When you use the Internet, there are certain rights you have. In fact, the APC Internet Rights Charter in 2001 addressed seven major themes.
- Internet access for all. You have the right to affordable Internet. With this right, you can access materials to improve your knowledge no matter where you are from, what class you are in society, and whether you are male or female. This holds true publicly, as well as in the workplace.
- Freedom of expression and association. It doesn’t matter what you think or believe, you have the right to express your thoughts and opinions. With this right, you can organize and engage in online protests if desired.
- Access to knowledge. With this right, you can use publicly relevant information from local government, national, and publicly funded international organizations. This includes social and scientific research.
- Shared learning and creation. Shared resources, like free and open-source technology development, helps you to share your content with others. This technology includes tools and applications. You can encourage local innovation by using free and open source software using open technology.
- Privacy, surveillance and encryption. Privacy is critical, and you have the right to have your information kept away from the general public. Both private and public organizations can take your personal information, but only the minimal amount necessary and only for a minimal period of time. You also have the right to use encryption.
- Governance of the Internet. All governance should be democratic and transparent.
- Awareness, protection and realization of rights. Internet users have the right to know their rights.
It’s important for internet users to know and understand what rights they have. Websites such as LawQA offer insight into legalities. Understanding yields freedom in usage.