There has long been a struggle defining what one wants and what one needs. Not simply in the emotional or psychological sense, but in the concrete sense of continued existence as well.

Someone who made things a bit clearer, if not any easier, was Psychologist Abraham Malsow who, in the 1940s concocted a simple way of conceptualizing human need. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs ranked by level of what was needed to sustain a healthy existence.

Most of it was pretty obvious at the time and there has been a block or two added since, which only makes sense. Now, there has been put forward the argument, in all seriousness, that Internet access is a basic need in the context of modern society and ought to be recognized as a basic human right. What is more, the government should have to pay for it. The question remains, should Internet be a human right?

Internet a human right? A serious question

While at first seeming somewhat odd and even suspicious, the question of freely available Internet as a basic human need is indeed a serious argument not just made by tech addicted Millennials not wanting to pay for the media upon which they Tweet and play Angry Birds; nor is it, in fact, a continuation or disguised version of the frankly silly and personifying notion that “information wants to be free.”


First of all, in the latter case “free” is meant in terms of autonomy rather than cost, and in the argument of those who think wifi should be provided for all, it is the people who are meant to be set free.

If that sounds just a wee bit overwrought, just consider our current context. When was the last time you saw a college or university with paper application forms available anywhere other than the registrar’s office?

Great! If one happens to be from the town where the institution is located, but a bit of a tiff if one is from elsewhere, and does not, as it turns out to be the case for a surprising number of people, have easy access to the Internet where the application process can be carried out by anyone from anywhere.

Internet for one – Internet for all!

Few would deny that more and more work is going online. Even if one has a traditional office job, the Internet still plays a major role in one’s working life. What may not be fully grasped yet, it is still fairly new to be fair, is the level to which the majority of employment has become intertwined with the ability to be on the Internet.

To put things into perspective – an employment expert once stated that one would be “crazy” to even try to apply for a job without having a cell-phone. Whether it comes to applying for a job, communicating with one’s boss, co-workers or, more likely these days, clients in the case of the rising number of home-based businesses.

No…however you look at the issue, Internet connection is a requirement in the modern era. A fact which no less an institution than the United Nations recently conceded.



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Trevor McNeil spent much of his childhood playing video-games on early-form personal computers back when the disks were literally floppy. He attended the University of Victoria, completing a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Technology In Society, while also writing for the campus newspaper. He has written articles for such diverse publications as Humanity Death Watch, PopMatters and Perfect Sound Forever. He is a veteran of numerous “watershed moments” in the history of technological development and firmly believes that Han shot first.


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