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Internet should be a fundamental right

Internet users or not, almost 80 percent of people consider access to the network as a fundamental right, reveals a study published today by the BBC.

The analysis, commissioned by GlobeScan, was based on surveys conducted with 27,000 people in 26 countries, including Portugal, and shows strong support for the establishment of access to the network as a fundamental right on both sides of the “digital divide” – which it divides more and less developed countries in access to new technologies.

According to the data presented, 4 out of 5 respondents “strongly agree” (50 percent) or “agree in some way” (29 percent) that this should be a fundamental (and universal) right, agreeing with the perspective already adopted by countries like Finland or Estonia, advances the news channel.

Should the Internet be considered a fundamental right?

More than 70 percent of respondents who do not yet have access to the Internet believe that this should be provided to them, that this is a right that they should be given. Among those who already have access to the net, 87 percent believe that this should be a “fundamental right of all people”.

South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Turkey are among the most affirmative states on this issue. In Turkey, for example, more than 90 percent of respondents see the Internet as a fundamental right – the percentage is higher than that found in any other European country. Outside the continent, the highlight goes to South Korea, where the percentage rises to 96 percent.

In countries like South Korea and Nigeria, respondents say the Internet shouldn’t even be subject to government regulation, but most respondents in European countries and China believe that this intervention is necessary. In the UK, for example, 55 percent said they agreed with the need for action by government agencies.

The network is fast becoming fundamental across the world. In Japan, Mexico and Russia, about three quarters say they could not live without it and more than half of all respondents (worldwide) recognize its positive impact. Almost four out of five believe that this technology has given them greater freedom.

Among the main fears associated with its use is computer fraud. Access to violent and explicit content and concerns about loss of privacy are other issues most frequently raised.

Main concerns associated with Internet use

In general, the World Wide Web is seen as a space for communication and freedom and Internet users feel safe to share their convictions on the network. With the USA among the countries where this sentiment is most pressing, being shared by more than half of the respondents, in contrast to Japan, where 65 percent say they do not feel safe to say what they think online. Germany and South Korea were other places where the same fear was expressed by more than half of the respondents.