The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has passed a non-binding resolution that states that public access to the Internet should not be disrupted by any government or government agencies. Specifically, the statement says the same rights that people have offline, including freedom of expression, should also be protected online.The resolution doesn’t quite come out and say that open access to the Internet is a basic human right but it serves as a slap on the wrist for some of the worst abusers of people’s rights.
While the resolution had overwhelming support from most countries, the usual suspects opted to vote no. In addition to Russia, China and Saudi Arabia, South Africa and India also failed to offer their support.
The no voters even had the nerve to ask the UNHRC to strike a passage that condemns unequivocally measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to our dissemination of information online. That effort was thankfully rejected by at least 70 other nations.
No one is expecting a non-binding resolution to make any real difference in some of the countries where public Internet access is often censored, but at the very least this sends a message that most of the world is against such practices.