78% of adults believe Internet access a fundamental right; 50% want no regulation

78% of adults believe Internet access a fundamental right; 50% want no regulation

Summary: Four of every five adults believe access to the Internet is a fundamental right, and more than half believe it should never be regulated, according to a new survey.

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TOPICS: Browser, China
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Four of every five adults believe access to the Internet is a fundamental right, and more than half believe it should never be regulated, according to a new survey.

In a BBC World Service poll of 27,000 adults in 26 countries, 78 percent of Internet users believed the Internet is a fundamental right -- with particularly strong response in South Korea and China.

Nine in 10 adults said the Internet was a good place to learn.

Respondents in the U.S. ranked comparatively above average in believing that the Internet offers greater freedom. Americans were also more confident than most in expressing their opinions online.

That's in contrast to Japan, where 65 percent of respondents said they did not feel they could express their opinions safely online. That feeling was echoed in South Korea, France, Germany and China.

Across all nations, more than half agreed that the "Internet should never be regulated by any level of government anywhere." South Korea, Nigeria and Mexico responded particularly strong to this point, while Pakistan (12 percent), Turkey (13 percent) and China (16 percent) were the least likely to agree.

More than 70 percent of respondents in Japan, Mexico and Russia said they could not live without the Internet.

More data points:

  • Almost 50 percent said they most valued the Internet's ability to find information.
  • More than 30 percent valued the Internet for their ability to interact and communicate with others.
  • 12 percent saw the Internet as a source for entertainment.

Fraud was the greatest concern for users, according to the survey, ranking ahead of violent and explicit content and privacy threats.

Topics: Browser, China

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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117 comments
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  • A sad day when so many americans

    are so clueless about what a fundamental right is and where they come
    from.
    frgough
    • Inalienable means you are born with them.

      Not sure if it is a legal concept in the U.S.A. but inalienable means that in theory citizens of the U.S.A. are born with their rights and they can not be taken from them with out due process.

      Most people think somehow "the government" gives you rights but in theory, they can't, you have your rights and you have your responsibilities that go along with those rights.

      Once people believe "the government" gives them rights of course it follows that "the government" can take those rights away.
      mr1972
      • Disagree

        Without governments you have NO rights. It is called lawlessness and anarchy. There are no inalienable rights, only survival of the fittest.

        Once you have governments and laws as well as the institutions to enforce the laws, you MAY have rights, but only those granted by laws and that society is willing to enforce. So-called rights without the backing of institutions to enforce them, are no rights at all, only wishful thinking.
        Economister
        • I disagree

          Unless we all know where our inalienable rights come from, agree or not on the source, then government can and will revoke them because it's the nature of the mankind in power to do so.

          The source of our rights a cultural in nature, not governmental.

          Rights exist within anarchies, however they are not uniform. They reside in the individual.

          In our nation, until recently, our inalienable rights, (life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness) were agreed by all by way of cultural acceptance, to have been handed down by way of the divinity and are therefore unable to be revoked by man. Great idea and cannot be argued against reasonably by any thinking person, yet we have people, unbelievers, who think this is a stupid idea. These are stupid people. And they run our country.
          People
          • Stupid people; stupid ideas

            "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" have nothing to do with culture or divinity, they are simply enshrined in law. Trying to somehow elevate them into inalienable rights granted by a higher power is simply a case of blind faith (ie NOT thinking), and has absolutely nothing to do with the realities of this world.
            Economister
          • Stupid people, stupid ideas.

            First of. "Blind Faith" /= "NOT thinking". It takes a fair amount of rationalization for one to get to the point of demonstrating blind faith. It's unnatural to do so. To make such a claim is unthinking in itself.

            "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is an idea that must be first embraced, agreed, and then accepted before being made into law. Besides that, these inalienable rights granted to all men as declared by the declaration of independence, the ideas from which the law of the land derives many of its bill of rights.

            Sounds to me that you disagree with the idea that certain inalienable rights are granted by God and therefore cannot be revoked by mankind. How can even a blind faith follower of Atheism (I'm not accusing you) be against this? Do we not want life, liberty, or the ability to pursue your own happiness to be a right granted to all people?

            I understand the reality. Once the culture disagree with the idea that these rights are granted by God and can be revoked, then they will be revoked as there is no incentive, by way of faith, to hold these values (rights) sacred and will then be taken away for the betterment of the power of those who hold it.

            Basic civics.
            People
          • Study some history...

            and you may get a better grip on reality. In addition, I find the words "faith" and "faithful" offensive in a religious context, because they strongly imply the total lack of independent though and judgment. It is not a badge of honor IMHO.

            Religion (or superstition, take your pick) has ALWAYS served two purposes:

            1. To explain/control that which we do not understand.

            2. To control the masses by creating codes of conduct, beneficial to those who created them.

            Nothing more, nothing less. If you are willing to be manipulated, that is your choice.
            Economister
          • Wrong on both accounts econ.

            But point two reads like the role of government, something often a replacement for those so easily dismiss religion in general.
            People
          • Additional purposes

            Religion has also served another purposes, perhaps its most important - the promotion of hope.
            Dr. John
          • Misunderstood

            I have enjoyed reading your ever more belligerent ranting between the two of you. Keep going.

            I would just add that to suggest that the slavers who 'granted' the 'rights' of "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" were flawed men, not God, not better than you or me and certainly they had no intention of granting these rights to any brown, black, yellow or red skinned peoples.

            They are not granted by God but are a polemic designed in Europe and exported by a single strand of a single faith.

            They are a good starting point but not the answer.

            Faith in God is not a good enough, realistic enough or strong enough 'incentive' to hold these rights. My God might not be your God. Are you sure you have the best God. Is your God Allah? Is my God Jehovah?

            The only hope for us is us. I think free will is part of the Christian doctrine. So surely Christ's teachings tell you to have faith in yourself on earth. He might sort it out once you leave here but while here it is your responsibility.

            Blind faith is not thinking. Faith however can be discussed and rationalised.

            Keep going I'm enjoying your thoughts.

            Regards,
            Hugh
            hugh@...
          • Economister is a Communist, debate is pointless...

            Folks, why are you wasting your time trying to have a reasonable debate with Economister? He is an obvious Communist, so in his mind the only correct point of view is his. All others are the products of small minds, and tyranny is the only way to deal with the "uninformed".

            He encourages us to learn history. His favorite history includes such great figures as Marx, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Castro. I would guess from the hundreds of millions of people his heroes have slaughtered that you can guess what his solution would be for your stupidity.
            robajoseph15
          • You sure made a contribution.

            You seem to know things about me that I don't even know. Way to go.

            Next time you intend to post, stay off the drugs.
            Economister
          • Divinity Has Nothing to do with It

            There is, what you call "Divinity" all over the earth and yet people are repressed and even killed regularly. There is no universal right to anything. If you believe in the judeo-christian bible, then god gave us ten commandments (maybe more if Moses dropped a few tablets). These ten commandments are routinely disregarded by people and governments. Some have "excuses" and others don't. But "Life, Liberty and the persuit of happiness" was not spelled out anywhere.

            As for the Internet, I'm sure God is working on another tablet as we speak. There are no real regulations on "the Internet" at this point. There used to be in the early days when only the military (.MIL), the government (.GOV), the universities doing military research (.EDU) and the commercial companies working on government contracts (.COM) a "closed" use of the Internet. There never was a .PER (personal) and I suspect there really won't be. Your access to the Internet (as well as your phone service) is controlled, watched and monitored by government agencies through the FCC, NSA, CIA, FBI and your Internet provider. I don't call that unregulated. It's just a matter of how much controlling is done and by whom. China probably does a lot of contrlling, for example. Sorry, but divinity has nothing to do with it. Otherwise, we'd never die, would we?
            hforman@...
          • You missed my point entirely.

            Your cynicism has closed your mind. Try being open to ideas, learn your history, and try again.
            People
          • Weak

            [i]"There is no universal right to anything."[/i]

            "We hold these truths to be self evident...".
            If they're self evident, they need not be spelled out. Therefore, they're not. It's self evident that water is wet. It's not spelled out because it's not necessary.

            As regards the Ten Commandments, I think you failed to take note of the stipulation of free will. Man wasn't forced to follow the Commandments. He had a choice. Free will.

            As for divinity never allowing us to die, that would be a different design. If we maintained the same design, but eliminated death, people would be stacked 20 deep and miserable.
            Dr. John
        • Rights Come From God.

          All rights come from God. Governments take rights. We are born free and give rights to the government. Laws are written because we elect representatives to represent us in government.

          Internet access is not a right anymore then health care.
          bkimsey@...
          • Abdication of thought.....

            makes for very irrational arguments. Since you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there even is a God, your argument has no merit whatsoever. Your position just makes you feel good because it conforms with values and views that you were brain washed with as a child.
            Economister
          • Since we are getting off topic

            You have absolutely no evidence that there isn't a God, therefor your arguments to the contrary have no merit.


            So, with that, where is the threat in basing rights, such good ones, being granted to all of mankind by God, real or imagined?
            People
          • Fallacy

            You seem sure there is a God, I have seen no evidence. I have no proof there is no God, but the history of the universe including this earth and the life on it, as well as the historical and current conduct of those who claim to be of the faithful, leads me to certain strong views on the matter. If I were a betting man, I would assess the odds of there being a God as very slim. As a logical consequence, anything supposedly divine makes me very suspicious, including "inalienable" rights.

            So you see, I still contemplate the possibility, but consider it extremely unlikely, bases on evidence. You just seem to believe, with no supporting evidence whatsoever. Therein lies a HUGE difference.
            Economister
          • Still off topic

            Well that just silly. I have no evidence that Love exists either. Does that mean that it doesn't exist?
            BullDozerBlog