The New York Times has an interesting editorial about whether or not internet access should be considered a human right.
This, of course, was in response to a UN report from June 2011, which put forward the idea that access to the internet is a human right, especially in light of a year of grassroots protests fueled and organized through social media worldwide.
In their report, the UN points to the fact that several countries have already declared internet access to be a right:
In some economically developed States, Internet access has been recognized as a right. For example, the parliament of Estonia passed legislation in 2000 declaring Internet access a basic human right… The constitutional council of France effectively declared Internet access a fundamental right in 2009, and the constitutional court of Costa Rica reached a similar decision in 2010.
Interestingly, the New York Times op-ed contributer Vinton G. Cerf actually takes a contrary view, and he makes an interesting point: it isn’t that the internet itself that needs to be protected as a human right, but rather that the internet is an invaluable tool that allows us to exercise human rights that we already have, especially the right to free speech and free assembly.