Internet access must be considered as a basic human right in developing countries else there is a risk of ever-widening inequality, new research has said.
People around the globe are so dependent on the Internet to exercise socio-economic human rights such as education, healthcare, work, and housing that online access must now be considered a basic human right, according to researchers from University of Birmingham in the UK.
In developing countries, Internet access can make the difference between people receiving an education, staying healthy, finding a home, and securing employment — or not, said the study published in the journal Politics, Philosophy & Economics.
"The Internet has unique and fundamental value for the realisation of many of our socio-economic human rights – allowing users to submit job applications, send medical information to healthcare professionals, manage their finances and business, make social security claims, and submit educational assessments," said Dr Merten Reglitz, lecturer in global ethics at the University of Birmingham.
"The Internet's structure enables a mutual exchange of information that has the potential to contribute to the progress of humankind as a whole — potential that should be protected and deployed by declaring access to the Internet a human right."
The study outlined several areas in developed countries where Internet access is essential to exercise socio-economic human rights, like education, health, housing, work and social security.
For people in developing countries, Internet access can also make the difference between receiving an adequate level of healthcare or receiving none.
"Small businesses can also raise money through online crowdfunding platforms. The World Bank expects such sums raised in Africa to rise from $32 million in 2015 to $2.5 billion in 2025," said the study.