NEW YORK: Almost 4.4 billion people, most of them in developing countries, still have no access to Internet; the Web Index said affordable access to Internet should be recognised as a human right.
Tim Berners-Lee said the Internet can help tackle inequality but only if it comes with the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. The Briton, who launched the Web in 1990, made the remarks as he released his World Wide Web Foundation’s latest report tracking the Internet’s global impact.
The Web Index found that laws preventing mass online surveillance are weak or nonexistent in more than 84% of countries. It also said that almost 40% of surveyed countries were blocking sensitive online content to a “moderate or extreme degree,” and that half of all Web users live in countries that severely restrict their rights online.
“It’s time to recognize the Internet as a basic human right,” Berners-Lee said. “That means guaranteeing affordable access for all, ensuring Internet packets are delivered without commercial or political discrimination, and protecting the privacy and freedom of Web users regardless of where they live.”
Denmark, Finland, and Norway were ranked as top overall, meaning they were best at using the Internet for economic, political and social progress. At the bottom of a list of 86 countries were Yemen, Myanmar and Ethiopia.