Internet: privatized commodity or right?

Josh Hafemeister

Review by Opinion Editor Josh Hafemeister
Editorial by Opinion Editor Josh Hafemeister

On Tuesday, Aug. 20, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, posted an article on his Facebook page titled “Is Connectivity a Human Right?” In this article, Zuckerberg said all people are entitled to access the Internet.
That same month, opened up to the public. As it states on the site, “ is a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts who are working together to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it.”
Zuckerberg’s goal with this site is to bring together numerous institutions, such as Samsung, Nokia, Facebook and more, to work together to inform the public and create a means to provide cheap, accessible internet to the world.
This is the Age of Information. With the touch of a button, anyone can access anything posted online anywhere at any time via an electronic device, such as a phone, laptop and more.
Millions of pages of information, from how to cook your dinner to stock market shifts and recent medical advances are all accessible online. Farmers can see up-to-date weather information and plan accordingly.
Numerous online libraries can aid students in writing their papers, or give teachers topics to discuss in their next lecture. Education becomes more easily accessible. Art, history and culture can now spread to billions across the globe.
With free Internet access, more people throughout the world have access to this wealth of knowledge, not just those who can afford the monthly Internet costs.
The Internet also provides a means of communications. Many students and teachers come from far away, be it the neighboring state or the other side of the world.
This distance can be bridged in seconds via programs like Facebook or Skype. Now reaching long-distance loved ones is as easy as talking to the student sitting next to you. People no longer need to use pen and paper to communicate.
Communication with doctors, psychiatrists and other medical practitioners is now easier with the Internet. Even in third world countries where proper medical care is scarce to non-existent, people will have access to medical professionals.
Free Internet means everyone can access these tools.
Are people around the globe entitled to free Internet access? Mark Zuckerberg is right. This is the Age of Information, and the most valuable resource of this age is the Internet.