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United States International Free & Open Internet

Internet Upgrade: Access to the Internet has been declared a fundamental human right

On June 7, 2011, the United Nations released a groundbreaking and exemplary report, which deems the Internet a universal human right. The Internet, the UN argues, has now become an essential conduit to exercise freedoms of expression and opinion.

Internet supporters across the globe have lauded the report, especially in light of its focus on the important role Internet access has had in recent pro-democracy protests around the world. Online access has been recurring issue during demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa, where governments have restricted Internet access to stop democratic uprisings.

The Internet has proven to be a mobilizing tool, necessary for the future development of free societies.

The UN's act is not only symbolic of our immense reliance on Internet as a basic communication tool, but it also an important legal and political precedent for upcoming Internet policy. Although UN declarations are not legally binding, they hold significant weight in the standardization of global policies and so influence states to pursue a prescribed set of international principles.

Governments around the world are realizing the astounding impact of Internet access in society, and this recent UN resolution enables a step towards a more open and accessible digital world.