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Mace & Crown | December 14, 2017

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UN Passes Resolution Protecting Internet Access as Human Right

UN Passes Resolution Protecting Internet Access as Human Right
Ross Reelachart
Technology Editor

At the end of June, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution for the “promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet.” The U.N. resolution condemns any deliberate action by a country to disrupt the internet access of its citizens. The resolution asserts that access to the internet is a right recognized by the U.N. Human Rights Council.

While the resolution itself is not legally binding, its passing places pressure on participating governments to recognize the human rights stance or be forced into a position where they are potentially violating human rights. Over 70 states, including the U.S., support the resolution, while states that attempted to weaken the resolution include Russia and China.

There are many parts to the resolution, including multiple notes and amendments. Each one reaffirms a notion of how important the internet is in the modern digital world.

The resolution has many notes about how the internet is a vital tool for expression, and that it must be protected as it pertains to the exercise of that freedom. Security concerns regarding privacy and security are addressed as well, so that individuals can be free to express their opinions peacefully and without interference.

Recognizing that the internet is a global network with different users, the resolution acknowledges that those users may be under the jurisdictions of different countries and laws, calling for a “comprehensive human rights-based approach” that can be addressed by different nations.

Multiple notes were also made specifically addressing equal access and usage of the internet for women. The resolution believed that women were empowered by “enhancing their access to information and communications technology, promoting digital literacy and the participation of women and girls in education.”

With such a vital role in the modern world, this resolution is helping to ensure that all people have equal access to the internet.