#Human Rights
San Francisco
United States of America

The UN Calls Access a Human Right

Just this past week, a United Nations report declared Internet access a basic human right. The report focused on the democratizing potential of the unfettered exchange of information and ideas.

It also points out that even in democratic societies, an informed and engaged population holds governments accountable.

And the indisputable reality is that San Franciscans cannot participate fully in our government, in our education system or in our economy without access to the Internet.

If we can truly capture the efficiencies of Web 2.0 and bring them to a San Francisco Government 2.0, the immediate cost savings would be well in excess of $10 million per year. As progressive as our city tends to be in most respects, our city government itself is conservative in its approach to change. The rapid pace of web technologies could help speed up the necessary changes we need in city government making us more effective, more responsive, and less costly.

Access to the Internet is not a luxury anymore. Could you imagine looking for a job, doing your homework, or researching how to cast an intelligent ballot without access to the Internet?

Here we are in San Francisco claiming to be the capitol of the world digital economy. Yet a significant number of our residents cannot access this new economy because they have no reliable access to the Internet. We can save money while doing more as a city government. And at the same time we make our economy larger and more inclusive by guaranteeing Universal Access to the Internet. The time has come to transform our city government and to transform lives in our city by bringing full and equal access to the Internet for all San Franciscans.

We know our city government can be smarter, faster, and more democratic by adopting many of the web-based tools that are now transforming our region's economy.

But as we implement these Gov 2.0 strategies, there is a foundational principle that must be addressed: every single San Franciscan is entitled to the full service of government, not just for those 80% of households with access to the Internet. That's why it is time for the city of San Francisco to Guarantee Universal Access to the Internet for every single San Franciscan. The small cost of this investment will pay for itself many times over, as it will allow us to create a true E-Government while expanding Internet access the most fundamental tool for our new economy 2013 to all of our residents.

Government can, should and must reach everyone. When everyone has access, we can truly take advantage of Web 2.0 tools to make government dramatically more efficient.

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The Guarantee Universal Internet Access for all San Franciscans petition to San Francisco was written by Reset San Francisco and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.