You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 08, 2016, 02:11:51 AM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.  (Read 3083 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2011, 08:47:52 AM »
This quote really gets at the heart of the matter. This proposition is not forcing companies to offer internet service at such-and-such a price or that they absolutely must give all those darn freeloading poor people a hundred free internets with every bundle of food stamps. Something tells me the UN probably isn't about to get all up in the US's business and tell us where to install new lines just as they haven't forced us into universal healthcare.

Precisely. The edge of this is more aimed at countries like Qatar that visibly have a huge amount of money and where a thin upper crust have all the broadband and xboxes they can dream of but the big majority of the people have access only through internet cafés and expensive smartphones, much more expensive than in the West where your cell phone is routinely subsidized, the price being set off against the subscription - if they have any access at all. Or where the regime and its henchmen have the web to themselves but no one else in the country is allowed to speak up or set up online communities. -And anyway, the UN has no power to use a declaration of something being a human right, or even  the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, directly as a book of law and drub it into the heads of states to make them obey. This is essentially a statement of intent aimed at public debate all over the world.

The secondary edge of it is, I would say, aimed at countries that want to legislate to cut a household off from the web if one of its computers has been used for illegal filesharing etc (France or the UK). Again, it's not really about UN intervention and in any case the European Union, in fall 2009, formulated a law that put up powerful barriers against such measures by member states. That provision (known as "amendment 46" of a big telecoms law package) was the outcome of active public debate all through Europe and voted through, and partly written, by the EU parliament, so it could claim solid popular backing right from the start. Unlike the UN we're talking real law here that's essentially binding for all EU member states and will be merged into national codes of law.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 09:11:01 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Xajow

Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2011, 01:50:19 PM »
I'd like to get some elaboration of how the difference comes out in practice to you. Governments should not be allowed to block users' access to the internet - is it complete blocking of all the people (as happened briefly in Egypt in January) you're thinking of, or do you also oppose on principle the targeted blocking of some kinds of content (beyond stuff like child porn and instructions for making terrorist bomb belts, cause I reckon most people would be okay with bringing such sites to court and getting those pages offline) and/or for certain users? As for the internet being a human right, I suppose you mean while blocking is wrong, governments and public agencies have no obligation to help granting access to the web to people in general, no matter how much of the fabric of society comes to rely on the web? Is that what you're after?
I also do not believe the government has any obligation to provide me with a printing press or with books for penny prices just so I can have access to every book they way wealthy people do. I do not believe the government has an obligation to provide people with television sets or the equipment to produce their own television shows. Similarly, I do not believe the government is obligated to provide people with access to the internet.

Do I oppose on principle blocking some kinds of content, beyond child porn and bomb making instructions? Beyond them? Your question is a bit difficult to follow. Are you asking if I am against child porn? Yes, I am. Are you asking if I am against child porn being against the law? No, I'm not. Are you asking if I am against preventing illegal activity on the internet? In general, I am not. Are you asking if there is something beyond child porn I would block from being spread on the internet? Possibly any more stories about John Edwards. (Joke.) Are you asking me if bomb making instructions should be banned from the internet? No, I don't believe they should. But that is a whole other discussion.

Well, I admit I think governments, states and city councils are obliged to be proactive and to be a few steps ahead in catching the challenges of the future. Nobody takes part in the election of a parliament and a government to have them just sit and roll their thumbs, executing routine administrative business, without addressing what is happening in the country and in the wider world.
Perhaps not, but then I think the government has plenty to do without trying to ensure everyone has access to the internet. It does quite a lot already that it does not need to do. Adding yet one more thing to the list of things government is expected to do, i.e. control, doesn't really sound like a good plan to me.

First off, most of us pay taxes and the government has an obligation to use that money (and money it can borrow on good terms for large investments, beyond that) to keep the country abreast of what is going on. Just as most people can't set up their own fire brigade or their own waterworks and sewage network, there are severe limits to taking 100% charge of internet infrastructure for yourself.
Who said anything about any one person having to set up his own internet infrastructure? Who expects that to happen? Nobody, that's who.

The web, and access to it, is not a zero-sum operation, and hasn't been since it went fully public in 1991. In many ways, the internet has been growing by pulling masses of people in. And at the same time, as a mirror of this, the old "hand-to-hand" ways of carrying out a multitude of things have been taken down or have become embarrassingly expensive and slow to use. As Serephine pointed out, we are now expected to use digital checks, bills and money orders and despatch them ourselves online. Going to the bank to cash in a money order at the counter, or to transfer a hundred bucks to your cousin's account or to your electricity provider, now carries a big extra fee (it does in every bank I know of around here and probably in most major U.S. banks too) and there are few personnel to deal with this kind of thing. If you walk in you may well get to wait forty-five minutes while you watch the people behind the counter looking at their screens, typing, chatting and, very sparsely, taking on a customer at the counter. My time is too precious to waste on that, but customers have never really been asked if they wanted it that way: it's simply been changed unilaterally because home and office pc's have become such a fixture.

Many tv channels today have their news desks redirect the viewers to "our web site" all the time for more information. If you're constricted to analog tv only (no cable or satellite channels), what you get is essentially meager bare-bones information and some nice pictures; without web access you're simply not given anything like the full picture (I am not thinking of 24-hour news networks like CNN here, but national allround networks, but even CNN and BBC News rely heavily on the web to expand their range. You might feel that the idea of public service tv is socialist in itself, but many people wouldn't agree.

As I pointed out before, if you don't get a pc and a reliable connection at home within, at most, a year of starting - and have that kind of thing accessible at libraries or elsewhere before then -  then studying at college or university today is a waste of time and of a great deal of money: it would simply be impossible to keep up with what's expected. Even in many high schools and in primary education, teachers will routinely expect the kids to do their homework aided by the internet, looking for news, facts and pictures and communicating by e-mail. If you're off all that, you simply can't achieve top results, no matter how bright a student we're talking of.

Education, to many people, is the highway to becoming an active grown-up citizen with decent prospects and a say in your own future, so if education now relies heavily on web access, then it's simply not enough to say "what you need for education is just a book collection, lecture halls, energy, pen and paper and good wits - and if you can't make it on those terms, tough luck, then you didn't have what it takes". That's plainly not true anymore, and states and public agencies need to work from the standard that the web is now an inalienable part of our lives, therefore, a human right.
No it is not an inalienable part of our lives. That's just silly. Inalienable means it cannot be taken away or transferred to another person. As best I can tell, neither one of those is true about internet access.

These days most universities, libraries and even many grade schools now offer internet access. So it's not as if students without internet access at home are bereft of the opportunity to compete in education.

I am not aware of banks charging a big fee for using a paper check to pay a bill. But perhaps you should define what you mean by big fee. You say if you walk into the bank you may get to wait 45 minutes. And this is different from before the internet was widely used for banking exactly how? You say customers have never been asked if they want this. No one asked me if I wanted to wait for 30-60 minutes at the DMV either, but it happens anyway.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 02:33:48 PM by Xajow »

Offline Oniya

  • StoreHouse of Useless Trivia
  • Oracle
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Just bouncing through. Hi! City of Roses, Pennsylvania
  • Gender: Female
  • One bad Motokifuka. Also cute and FLUFFY!
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2011, 02:21:53 PM »
This is a listing of the various checking accounts at Bank of America.

https://www1.bankofamerica.com/efulfillment/documents/91-11-3000ED.20110429.htm#f2

It's easy to miss, but if you look at the difference between the eBanking account (designed for customers who use self-service options for deposits and withdrawals and choose to get their account statements electronically through Online Banking) and the MyAccess Checking, there is a little bullet point buried about halfway into the block: Make deposits to and write checks from your account with no per check fee.  (Emphasis mine)

Since this is a 'feature' of the MyAccess account (and the other two accounts beyond it that specify having the same features as MyAccess), then that means that there is a per-check fee for the eBanking account.

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2011, 04:08:50 PM »
This is a listing of the various checking accounts at Bank of America.

https://www1.bankofamerica.com/efulfillment/documents/91-11-3000ED.20110429.htm#f2

It's easy to miss, but if you look at the difference between the eBanking account (designed for customers who use self-service options for deposits and withdrawals and choose to get their account statements electronically through Online Banking) and the MyAccess Checking, there is a little bullet point buried about halfway into the block: Make deposits to and write checks from your account with no per check fee.  (Emphasis mine)

Since this is a 'feature' of the MyAccess account (and the other two accounts beyond it that specify having the same features as MyAccess), then that means that there is a per-check fee for the eBanking account.

Yes, around here having a self-service deal for paper bills and checks (sending them via snail mail in service envelopes) costs around 25 bucks a year with most providers. If you don't have a subscription and want to pay that way just very occasionally, but still having it linked to your main bank account, the cost is several dollars for just one despatch (of one or more bills or money transfers) so if the customer insists on leaving his own paper trail, the only sensible thing is to get annual subscription

But when I was saying that paying a bill, sending money to a friend or cashing in a check or money order in the bank entails a prohibitive price every time, as opposed to doing those things online, I meant just that - having it done at the counter in the bank (or post office, but it's the same there). Any bank you ask here charges the eq. of 8-10$ to even handle that kind of thing at the counter. My local bank office (a major branch of one of the leading banks in the country) doesn't handle any business involving cash, actual bank notes, after 1 p.m., so if it's five days before the next wage is in and you need to add funds to your bank account because you have a bill that has to be paid on time or some automated withdrawal coming, then it can't be done. They do have a machine in the entrance for making money input to your accounts or to others in the same bank, and tha one is open late into the vening, but it's sometimes broken or willful. Most banks don't have that kind of gadget because it's seen as a money laundering hazard, but they can be just as reluctant to handle cash errands.

Now, if you don't have the option of accessing your account online, at work or at home, and doing the transfers you need to do, or if you actually get money orders on paper from insurance, from customers or from the dole, and they are not sending it digitally to your account, then you need to actually turn those into real money and that's something you can only do at the bank or post office. For some mysterious reason, people who don't have internet at home tend more often than not, to be the same people who have been out of work for some time or who are low on education.

Three years ago when I bought a clothing item on Ebay from England, i realized there was no way to send a money order of 15 pounds in the mail, to be withdrawn from my bank account and recounted in GBP to the seller in the UK without me paying more than that sum in bank fees (I live in Sweden). The recipient would have had to pay an extra fee too. She didn't have paypal or a company account so the money couldn't be sent electronically, without a receipt, and banks here had stopped offering any option for direct, cheap money orders to someone abroad on paper. I ended up just sending her the bills in an envelope, fifteen guineas. That kind of payment is clearly a casualty of the internet; without online access people get forced to difficult and expensive solutions.

Quote from: Xajow
I am not aware of banks charging a big fee for using a paper check to pay a bill. But perhaps you should define what you mean by big fee. You say if you walk into the bank you may get to wait 45 minutes. And this is different from before the internet was widely used for banking exactly how? You say customers have never been asked if they want this. No one asked me if I wanted to wait for an 30-60 minutes at the DMV either, but it happens anyway.

Before the internet became widespread, service for ordinary day-to-day customers - not people who were out to consolidate their stocks and bonds portfolios, but people who came in to cash in money orders, pay bills and take loans - was a lot more vigorous than it is now, and having to wait more than twenty minutes was quite unusual. Everyone can see why the banks have redisposed their workforce (they don't make any money on that kind of customer, though they still lend out the money those folks have in the bank to others) but this isn't something their customers were asked about - and unlike car maintenance, the bank is something we have to be involved with every other week, some on an almost daily basis. Only many of us are happy to do bank errnads and bills at home these days. Some can't afford that luxury.

Quote from: Xajow
These days most universities, libraries and even many grade schools now offer internet access. So it's not as if students without internet access at home are bereft of the opportunity to compete in education.

Ever tried to write essays, papers and reports, two or three a week sometimes and revised and checked against data that are only easily accessible online, checking your pages in several steps - doing that on library pc's during library hours *only*, and achieving impressive results? Didn't think so. It's feasible for maybe the first term of a subject, but no more than that. Once you're expected to prepare presentations of "current issues in this field" or longer, more advanced texts, and do that two or three a week, perhaps for different courses you're taking, it becomes impossible to keep up the pace and make the texts match your intentions, dedication and skills. And if you don't keep up the pace for the first two terms (and each new year after) you're plainly not getting further in most subjects because no cash; endowments and loans depend firmly on your achieving expected study results. Unless your family will pay your way, that is.

Besides, if the libraries in a town have fifty online pc's, how much does that suffice to serve tens of thousands of high school and college students as long as these don't have connected pc's - or any pc's - at home? In your time, in the infancy of the internet, it was no doubt possible to deliver homework typed or handwritten without giving an impression of shoddiness to the professors. That's no longer the case. Smooth computer print-outs are expected today, and anyone can tell you how the thing looks matters in academic competition.

I notice you made no reply to my post earlier on this page. Must be because it nails some key issues about the UN pronouncement, and about states and citizens, issues which you don't want to touch upon.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 04:24:33 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Xajow

Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2011, 04:29:59 PM »
Before the internet became widespread, service for ordinary day-to-day customers - not people who were out to consolidate their stocks and bonds portfolios, but people who came in to cash in money orders, pay bills and take loans - was a lot more vigorous than it is now, and having to wait more than twenty minutes was quite unusual.
When I have to go cash a check at the bank, I rarely have to wait more than ten minutes, and waiting that long is rare. Of course, I go at about 2:00 in the p.m. usually. Maybe you have to wait longer at rush hour, but I would be surprised if the wait was statistically longer now than it used to be.

Ever tried to write essays, appers and reports, two or three a week sometimes and revised and checked against data that are only easily accessible online, checking your pages in several steps - doing that on library pc's during library hours *only*, and achieving impressive results? Didn't think so. [...] I notice you made no reply to my post earlier on this page. Must be because it nails some key issues about the UN pronouncement, and about states and citizens, issues which you don't want to touch upon.
Do I even need to participate here? Or should I just let you assume what my experiences and preferences are? Apparently you even know what I'm thinking. Internet telepathy. Very impressive. Well, except for the fact that you're wrong. While often here at E you may get to pretend to be other people, I would prefer you not pretend to be me, at least not when you're talking to me.

(In one thread I get told my experience is irrelevant. In this one I get told what my experience is. Amazing.)

Offline Noelle

Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2011, 05:07:19 PM »
Banking is not good for poor people, in general, at least not how they're set up in this country.

Some interesting tidbits on unbanked/underbanked populations, which should come as no surprise as being comprised largely of demographics who are historically the most impoverished.

Most banks charge you for your own money, which is sometimes not feasible for those scraping to save to begin with. Initial deposits for some accounts, monthly service fees, ATM fees if your branch's isn't available, and minimum account numbers are all hindrances when it comes to access for low-income demographics.

Anyway, last figures I heard, about 50% of the world doesn't have a bank account. Just a little fun fact.

Offline Asuras

Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2011, 12:21:39 AM »
Going back to the original topic...

Maybe the UN should focus on food and health care first?

Offline Xajow

Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2011, 02:18:28 AM »
Maybe the U.N. should focus on doing something about pirates and terrorists. And maybe ending the international drug war.

Offline Fabric

Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2011, 08:56:50 AM »
maybe the UN should look at how it's run, starting with disbanding the security council

Offline Xajow

Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2011, 01:50:53 PM »
That would be daring. But people are reluctant to give up power, even if it's just at the UN.

Offline Asuras

Re: U.N. Declares Internet Access a Human Right.
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2011, 12:58:23 AM »
Quote from: Xajow
Maybe the U.N. should focus on doing something about pirates and terrorists. And maybe ending the international drug war.
Quote from: Fabric
maybe the UN should look at how it's run, starting with disbanding the security council

We have hundreds of thousands of people dying each year of totally treatable/preventable diseases like cholera and HIV and millions living on the edge of starvation and you guys are more interested in free heroin and voting rights on the security council?

People are dead because of this.