Several barriers impede the passage to the establishment of connectivity as a human right, at least considered in its own or as part of the knowledge economy, even without addressing any legitimate objections raised in relation to earlier generations of different human rights.
From the legal perspective, defining connectivity as a human right could mean either creating a new generation of human rights in the name of the global knowledge or trying to include and interpret connectivity in the light of existing human rights, paying attention to the interplay between already-recognised human rights and connectivity in order to assess if and how it can affect them.
What would be in essence the right of connectivity?
If a right to connectivity should be found within the existing provisions the right to freedom of expression and information would play an upfront role both in the light of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Article 19 and, considering a more domestic environment, of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) Article 10, and of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (CFR), Article 11. This freedom implies the sharing of information and though by any means, regardless of frontiers and without interference. This fits perfectly with the concept of a borderless digital world.
Another categorization of a right to connectivity that suggests itself is the right of education (Article 26 of the UDHR, Article 2 of the Protocol to the ECHR and Article 14 of the CFR), in order to justify the diffusion of data access in developing countries.
The circulation of data would clearly entail the treatment of personal data, also protected as a fundamental right in all the legal sources already cited (Article 12 of UDHR, Article 8 of ECHR and Article 7 and 8 of the EUCFR). This right would pose challenges to the indiscriminate diffusion of data access without providing consistent knowledge and understanding of how technological issue can affect personal life.
|Before mobiles and the internet, |
doing business was a real pain
So, maybe, thinking of the question of connectivity in developing countries, besides struggling with definitions it may be important to identify its scope of protection if it were to be recognised as a fundamental right and then to let that right engage in dialogue with other human rights.