The other day in class a comment was made concerning the internet that was rather questionable. The on going debate in class was focused around the various dynamics associated with net neutrality. The student that spoke up roughly stated that we are the users that generate a majority of the internet content and that we have the right to control the internet, not the big corporations like AT&T and Verizon. Our professor stated that it’s almost a matter of if the internet should become a utility – so I applied it to the student’s comment and it came across as,

“Electricity is our right, we screw in a majority of the lightbulbs, we should own it.”

I’m afraid the majority of us were not the ones that developed the infrastructure surrounding the electrical grids, or the generators, or laid the cables, and you get the picture, the list goes on and on. However, the student did strike a chord on something. I believe there is something fiercely territorial in all of us concerning the openness of the internet. The freedom that surrounds the infinite space. Be it socialist, capitalist, democrat or republican – the internet has the ability to move all of us forward and it’s a matter of protecting the thoughts that we put out for the world to see.

Personally I think that our freedom of expression on the internet can be protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I hope this spurs on debate, the true form of problem solving.

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, and regardless of frontiers.” Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.” Article 19, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of borders.” Article 10, European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms