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Most around the globe believe Web access is a 'fundamental right'

March 8, 2010 | 10:10 am

Respondents from 26 countries overwhelmingly agree that access to the Internet is a "fundamental right," the BBC found in a recent survey.

According to the BBC, which surveyed more than 27,000 adults, 79% of respondents said that they either strongly agree or agree that access to the Internet is a fundamental right for every person around the world.

The BBC reported that some of the respondents didn't have access to the Web because of draconian restrictions on Internet access in their country. In an inspiring show of defiance, more than 70% of those folks said that they should have access to the Internet.

South Korea, the world's most-wired country, had the strongest beliefs about Web access as a fundamental right, tallying 96% agreement with the assertion. Pakistan respondents weren't so quick to agree. According to the BBC, just 46% of folks in that country think access to the Web is a fundamental right.

Ironically, the United States was below average in the study. Just 76% of Americans believe Web access is a fundamental right. Canada and Mexico had 77% and 94% agreement rates, respectively.

China, a country that has gone out of its way to censor the Web, hasn't been successful in changing the opinion of its people. According to the study, 87% of Chinese respondents believe Web access is a fundamental right.

That said, not everyone believes the Web is so wonderful. More than 30% of respondents said that they were concerned about fraud on the Internet. Over 25% of those surveyed said that violent and explicit content was deeply concerning. Less than 5% said that corporate influence bothered them about the Web.

But in many ways, people around the globe are seeing the Internet as a safe haven away from the trials of living under potentially oppressive regimes.

The BBC found that about 80% of respondents believe the Internet affords them more freedom than they would have without it.

-- Don Reisinger