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

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced the 2018-19 schedule, featuring nine tourn ...

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.