Eben Moglen: Digital access as a human right

Yesterday I had the lucky chance of taking part in a meeting (and dinner!) with Eben Moglen (middle of snapshot), organized by the UOC’s Vicerector of technology, Llorenç Valverde (left) and the UOC’s Law professor Raquel Xalabarder (right).

From left to right: Llorenç Valverde, Eben Moglen and Raquel Xalabarder

There were plenty of things in what he said, most of them following my own
line of thought. My selected quote is, however, maybe quite unusual in the free software movement speeches: birthright bandwidth. Just a concept.

A concept, nevertheless, that just points to the same issue Enrique Dans deals with today, after two articles by Tim Berners Lee and Robert X. Cringely. Put it in my “own” words, the question is whether the internet, or access in general, is a public good and, furthermore, a human right. Dans says “the Net has become too important to be ruled by telcos and the entertainment industry”. Moglen spoke about birthright bandwidth, i.e. the right, by the simple fact of being born, to communicate with others – needless to say “through the internet” in this way of no return to the digital era.

So, right? public good? both? neither?


The review IDP publishes in its 4th issue the full transcription of the speech (PDF file, 152 Kb)


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2006) “Eben Moglen: Digital access as a human right” In ICTlogy, #33, June 2006. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from https://ictlogy.net/review/?p=412

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2 Comments to “Eben Moglen: Digital access as a human right” »

  1. Yep, I’d say communication and access to culture is a human right. Since there are some costs involved in providing access to it, we have to pay for it in the same way we have to pay for power, gas or water, but we should be able to ensure most of the people can get access to it.

  2. Both. It’s just my option. public good sounds good, but…how to do. maybe both for now, then public good.

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