Vint Cerf, one of the inventors of the internet (for real: he helped develop TCP/IP and early email tech) has written an enlightening editorial in the New York Times. His argument is that internet access should not be considered a human right in and of itself; it’s an enabler of the right to free speech. Sure it makes sense to protect people’s right to internet access, but only insofar as that is a component of the right to free speech.
…technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things.