A new non-binding resolution from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has declared that public Internet access should not be disrupted by governments or governmental agencies. While not quite declaring access to the Internet a human right, the statement does affirm that the same rights people have offline should also be protected online – in particular, the aspect of freedom of expression covered by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The resolution was passed by majority rather than universal consensus, which means that there were some notable dissenters. It won’t come as much of a surprise to many that the authoritarian regimes of Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia – all of whom have a notably sketchy attitude towards human rights in general – opposed the motion. Disappointingly, South Africa, another nation that has governance trust issues, also voted down the motion, as did India, a democratic nation in name, but not always in practice.
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