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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Human Rights and the Web

Since Google has agreed to censor their search results in order to enter the Chinese market, much hoopla has been made about American corporations and their responsibility to human rights. Is it right for American companies to acquiesce to foreign governments who have a history of human rights abuses, just to enter their markets and gain a profit? Is it okay to cave to the demands of another country’s government but not to the less restrictive demands of your own? Do companies have an obligation to ensure that all of their customers, regardless of nationality, are treated the same. These are all questions that I have no intention of answering in this article. Rather, I would like to offer my discourse on a most basic human right that too many in this country are currently being denied: free high-speed internet access.

Millions of individuals in every corner of this great nation simply do not have free access to high (or even low!) -speed internet. These are our neighbors, living in a hidden and repressed society, unable to gain access to the most fundamental basics for a happy existence:

  • shopping for their $120 Nike’s online
  • downloading $0.99 songs or $1.99 TV shows to their iPods
  • accessing online porn
  • contributing to their favorite candidates political campaign
  • creating a website for their dogs and cats
  • blogging about how much they love Britney Spears
  • ordering their sandwiches online

The list goes on.

When will this abuse end? When will our government step in and restore the freedoms all Americans deserve? The good news is that this Iron Curtain barring free high-speed internet access is beginning to crumble. The city of San Francisco has recently announced that it will begin providing “affordable wireless broadband” to city residents. Don’t be discouraged by the word “Affordable”. San Fran’s Department of Telecommunications and Information Services’ (DTIS) Executive Director, Chris Vein, means this:

San Francisco has undertaken a thorough, innovative, and transparent process to reach an audacious goal: free wifi for our residents.

My understanding is that SF explored the idea of offering free dial-up access, but felt that as a human rights issue, this was equivalent to letting women vote, but not actually letting their votes count. Providing slow-speed internet access is nothing more than pouring lemon juice on the wounds of the oppressed masses.

There is a dark side to this announcement; “Big Business” will actually receive money in order to make this service available. But the gains far outweigh such negatives. All other “Big Business” and possibly even some small business will find themselves unable to compete against the deep pocket, government monopoly offering a service for free. These companies will be shut out and many will even have to close down or leave the SF area in favor of cities that continue to abuse citizens.

In addition to driving greedy businesses under, another bonus is that these services will ultimately be paid with government money, provided by the same taxpayers who will receive this “free” service. This simplifies the process of paying bills each month, as taxes are already taken out from your paycheck (if you get one) or added at the cash register when you buy your food and household supplies. No more having to write a check to an ISP, licking envelopes or digging around for a postage stamp.

With the relief this free high-speed internet access provides to the abused, it won’t be long before other abusive “Iron Curtains” begin to tumble. Do we really need a separate company to provide our heat and electricity? Should Safeway, Raley’s, Albertson’s, and Super-Wal-Mart be allowed to control how much food we can bring home to our families, based on some arbitrary monetary units made available to us? Do Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Ikea and Sears have a right to demand separate payments for the clothing, furnishings and home improvement tools we require to live? Should Taco Bell really have a right to deny me access to free and unlimited food?

I say NO! It’s time for the oppressed rabble of nameless masses to rise up and demand more from out government. It’s time to put a stop to the abuses suffered daily by those that must pay or go without internet access. It’s time to make this country free again! God bless San Francisco for standing up for what is right, telling the world they will, “tear down these walls” that have kept us in bondage for far too many years.

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