Why shouldn't everyone have a right to an iPad? The answer to this question depends whether you agree with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who recently argued that access to the Internet is a basic human right.
If you do concur, then the logical extension is that, if the internet is a right, then surely the instruments that make the internet possible must also be a right.
According to Sir Tim:
"Access to the Web is now a human right. It's possible to live without the Web. It's not possible to live without water. But if you've got water, then the difference between somebody who is connected to the Web and is part of the information society, and someone who (is not) is growing bigger and bigger."
Yet, whilst acknowledging that the web is not needed for survival, Sir Tim suggests that without it, there is no chance of joining the civilized world. But, this is demonstrably untrue. It is not a case of chicken or
the egg. Modern civilization existed in plenty before the arrival of the internet. The internet is not civilization – civilisation has led to the internet. To argue that it is a necessity, stretches the concepts of 'rights' just too far.
Yes, the web should not be a luxury for the few, and should be as widely dissipated as possible. But human rights should confined to what is vital for the dignity of every individual: food, shelter, property rights, the
rule of law, religious tolerance, freedom of expression and equality towards women. And that doesn't include an iPad.
You can see what Sir Tim said here.