Top 10 countries that say Internet access is a basic right
NIGERIA: Eighty-five percent of Nigerian Web users say Internet access is a fundamental right. They’re also the world’s most enthusiastic patrons of social networking sites – with 92 percent agreeing that they enjoy spending time on such sites as Facebook or MySpace – and are the most likely people to search the web for a romantic partner. Here, a Nigerian man repairs computer components out of scraps at a computer village in Lagos, Nigeria. George Osodi/AP/FILE
AUSTRALIA: Eighty-five percent of Aussies who use the Internet regard it as a fundamental right, though the majority (53 percent) disagree that governments should have no role in regulating the Internet. Google Australia previews its new Street View Trike at Taronga Zoo in Sydney on Jan. 25. The zoo is the first location to be mapped using the new Google vehicles. Jeremy Piper/AP
PORTUGAL: Along with the Turks, the Portuguese are the most adamant among Europeans that the Internet should be a fundamental right, with 87 percent agreeing with this statement. Portuguese overwhelmingly say the Internet has given them greater freedom, though only 30 percent of the population say they enjoy spending time on sites such as Facebook or MySpace. Here, a member of the staff tries to order food via the Internet inside the House of the Future, at a museum of communication and a showcase of the latest global household objects, in Lisbon, Portugal. Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom
CHINA: Internet users in China – where 87 percent regard Internet access as a fundamental right – attach most value to the Web’s role as an information tool: 66 percent versus 47 percent worldwide. With all that time searching for useful information, Chinese Web users apparently don’t spend time on social networking sites, as only 26 percent say they enjoy sites like Facebook or MySpace – compared with 51 percent worldwide. (Though this could have something to do with Beijing’s firewall, at different times, on both Facebook and MySpace.) A Chinese girl from Chengdu looks at the Google logo outside the Google China headquarters in Beijing on Jan. 15. Vincent Thian/AP
CHILE: Eighty-nine percent of Chileans regard Internet access as their fundamental right. Much of this communication may be happening over Facebook, MySpace, and other similar websites, as 69 percent of respondents said they enjoy spending their free time on social networks (compared to 51 percent worldwide), according to the BBC poll. A computer graphic shows the possible paths of tsunami waves from an earthquake in Chile on Feb. 27. Marco Garcia/AP
CENTRAL AMERICA: More than 9 in 10 (91 percent) wired Central American citizens regard Internet access as their fundamental right. They’re also one of the most likely of any people to see the Web as a source of entertainment: 24 percent say they most value it for entertainment, compared to 12 percent worldwide. Forensic dentistry students at the Latin American University of Science and
Technology (ULACIT) in Costa Rica use a language simulator at the firm Technologia Educativa (Educational Technology). Newscom
TURKEY: Internet access is seen as a fundamental right by 91 percent of the Internet-using population, making Turks the most pro-Internet people of any in Europe or the Middle East. Turkish respondents are the only ones in the Europe and Middle East regions to consider loss of privacy the most worrisome threat posed by the Internet; half of all Turks don’t feel safe expressing their opinions online. Here, Turkish girls attend computer lessons at the Kazim Karabekir Girls' Imam-Hatip School in Istanbul, Turkey, on Feb. 10. Murad Sezer/Retuers
THAILAND: Ninety-one percent of Thais regard Internet access as their fundamental right, making the ancient Siamese empire the most ardent Internet supporter on mainland Asia. But Thais are also more wary than most about expressing their opinions online – 58 percent disagree that the Internet is a safe place to do this – perhaps a legacy of the country’s strict lèse majesté laws that see people imprisoned every year for offending the long-serving king. Panrit Gaoruang, who has blogs about Thai teens under the name of 'Gor,' writes at a historic site in Thailand. Courtesy of Richard Barrow
BRAZIL: Ninety-one percent of Brazilians regard Internet access as a basic human right. However, most don’t consider it an essential part of life, with 71 percent responding they could cope without it (compared to 55 percent worldwide). Perhaps this is because many Brazilians – more than most populations – spend time on social networks: 60 percent compared to 51 percent worldwide. Brazilians surf the Web during a 'Campus Party' in Sao Paulo on Jan. 27. 'Campus Party' is an event that joins people from several countries to share experiences related to computers and communications. Around 6,000 Internet users took part in the week-long gathering which featured faster-than-normal internet connections. Paulo Whitaker/Reuters
MEXICO. Ninety-four percent of Mexicans regard Internet access as their fundamental right, the most of any non-Asian nation. And Mexicans are extremely attached to their computers, too, with 56 percent saying they could not cope without the Internet (second only to Japan, at 67 percent). Mexicans are also the world’s most ardently opposed to government oversight of the Internet, with 72 percent of respondents agreeing that no government anywhere should regulate the web. From the Mexcian presidential website comes news of the detention of narcotrafficker Alberto Sanchez Hinojosa, aka "Tony" or "Comandante Castillo," leader of the Gulf drug cartel or Cardenas Guillen organization in Tabasco, Mexico. El Universal/Newscom
SOUTH KOREA: Ninety-six percent of South Koreans – more than any country surveyed – agree that Internet access is their fundamental right. But along with Chinese and Thai web users, fewer than 1 in 5 Koreans told the BBC that the Internet is a good place to find a romantic partner. But more than any other country, Koreans look to the Internet for information and cite the loss of privacy as their main Internet-related worry. An employee of the Korea Internet Security Center looks on while working at a monitoring room in Seoul in the wake of cyber attacks that paralyzed major South Korean and US websites in July 2009. Ahn Young-joon/AP
New wearable computers are drawing concerns from some about policy and privacy issues. Others say such worries stem primarily from a fear of change. Discussions continue about the appropriate place for such technology in varied social situations.
Google staged four discussions expounding on the finer points of its "Glass" wearable computer during this week's developer conference. Missing from the agenda, however, was a session on etiquette when using the recording-capable gadget, which some attendees faithfully wore everywhere - including to the crowded bathrooms.