An Englishman called Charles Babbage is considered as the “father of the computer”. His engineering and invention was the beginning of a revolution waiting to happen. It didn’t take long and when from the 1970s several pioneers shaped up the Internet and it was in 1989 that Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the “world-wide-web”. But if it weren’t for the creation, inventions, and patent wars and so much more in between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, the access to the Internet would hardly have reached the millions in the 1980s and 1990s. According to a latest statistics report that monitors the growth of Internet users, there are over 3 Billion users of which 300 million are in Africa.
Most of our parents unless they are working in a service industry and have had no choice but to adapt to Excel or Word, don’t know how to use the regular desktop or laptop very easily. Fortunately their world has become smaller yet more accessible because of the iPads and tablets and then the smart phones. Coincidentally they are competing with the milliennials and babies born about 5 years ago. It is amazing to note how the children sometimes know how to maneuver the tablet or smart phone better than you, it is as if they were studying science and technology in the womb or have come pre-programmed.
But even if the Internet is at your fingertips it is not the same for everyone around the world. These countries exercise an almost Internet ban or control censorship depending on their Government policies: Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Burma, North Korea, Tunisia, People’s Republic of China, Vietnam and Turkmenistan. While countries such as India, Pakistan and Russia can consider the Internet as an “enemy”. Thus, should the Internet be accessible to everyone and be considered a basic human right? Fortunately for Governments (both democratic and communists) the Internet can be censored and they can decided what to show, who to follow and what kind of direction to indirectly drive its people too. Unfortunately for the user, a common person like myself, I can be subjected to heavy censorship or fake open data initiatives. I do think that the Internet is a basic human right, because there are so many more advantages to it. You can communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world over any matter with just a click. The problem is in the individual or the regime. Who decides what is good and what is bad? That is a very individualistic perspective, for example a person can read a Wikileaks and create a revolution and cause the deaths of a few hundreds or a person can study mathematics and be the next inventor of another useful tool for our lives. Let’s not get started on the social impact the open Internet is having on the youth, when a child accidentally finds a juicy video on YouTube or otherwise, how do you handle that? Or when your sex-tape taken on your smart phone or tablet is holding you at ransom, murders are being committed, lives are being lost, the innocence of childhood is being killed and the adultery of adults exposed more than ever before.
Perhaps then some countries are right to censor and ban the Internet. You might argue what about the freedom of speech, well from time immemorial media has been censored, controlled and selling information for profit. There are very few integral, hard-working publications who are taking on the truth and don’t worry about a bottom line. With the current terrorism situation from Europe and almost affecting the entire world, surveillance on the Internet usage is crucial more than ever. The only problem is separating knowledge from fundamentalism. The human race has yet to wise up and just like the possession of a nuclear bomb continues to create war politics, the Internet can become a misunderstood, misused, misguided weapon.