« If I weren't working today... | Main | Mad Libs Style Forms »

Internet a Fundamental Right?

By mehera o'brien on March 08, 2010

Categories: Current Affairs, Web/Tech

According to a BBC News survey, it is. And I'd agree. 

This morning as I listened to the BBC while getting ready for work, they talked about a small village in Africa that is completely cut off from the information superhighway, a term I hadn't heard in awhile. The news reporter made a comment asking viewers to remember the first time we got email, which brought me back to my Cornell University email account. It was 1994. Everyone knew everyone else by their 'netID'. Mine was (and still is) mjo5. My friend Karen - kkw24. Liz - eah8. I'd taken a Pascal programming class in high school, having no concept of where programming skills could ever take me. Same with my numerous art classes. Little did I know that technology and graphic design and concept formation would be the basis of my paycheck years later. 

I remembered all this as I got ready for work, and thought about how the web, especially social media and its grassroots fueling of everything important to me in today's digital age, has built who I am. From what I do for a living to who I am a a person. The thought of not having these things is, quite frankly, heart breaking. And leaves me wondering how different my life would be. 

I'm hoping the internet-connected mobile phones the news report was talking about make it to the village. I'd surely be willing to pay for one. Just send me the donation link. 



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Internet a Fundamental Right? :


I'm old enough to remember life before the interwebs. Or mobile phones. Or phone calls so cheap you don't really care how long you talk to people not in the same dialing code.

I have a friend who is now in Africa, working for a humanitarian charity - and she has internet access. It's slow, unreliable, and generally annoying. But she's in a place that is almost a warzone, a long way from the big cities, and wobbly internet is the least of everyone's worries.

And still - they have internet access. I can see her facebook updates - no photo uploads, no farmville, but keeping in touch.

To old codgers like me, this really is like living in the future.

My father was a sailor. My earliest memories revolve around some lucky (and eye-wateringly expensive) evenings when there were enough merchant vessels/satellites/ground based radio stations for my mother, sister and I to huddle around the telephone and hear our father's voice from somewhere halfway around the globe. Now, we get tweets from outer space.

All I want now is my jetpack.

The comments to this entry are closed.


Foxes + Sparrows looks at how professionals who started in traditional user experience roles have transitioned to broader ones... Read More