Opinion

Connectivity is a crucial right

Every person on campus has access to WirelessCanes. We can surf the Internet using laptops and connect to Wi-Fi on our smartphones. We also have hundreds of computers at our disposal.

UM students don’t need to worry about the cost of Internet, how much data they can use, or how to go about gathering information. But five billion people on this planet can’t say the same.

Two weeks ago, Facebook asked the question heard around the world: Is connectivity a human right? Founder Mark Zuckerberg thinks it is, and that’s why his company has set out on a long-term mission to connect everyone on the planet via the Internet.

Adopted by the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to … seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media …”

Most people in the United States use the Internet everyday – perhaps every hour – to seek out information and communicate with others. It’s considered an extension of free expression. Take that away from Americans and there would be an uproar. But they also have their basic needs met.

People in developing countries are concerned less about access to the Internet and more about access to clean water, food and shelter. Thus, this may not be the most pressing issue of our generation, but it is one worth addressing.

Zuckerberg says that the global knowledge economy – one that is based on intellectual capital – is the reason why this effort is so important. The Internet creates jobs and company gains, contributing to the gross domestic product.

More importantly, Internet technology, social networks in particular, helps us connect and communicate more effectively. This leads to greater understanding of and respect for other cultures. It also makes people aware of problems in the world and gives them the ability to learn how to fix them.

It’s easy to see why certain governments around the globe would be opposed to such an idea. Knowledge is power. And undemocratic institutions would be fearful of an increase in knowledge.

Consider the Arab Spring. Media outlets and political experts say that the Internet spawned the revolutions in the Middle East. Access to foreign messages and the ability to share these new ideas on the Internet sparked protests.

This is a perfect example of why connectivity should be increased. Knowledge may be power, but knowledge is also freedom: the freedom to improve the world around you, through innovations that are a boon to the GDP or starting your own revolution.

Yes, Facebook, connectivity is a human right. We’re thankful for the Internet access that allowed us to log onto your webpage, read the letter from Zuckerberg, and gain the knowledge to realize that.

 

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

 
September 8, 2013

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Welcome to Bulletin Board Material, the Miami Herald’s weekday roundup covering everything in the So ...

RJ McIntosh grew up loving the University of Miami. So did Mark Walton. After all, both are from Sou ...

They have made their lists and checked them (at least) twice. And now, the final NFL draft boards fr ...

Remember Trent Harris, the Miami Hurricanes' sack leader everyone respected and raved about, th ...

The Hurricanes wrapped up spring with a big, as in 6-5 and 290 pounds, surprise on Saturday. Four-st ...

University of Miami graduates will hear from a group of extraordinary leaders during this year’s com ...

Cross-curricular performances by Frost School of Music students and faculty increase community aware ...

High-tech space helmet technology, a lifelike infant simulator and 3D printing are featured at the U ...

The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and NOAA have worked together for more than ...

The Energy and Conservation Organization was recognized with the 2018 Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foot ...

After a double-bye, the fourth-seeded and No. 15-ranked Miami women's tennis team begins ACC Ch ...

The Hurricanes will compete in the 54-hole Austin Regional at the University of Texas Golf Club from ...

The Hurricanes are headed to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete at the inaugural National Relay Champion ...

For the final time in his storied career, Miami head coach Jim Morris and his Hurricanes will make t ...

The Hurricanes fell behind in the middle innings and could not recover Wednesday, dropping a midweek ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.