Tim Berners Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web (WWW) Protocol 25 years ago, says that the access to the Internet has become a basic human need, and needs to be a fundamental human right. A recent report by the World Wide Web Foundation discusses the worldwide availability of the Internet in different countries, and the larger social and political implications of universal access.
- Accelerate progress towards getting everyone online. Poverty must not prevent anyone, anywhere from connecting. Universal access means everyone should be able to use all of the Web all of the time, safely, freely and privately.
- Level the playing field by preventing price discrimination in Internet traffic, balancing the rights of copyright holders with those of Web users, and protecting online service providers from liability for content posted by third parties. We believe that governments must recognise the Internet’s essential place in economic and social infrastructure and treat it like other public utilities.
- Invest in high-quality public education for all to ensure that technological progress doesn’t leave some groups behind.
- Promote participation in democracy and protect freedom of opinion. Fight the growing “democratic deficit” by reversing the erosion of press freedom and civil liberties seen in almost all Web Index countries in recent years; use the Web to make government more transparent to citizens; and provide stronger protections for freedom of speech, freedom of association, and privacy, both offline and on.
- Create opportunities for women and poor and marginalised groups by investing more in ICTs to overcome key barriers in health, education, agriculture and gender equity. Achieve scale and impact by involving stakeholders in identifying the specific problems that ICTs can help to solve and those it cannot, and designing properly resourced programmes to address both.