The organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the UN have both declared that Internet access is a human right in the last week, and any attempt to restrict it for control or suppression is a violation of said human right.
Predicting the Consequences of Regulation
While such a declaration of Internet human rights is not a big surprise given the rapid way that the Internet has become a central part of worldwide culture, it still is a highly important decision. Indeed, governing bodies seem to following previous predictions, as Zuckerburg and Hatch talk government control of the internet, who have already argued that the Internet allows for change and innovation and that restriction is a fundamental error.
The Internet as a force for change
In the last year, the true potential of the Internet to organize people and advance social movements has been staggering, with prime examples being North Africa and the Middle East. Protesters and rebels successfully utilized social media to coordinate and facilitate strategy on a level that would have been unheard of previously. Likewise, leaders used the social media services to rally international support and maintain morale throughout the situation.
Put simply, the Internet has rapidly evolved in the past decade or so from being a supplemental measure for everyday life to being a primary way that the human race interacts and reacts with the world around them. Internet human rights now supplement the trend.
Looking to the Future
The UN and EU supporting Internet human rights will have widespread implications and has the potential to completely change the paradigm currently employed. By criminalizing the restriction of Internet access, the relevant governing bodies are putting power in the hands of the people in ways yet unknown, and are allowing social media to be a major force for change in the world as more people realize the true power of the web.