The Case for (and Against) Internet Access as a Human Right

Vint Cerf is ruffling nerds' feathers with his Thursday op-ed in The New York Times that claims in almost trollish fashion: "Internet Access Is Not a Human Right." This is funny (and incendiary) because Vint Cerf is sort of the guy who invented the Internet. That was in 1969 when Cerf worked as a principle programmer on the Pentagon's ARPANET project and helped to connect the very first two nodes of what would grow to become the Internet as we know it. Now that the Internet is a tool that spawns revolutions, creates empires and hosts way too many very cute pictures of kittens, the United Nations is pushing to make Internet access a human right. And now Cerf, one of the humans who can legitimately take credit for creating the technology, doesn't like that idea. Did we mention he used to work at Google?

Before we get too fired up about Cerf's controversial stance on the Internet rights issue, we should give due diligence to go a bit deeper than the few quotes getting passed around the blogosphere. As rebuttals to his argument percolate, it's useful to address Cerf's points, line-by-line. So what we've done is take these quotes out of the context of Cerf's Times op-ed and placed them into the larger debate about what the Internet is and does. From the nut graf -- it's the third one -- to the final sentence, Cerf takes a pretty philosophical approach, and it's easy to get riled up if you take him literally rather than seriously. Because we like getting riled up, let's do both.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

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