The internet is officially an “essential” part of life in Germany according to a court ruling Thursday.
According to Reuters:
A German court ruled on Thursday that people have the right to claim compensation from service providers if their Internet access is disrupted, because the Internet is an “essential” part of life.
The court likened the loss of internet access to the loss of vehicular access. In other words, internet service providers can be forced to compensate those who are not able to get the internet access they require. It has become a right rather than a privilege in Germany thanks to the compensation component.
What most Germans do not realize is that this is bad for them. It means that certain protections and safeguards will now have to be put into place by their providers. These safeguards can be costly and that cost will be transferred to the users themselves. What’s more, it’s likely that the risk of being taken to court will hike prices as well, allowing for a hedge against the risk that this ruling creates.
Many of us make our living on the internet. It’s imperative to have access at most if not all times and the outage in question that brought about this court ruling stemmed from a two-month outage from 2008-2009 for an individual whose livelihood, phone, and fax line were all compromised. This isolated incident will end well for the claimant, but the general population of the country will likely feel the negative effects in the near future.
What do you think? Is internet access a right or a privilege?
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“Internet Access” image courtesy of Shutterstock.