I wanted to write this post for quite some time now, but I just didn’t had the time. Okay, I admit it. I was too lazy to do it. As almost everybody knows now, Finland has declared broadband access to the Internet a human right. This means that the Finnish Government will guarantee you can access the Internet no matter where you are on Finnish ground. I wonder if they’ll have an emergency service, like the Police or Ambulance which you can call and they will come in great hurry, with sirens and everything, to bring you a modem so that you can go online. That would be cool! The Finnish “Net Squad”.
With a population of about 5 million – the same as a medium sized Chinese village – and GDP per capita above that of Germany or France, Finland can make this move quite easy. It’s already a highly industrialised country, which places great emphasis on technology. As society is relies more on the Internet, a right to an Internet connection derives from other “older” human rights. Just have a look over the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and see how many of those rights we exercise online nowadays: information, education, free speech, and so on.
Unfortunately I live in Romania, were people have more bronze age preoccupations than broadband access to the Internet. For instance, these days we have a great religious festival, the days of Saint Demeter – protector of the country or something – and people stand for days in queues that stretch for kilometres to get to kiss the saint’s earthly remains. Yes, you’ve read it right. They endure the cold for days at a time to kiss a several hundred years old corpse. The Internet is still being frown upon as a tool of the Devil in some rural areas.
I’m waiting to see with country will be next. Perhaps another country of the Nordic Council? Japan, Dubai? We’ll see…