Survey: Majority Say Internet Access Is Privilege, Not Right

Almost seven out of 10 (68%) of respondents to a new survey said internet access is a privilege, with only 32% saying it is a human right.

The UN has declared that online privacy and an open internet are basic human rights.

Of those who said it was a privilege, 42% said ISPs were responsible for the safety and security of that access, while 41% of those who said it was a human right put that responsibility on the government.

The anonymous online survey, from VPN-based (Hotspotshield) data privacy and security provider AnchorFree, was conducted in April of over 2,000 people 18-plus.

Currently, Congress and the FCC are figuring out how the government should regulate internet access, if at all, in part to insure that it is both open and accessible.

The survey was conducted in the wake of Congress' vote to repeal the FCC's broadband privacy framework.

Of those who said it was a privilege, 64% still said it was a necessity for them, though only 18% said it was a necessity for everyone else. That second number was a huge difference from those who said internet access was a right. The vast majority of those (82%) said it was a necessity for everyone (94% said it was a necessity for them).

But there was no divide over protecting the online experience. Ninety percent of both said access needs to be "safe and secure" for everyone.

(Photo via Rock1997Image taken on Jan. 18, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.