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NUMERO 25 - 18/12/2013

 The internet access as a fundamental right

Technologies have represented and still represent a development of freedoms; more in details, freedoms have significantly extended their scope to new frontiers of human acting by virtue of the recent technological developments. Indeed, technologies do not only produce freedom: it would be better to say that technologies can be employed by good and bad individuals, as well as by either an open-minded government or a despotic one. In a constitutional and liberal state, however, public policy should always be aimed at fostering and extending individuals’ freedoms, and the use of technologies must be one of the strategic tools to this end. Let’s think about the Internet and its typical cross-border nature, which goes across national borders, overcomes customs boundaries and removes cultural differences between various people. Also, with respect to the Internet, it is still a problem to distinguish the different freedoms in order to achieve a holistic model of freedom: whoever has access to the Internet, in fact, expresses himself/herself, joins communities, communicates, in the manners that he/she prefers. Different freedoms are therefore enforced by the same medium, i.e. the Internet, at the same time or at very closed times. Of course, there is another point in return: virtual barriers are raised instead of real barriers. In fact, there are some countries (illiberal, of course) that have built electronic barriers in order to avoid the access to part of their global network, by the removal of words, names, and keywords from search engines or by violating personal data of individuals. New information barriers have been raised in part of the world, where videos or blogs are the samizdat of the present days. These factors, however, confirm the liberal spirit of the Internet, and the fear by which non-tolerant countries approach technologies, because they feel the Internet as a threat to their absolute power. The Internet can be – as it was, for example, in the so called “Arab spring” – an important tool for increasing democracy, also because it guarantees the transparency of the political acting by a pluralism of news and information which circulate over the Internet, allowing citizens to see-know-share... (segue)

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