The United Nations has explicitly reaffirmed its importance: “[k]nowledge, more than ever, is power” (as cited in Best, 2004). To show their sincerity, the U.N. has made a declaration stating that the access to the Internet is one of the fundamental human rights. However, it is a wonder why the U.N. bothered to make such kind of declaration.
Michael L. Best (2004) discovered certain aspect of symmetry of information rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He quoted Article 19 of the Declaration saying that people have the right to “hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers” (Best, 2004). The words “seek” and “receive” refer to the access of, but not limited to, the Internet. Best (2004) claimed that those words sound like the information rights.
On the other hand, the Internet seems to be perceived as “ubiquitous” in our contemporary epoch (Halpin, Hick, & Hoskins, 2000). In fact, Internet cafes can be found almost in every corner. It’s either you are with it or not (Halpin et al., 2000). It is interesting to note though about the sharp contrast between the ubiquitous appearance of the Internet and the presence of a wide digital divide. Ultimately, the difference is the asymmetry between the Internet and its access.
But why is the Internet access a human right? Best appears to be puzzled by this inquiry. He then made an attempt to review the debate -- although it seems a blasé -- connected to the digital divide. To his mind, the right to information requires the Internet “to some extent” (Best, 2004). There are three things that one could decipher on Best’s “to some extent:” (1) when books and other information materials go extinct like the prehistoric dinosaurs; (2) when, at certain time and place, information materials are nonexistent but the Internet; and (3) when ideas and information offered in the available