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

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.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor on

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.

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