Internet access brings people freedom and so should be a basic human right, according to a survey for the BBC World Service.
Some 81% of the 27,000 adults polled by GlobeScan for the broadcaster said they considered Web access to be a fundamental right, because it offers access to a broad-range of information and offers freedom through social networking.
In all, 78% said the Web had broadened their freedom, while 90% rated the Internet as a place to learn.
Around half the users surveyed (51%) reported spending more spare time on social networking sites.
Despite the perception of greater freedom, 49% of users don’t regard the Web as a good place to express their personal opinions, however that is roughly equal to the number of users who are comfortable posting their views online (48%).
The figures are unlikely to be welcomed by regulators and Governments in the UK and France, which are already considering plans to limit the access speeds of persistent illegal file sharers, despite an EU edict stating that doing so would breach those users’ human rights.
Over half of the users polled for the BBC (53%) say governments should steer clear of regulating the Internet.
“Despite worries about privacy and fraud, people around the world see access to the Internet at their fundamental right,” GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller states. “They think the Web is a force for good, and most don’t want governments to regulate it.”
Separately, reports state US travellers want access to more free WiFi hotspots in airports, to cope with growing demand from increasing use of connected devices.