Nearly Every Human Who Has Ever Lived Denied Fundamental Human Right

From a BBC poll:

Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests.

The survey - of more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries - found strong support for net access on both sides of the digital divide.

Countries such as Finland and Estonia have already ruled that access is a human right for their citizens.

International bodies such as the UN are also pushing for universal net access.

So everyone who ever lived before about 1990 were denied a fundamental human right.  I would rewrite this study either as "80% of people have a silly definition of human rights" or probably more correctly "100% of BBC poll authors do not know how to write a good poll question."


  1. anon:

    Define "good poll question."

    For most, a good poll question is one that gives you the answer you want.

  2. LoneSnark:

    I suspect those polled answered under the assumption that it was a right to seek internet access, akin to the right to read a book. I doubt they believed it was a positive right, in that you had the right to force someone to give you internet access.

  3. Peter Schoonmkaer:

    Wait a minute. The question reads "access to the internet." It doesn't say anything about guaranteeing unlimited surfing. What the BBC poll should have asked about is "access to information."

    So saying 80 percent of people before 1990 were denied a 'basic right' is a misleading critique, just as it would be if one said 90 percent of people before 1440 were denied the basic human right to access books, because there were, for all intents and purposes, very few books before the invention of the printing press. In any case, with single digit literacy rates in the Middle Ages, information was transmitted in other ways, just as it was pre-Internet.

    The real question is, "do people have a fundamental right to have access to information?" And the answer probably should be yes, for all sorts of reasons. Should people be guaranteed an iPad and free WiFi? Of course not.

  4. Jeff:

    Porn is a fundamental right?

  5. John Moore:

    Well, not quite everyone. I first used it in 72 or 73 at UCLA.

    But of course, your point is valid.

  6. Ian Random:

    Where were these people in the 60's (okay 1969) when only the elite had access?

  7. Mesa Econoguy:

    How about “Below-average intellect journalists pushing socialist agenda invent new right for [their own] gullible audience”?

  8. Gil:

    Meh. Is electricity a right? Running water? Flush toilet? Most conveniences didn't exist throughout human history.

  9. Ron H.:

    "Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests."

    Well, isn't it? Internet access = Pursuit of Happiness :-)

  10. EdSki:

    How much you want to bet the poll was taken over the internet? Which means every person on earth who have never seen a computer was not part of the poll.

    It's no more scientific than taking a poll at a vegetarian restaurant asking how many people eat meat.