Internet Access as a Tool for Human Rights
About a year ago, the United Nations released a report stating that “the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states”. A year later and the United States is still struggling to ensure access to all of its citizens. According to a recent feature in the BBC News one third of all Americans do not have access to broadband Internet, around 100 million people. This BBC feature goes further into this issue exploring how the Internet is a necessary tool for promoting a range of human rights. Curious about the issue here at the Tenderloin Technology Lab (TTL) we asked guests how their life would be if they did not have Internet access at the TTL. Guests responded by saying their life would be “ugly”. They claimed they would not have connections to people, housing, or employment. As government resources, jobs, medical advice, and more support systems move into the digital age the issues that arise when people do not have access are magnified. The TTL is responding to this trend by offering programs with a greater focus on helping our guests become more self-sustained. For example, we are offering our Support Services: Housing workshop, Introduction to Micro-labor, and our new GED Study Hall program. Please check out our website for more information on these programs.