Internet Access Is A Fundamental Human Right In Cyberspace

A few years back talking about human rights in cyberspace generated skeptic reactions. Things have not changed much even today but at least now we know that human rights can be extended to cyberspace.

At Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we have been supporting the efforts that can ensure recognition of human rights in cyberspace at both national and international level. At the national level, India is still not ready and willing to recognise human rights in cyberspace. At the international level, part of human rights in cyberspace has started gaining importance.

For instance, the United Nations (UN) has declared that right to access to Internet is a human right. Similarly, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has also supported this stand of UN through a recently released report.

The report has analysed the first ever of state regulations on Internet access within the 56-member OSCE. Finland and Estonia have already declared access to Internet as a human right and this is a good step in right direction. PTLB welcomes these reformative actions of Finland and Estonia.

Countries around the world are restricting human rights in cyberspace by citing national security, sovereignty, law and order and many such grounds. While none can doubt that national security is an important function of a sovereign state yet there must be a harmony between national security and human rights.

Giving a blind and absolute primacy to national security even if clearly means violating basic human rights is not a wise approach for a welfare state like India. We hope Indian government would consider empowering Indian netizens by recognising and strengthening their human rights in cyberspace.