Human Rights and the Internet

Today, I’m taking a break from my normal brand management posts and joining Bloggers UBloggers Unitenite in discussing human rights.

Growing up, I used to believe that we should not impose our own cultural biases on others’. To me, the issue was simple and straightforward: That’s what their world is like. If they don’t like it, they are free to leave. As I’ve come to learn, that really isn’t the case.

Yes, that is their world. But whether they like it or not is irrelevant, because for nearly all of the poorest and developing nations, they really don’t understand that there is something different available to them—a life and a world that believes in personal freedoms and equality. The education systems in those countries, if they exist, don’t support multi-cultural instruction. Even with the Internet, nations and service providers can deny access to anything they believe to be unsuitable to their own means.

Such is the case in China, among other nations. And yes, while it will pose a problem for news outlets covering the Olympics later this year, the bigger issue centers on the lack of access it citizens have to basic information outside of Chinese national control. It’s bad enough that their government is happy to imprison you for visiting unapproved, yet entirely legitimate sites.

We, on the other hand, are much more fortunate to be where we are with the human rights we enjoy. And since we have the opportunity and access available to us, it is incumbent upon us to set the example. Promote open access to the internet. Use the technology responsibly. Support those nations that follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Do you part in the nations that don’t follow the Declaration to set the example and treat the citizens with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Our own United States and many of our service providers have a few lessons to learn in this arena as well. But if we all openly support human rights and accept all that comes with those rights, we will recognize our dream of a truly world wide web.

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One Response

  1. […] Human Rights and the Internet – We, on the other hand, are much more fortunate to be where we are with the human rights we enjoy. And since we have the opportunity and access available to us, it is incumbent upon us to set the example. Promote open access to the … […]

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