Vint Cerf: Internet access is not a human right

By Leeky · 56 replies
Jan 6, 2012
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  1. One of the fathers of the internet, Vinton Cerf, widely known for creating the TCP/IP protocol took the opportunity in a recent NYT article to dismiss the idea that the internet is…

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  2. Hard to argue his logic.
  3. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,377   +286

    Vinto Cerf, did you invent WWW? No? Wait I didn't hear that, what did you say? NO?!?!?!

  4. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Can't tell if trolling or just stupid. I really hope it's trolling.
  5. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    Just as Tim Berners-Lee didn't invent the Internet, without which the WWW wouldn't have a platform on which to exist, doesn't have any room to speak on the matter either. The logic in Vinton Cerf's statements is very difficult to dispute. The logic (or rather lack of) in your statement, however, was far too easy to dismiss.

    Tim Berners-Lee saying that the WWW is a fundamental human right, is like the inventor of submarines saying that everyone has a right to own a submarine in order for transoceanic travel. It's simply ridiculous.
  6. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Guru Posts: 843   +38

    What does that have to do with anything? I'm with this guy. The internet is a tool, not a right. Tools are privileges. Video game consoles, cars...those are tools (privileges) that can be taken away when used incorrectly. The internet is no different. HOWEVER, the internet is freedom of speech, so while I agree that it is not a human right, I do agree that it is a form of free speech that should not be censored (which includes being shut down or taken away).

    But here's the interesting thing. Internet providers want it to be a human right, yet they will still shut you down if they catch you downloading illegal content. Now we are back to the internet being a privilege. Wait...what happened to it being a human right? Rights are something you can't take away. So in a way, the internet providers are hypocrites. Ponder on that thought for a while :p
  7. Prosercunus

    Prosercunus TS Booster Posts: 166   +40

    Pretty much. I never even knew it would considered as such.

    The UN wasting time and money as usual when they should be focusing on hunger and disease.

    Surely even if you disagree with myself and believe internet access is a human right you still have to admit that survival is a higher degree of human right and should be focused on solely until you can solve that.
  8. Ghost410

    Ghost410 TS Rookie

    I respectfully disagree with Mr. Cerf. The issue is not about access to a technology. It is about access to information, collaboration, and knowledge. Dismissing the topic because many don't understand the difference is a disservice.
  9. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

  10. people are born into this life with the internet, hes an ***** not to think man becomes the machine.....eventually.
  11. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    Blatant Star Wars reference incoming..... I find your lack of faith in the human race disturbing. Most people are NOT born into this life with the internet. Those are the people that ultimately learn to figure things out for themselves. There is no matrix bud.
  12. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    The internet is nothing more then an advanced form of communication. (Well, advanced for us/our species) It's a tool that has a wide range of abilities but is nonetheless a tool.

    And the comment about human rights is comical considering that human rights are made up themselves, there is no such thing as a natural/human right.
  13. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    As I was reading this article all I kept saying over and over was "It's hard to argue with his logic. I think he may be right if there is a right answer."
  14. To put it in Laymans Terms for the evidently less than Knowledgable; The internet is a MEDIUM, like Paper, Pencil, Clay, Cardboard, Canvas. Do you have right to paper? No. Your Right is What information you choose to put on that paper. Like Writing, Typing, Coloring, Doodling etc. Water should be a Human Right, Free or Taxed Access to Electricity, in today's technological age, should be a right. Yet all these things are charged as a service, even though these are essential to the MAJORITY of human life today. These are the things you should be fighting and crying for. Access to food or the means to obtain your food legally should be a right. When the internet becomes as important to human function as these, then it can be considered. As it currently stands, we can, and many do, live without the internet. And quite healthily.
  15. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,073   +219

    Its not a right like as in what we need to live decent lives like food, water, shelter and good health but a want as in we want all governments to allow their citizens uncensored access to the internet. Id love to see someone in poverty in a third country react if someone ran up to them and was like its ok you dont have to worry anymore all your trouble are over then hands them a kindle notebook and walks away.
  16. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 572   +6

    The fact that there is a debate about this is ridiculous. Rights are innate and in inalienable. That means you were born with it and it cannot be taken a way and shouldn't be suppressed. The internet is not apart of our being. It is man made and therefore can be easily taken away, censored and controlled. It is merely a tool we use to communicate (right) and express ourselves(right).
  17. I think having the internet as a "Human Right" is rediculous. There are many countries where the average person doesnt have the ability to afford a computer. Where I agree it gives freedom of speach, its only a freedom in the fact that you are anon and someone would have to work at finding out who you are. If you had to post your full name and address as part of a post im pretty sure that freedom would disappear. As a tool of communication I agree it has opened ppls eyes to new ideas and new ways of thinking. I can remember a day only a few decades ago when you couldnt get 2 laptops sitting next to each other to communicate in any way.
  18. GunsAblazin

    GunsAblazin TS Enthusiast Posts: 75

    Sure his logic is true, but the purpose of classifying the internet as a human right is to give people without that luxury the ability to keep up to the rest of the world. The internet is not "merely a method of communication," but access to information. Think about what will happen to the less fortunate when technology takes over and books are no longer printed.
  19. GunsAblazin

    GunsAblazin TS Enthusiast Posts: 75

    You are completely wrong. Freedom is a right and it can be taken away, ever heard of slavery... These rights are created to make things better for the people who don't have them, not you ignorant people who take them for granted.
  20. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 572   +6

    The ability for one exercise their rights can be taken away, not the right itself. I will say it is innate One may be in captivity, but that does not mean that they have lost their right to freedom. We are born as autonomous beings; free to think and explore, we may be able to limit one ability to do this, but we cannot stop it. The constitution is only there to ensure that one is not fettered nor loose their ability to exercise their rights.
  21. GunsAblazin

    GunsAblazin TS Enthusiast Posts: 75

    Human Rights would not exist without people protecting them. That's the difference between RIGHTS and ABILITIES.
  22. GunsAblazin

    GunsAblazin TS Enthusiast Posts: 75

    You are born with abilities not rights, but even those can be taken away even the ability to think.
  23. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I get what you're saying, but I think classifying it as a human right will do little to help that cause.

    Human rights, often characterized as a broad set of freedoms encompassing movement, expression, thoughts and religion; privacy and security; immunity to torture, discrimination, slavery and cruelty; fair and competent justice etc... are broken by "civilized" countries on a regular basis.

    Sad but true.

    There is also something sad about the *necessity* to lie to ourselves and eachother in order to elevate the Internet to human right status. One might think that something so valuable to all facets of life could/would propagate without shoe-horning it into society as a human right... definitely a "-1 humanity" moment.
  24. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 572   +6

    You were born with a mouth, vocal cord, teeth, tongue, these give you the ability to speak. It is your right to use them to speak. If I am not wrong they were made for this and other reasons. That is their whole purpose. They were made to make noise, and form words. The whole purpose of life is to live not to have the ability to live. The right to life.
  25. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 572   +6

    If they didn't exist what would be there to protect. It is like saying if we couldn't breathe then there would be no air to breathe.

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