Finland Makes Broadband a Human Right

By Deane Barker on July 1, 2010

Life, Liberty and Broadband Access – Finland Makes Internet a Right: This is really interesting.

Finland became the world leader in Internet access by making broadband every Finnish citizen’s legal right and ensuring that every citizen will have access to a 1Mbps broadband connection.

I’m sure that the idea isn’t that you should have a inalienable right to broadband, but you should have an inalienable right to free information.  Broadband is just the medium.

But, in the end, I think this insults the idea of human rights a bit.  Does inhibiting someone’s broadband fall into the same category as other crimes against humanity now?  Surely we don’t put broadband up there with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, do we?



  1. Rights, as they where defined in the American bill of rights, where always based around the idea that man should be left alone whenever possible. He should be allowed to Speak and worship in the manner that he wishes. The state couldn’t imprison him for long amounts of time without trial, or force him to take in military house guests etc.

    The problem with the newfangled “rights” is that they are not “being left alone” they require somebody to get something material. In order for something material to be given, it must be taken away from somebody else (Thus interfering with somebody else’s right to be left alone)

  2. But, in the end, I think this insults the idea of human rights a bit.

    My exact thought when I read about this; it cheapens the real human rights. What’s next? will they bring action in the UN General Assembly against other countries that don’t live up to their ideal of 1GB broadband?

    And Josh has a good point that goes back to the idea of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ rights… There are good reasons the US Bill of Rights didn’t include fluff like that.

  3. That is exactly what went wrong in Sweden when they gave everybody the right to travel by train, instead of granting free transportation. That’s why the trains are THAT good, as it should have been planes by now! :-)

  4. In order not to water down essential universal human rights such as peace, security and freedom, the wording of this ‘right to broadband’ could be clarified.

    It is actually a legal right of citizens of Finland to have broadband access, rather than a global human right principle. Unless they are providing this broadband for free to every home, then it is more of a legal protection than a service offering. For example, many countries considered implementing laws that would force ISP’s to ban users who were accused of illegal file sharing – these broadband rights are a protection, just as we wouldn’t deny any home the utility of electricity, broadband access is essential to functioning in our modern societies.

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