Finland Makes Internet Access a Fundamental Right

Finland Makes Internet Access a Fundamental Right

Country’s communication minister Suvi Linden says that “Internet services are no longer just for entertainment,” and that his govt has no plans for a “three-strikes” regime to punish illegal file-sharers with disconnection.

Earlier this month I mused about whether or not Internet access should be a civil right. Finland has made this thought a reality, becoming the first country in the world to make Internet access a fundamental right. As of yesterday, all ISPs in the country are required to ensure that each citizen has access to at least a 1Mbps speed connection.

“We considered the role of the internet in Finns everyday life,” Finland’s communication minister Suvi Linden told the BBC. “Internet services are no longer just for entertainment. Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago we realized not everyone had access.”

The new law means also means that file-sharers cannot be disconnected per a “three-strikes” regime that copyright holders have been promoting around the globe.

“We will have a policy where operators will send letters to illegal file-sharers but we are not planning on cutting off access,” added Linden.

It’s worth mentioning that France’s Constitutional Council struck down an early version of that country’s “three-strikes” law for being unconstitutional, finding that the Internet is essential for the “free communication of thoughts,” and therefore full civic participation in a democratic society.

If countries make Internet access a fundamental right then anti-piracy efforts will certainly get much more complicated. Critics of the effort say that “it’s a privilege, not a right,” but since when did being able to fully participate in a democratic society and to express ideas and opinions become a “privilege?”

Internet access is a fundamental right in my opinion, and it’s nice to see that at least one country in the world agrees with me.

Stay tuned

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