are just trying to increase the severity due to the dependency we have on the internet. Some things are to big to fail as we've seen in 2008; the internet is one of them.

    What's even worse is that people who can't afford internet can't even compete with those who can. When governments set rights it is just a way to even things out. The alternative is that they let the less fortunate fend for themselves and all chaos breaks loose. Sure there are some people taking advantage of the system, but it is the government's responsibility to keep the peace. A way to solve that is to require everyone over 18 to be gainfully employed or have the funds to provide for themselves, and if they can't the government finds a job for them; menial or not they have to do it.
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,255   +460


    So, essentially, you propose fascism?

    The problem with this line of thinking is that it creates the exact problem that it seeks to prevent. By declaring everything under the sun to be a human right (internet, housing, "living wages," etc.) and having gov't quite literally provide for people, it robs them of their sense of survival and consequently damns them to the whims of the elite. Your argument about Facebook and Youtube illustrates this problem perfectly: People invest themselves exclusively in a single skill set or portion of an industry and when the landscape changes -- which it ALWAYS does -- they are up a creek without a paddle because they have nothing to offer on the new playing field. Then, when their benevolent governments can no longer provide flotation (see: Greece et al.) not only are they up the creek, they're in it too.

    The internet (or anything else) as "too big to fail" is a preposterous notion. If either the world financial system or the internet disappeared today, there would be short-term chaos. In the long-run, however, it would be a footnote in someone's 5th grade history text. Yet, we are compelled to believe that short-term implications always take precedent. Thusly, the internet is deemed a human right and its significance is inflated beyond reason.

    Also, people not being able to "afford" the internet is a dubious statement. This has validity in third-world regions where people are legitimately poor, but it hardly justifies cost as a barrier to entry in a world where people can secure loans practically at will and receive compensation for unemployment.
  9. GunsAblazin

    GunsAblazin Newcomer, in training Posts: 74


    Maybe I shouldn't have said "have to." I am in no way proposing that, but the government won't be able to give handouts much longer; especially with the rich not paying a cent. You do have a choice between receiving nothing or taking what they give you and finding something better in the meantime.

    I never said they wouldn't be able to secure new jobs in other fields, but I'm talking short term (say a year). The ISPs would have an obligation to compensate those people. As far as a large scale collapse, I couldn't even imagine the chaos. Just think of all the opposing countries/ terrorists just waiting to pounce on a collapsed government.

    I don't know where you live, but I know a lot of people that can't afford it. They've got families to support on their low wage jobs, and it's just not a priority. Getting a loan isn't an option either because they've got bad credit.
  10. Tygerstrike

    Tygerstrike TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 827   +93

    Lets not forget the older generations. Those that did quite well w/o the internet and continue to do so. Does them not having internet violate their own human rights as they have no need or desire to have it. I can see where Capt comes off with its a grey area. If you claim the internet is a "right" then you have to accept all that having the internet as a right would suggest. I know many ppl who cannot afford internet or devices to get to the web. Does this make them bad ppl? No just poor. I think we as a society tend to forget that those "rights" we take advantage of were at one time not ours.
  11. davislane1

    davislane1 TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,255   +460

    I don't know where you live, but in America the "rich" are responsible for the majority of government revenues that result from income taxes. Well, according to the IRS anyways: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/09inratesnap.pdf

    My apologies for misinterpreting you on the work issue. I was thinking to myself, "Forced labor? Really?! This guy is nuts!"

    This is still a ludicrous concept. The only situations in which an ISP can be legitimately compelled to offer such compensation is in the event of an antitrust violation or breach of contract. Acts of God (as they are defined by law), planned service outages, etc. don't justify compensation for alleged lost revenues or "utility" as the result of a service outage unless the ISP fails to perform its due diligence.

    And that, my friend, is the crux of the biscuit. I have family members in that particular situation and I have met many, many others. 98% of their problems originate in the mirror. Some of this has to do with education, some of it has to do with the gov't, a lot of it has to do with the person. But I digress... As it relates to this matter, "I'm broke" is hardly an excuse when there are public libraries everywhere.
     


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