Finland Proclaims Internet Access a Civil Right

Suvi Linden, Finland??s communication minister, announced that Internet access is considered to be no longer for entertainment only, and the country??s government does not plan to introduce a ???three-strikes???-style regime allowing to punish unauthorized file-sharers with cutting off the Internet

There have been a lot of discussions on the topic of whether Internet access should be a fundamental right or not. Finland seems to have come to a clear conclusion it should, appearing to be the first country in the world to accept Internet access as a civil right. Last week, all Internet service providers in Finland were demanded by the government to make sure that each person in the country has access to 1Mbps speed connection at the very least.

Finland??s communication minister admits that the government considered the role of the Internet in the everyday life of its citizens. They came to a conclusion that the Internet services are no longer used for entertainment only. Finland has a long story of developing a current information society; however, a few years ago they realized that not each citizen had had access.

This new legislation also ensures that file-sharers can??t be deprived of this fundamental right by being disconnected under a ???three-strikes??? regime that rights owners have been promoting all over the world. Suvi Linden adds that the government is going to adopt a policy where ISPs will send out warning letters to unauthorized file-sharers, but never disconnect people.

It partly reminds of France??s Constitutional Council striking down a previous version of this ???three-strikes??? legislation, because it has been unconstitutional. The government found Internet to be essential for the free communication, and thereby complete civic participation in a democratic society.

One should note that with this trend of countries making Internet access a civil right, the copyright holders?? anti-piracy efforts will automatically become much more complicated. Of course, critics of this trend keep saying that it is not a right, but rather a privilege, but some countries start thinking that the ability to express opinions and ideas and fully participate in a democratic society can hardly be called a ???privilege???. It??s nice to see that some countries are making such decisive attempts to confirm it.

geek_swivel, Jul 11, 11:07 am

It's not a right, it's a communication medium. You have no more right to an internet connection than you do a phoneline, cellphone, computer, car, etc. as all of those things are privileges that can be taken away if you abuse them.
Freedom of speech isn't even an issue as you are free to say what you like regardless of being online or not, you are even entitled to freedom of speech online - if you don't abuse it.

geek_cybertao, Jul 11, 11:17 am