June 17, 2019 Forthcoming
ISBN 9781138486065 - CAT# K349426
Series: Routledge Research in Human Rights Law
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The Internet’s importance for freedom of expression and other rights comes in part from the abilities it bestows on users. Unlike broadcast media, the Internet allows people to create and share information rather than just receive it. Within the context of existing freedom of expression guarantees, this book critically evaluates the goal of bridging the "digital divide," the gap between those who have access to the Internet and those who do not. Central to this analysis is an examination of two questions: first, is there a right to access the Internet, and if so, what does that right look like and how far does it extend? Second, if there is a right to access the Internet, is there a legal obligation on States to overcome the digital divide?
Through examination of this debate’s history, analysis of case law in the European Court of Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and a case study of one digital inclusion programme in Jalisco, Mexico, the book concludes that there is indeed currently a legal right to Internet access, but one that it is very limited in scope. It establishes a critical foundation from which some of these aspirations could be advanced in the future. The digital divide is not just a human rights challenge nor will it be overcome through human rights law alone. Nevertheless, human rights law could and should do more than it has thus far.
1. Historical Context of International Debates on a Right of Access to Information Technology
2. Denial of Internet Access: Negative Obligations on States
3. Positive Obligations on States to Facilitate Access to the Internet
4. Looking Outside Freedom of Expression to Strengthen Digital Inclusion Guarantees
5. Case Study in Digital Inclusion