Four in five adults (79%) regard internet access as their fundamental right, according to a new global poll conducted across 26 countries for BBC World Service.
The poll of more than 27,000 adults conducted by GlobeScan found that 87 per cent of those who used the internet felt that internet access should be “the fundamental right of all people.” More than seven in ten (71%) non-internet users also felt that they should have the right to access the web.
Of interest are concerns over Government control of online content and bandwidth, and threats to privacy. However, those questions vary in terms of priority depending on country.
The poll also showed that most internet users feel that the internet should not be regulated by governments. More than half (53%) of internet users agreed that “the internet should never be regulated by any level of government anywhere”—including large majorities in South Korea (83%), Nigeria (77%), and Mexico (72%). Forty-four per cent admitted that they did not think they could cope without the internet. Many more felt this way in Japan (84%), Mexico (81%), and Russia (71%), while fewer felt they could not cope without the internet in Pakistan (19%), the Philippines (21%), Turkey (27%), Brazil, and India (both 29%).
Asked what aspect of the internet they most valued, people most commonly identified the ability to find information of all sorts (47%), with its next most popular aspect being the ability to interact and communicate with people (32%). The internet’s roles as a source of entertainment (12%), as a tool to locate, research, and buy products and services (5%), and as a forum for creativity and sharing of content (3%) were less commonly mentioned as its most valuable aspect.
The poll also found that fraud was the aspect of the internet that caused people most concern, with 32 per cent saying it was what worried them most. Fraud emerged as a greater public concern than violent and explicit content, which was mentioned by 27 per cent, and threats to privacy, which were the major concern of one in five people (20%).
So, will we see any country soon enshrine universal access to the internet as a right for its citizens? Is there a political party in Canada willing to include such a right as an election platform?
What do you think?