Germany declares Internet access a basic right

In the last chapter of “On Internet Freedom,” I note that at least four nations have declared access to the Internet to be a fundamental right. Add Germany to the list.

 A top German court has ruled that people can sue their Internet providers for damages if connection is lost. The court has ruled that access to the Internet represents a basic need in modern society.

The complaint that brought about the ruling came from a man who lost his Internet connection for two months due to an administrative error caused by a takeover of his Internet provider by another company. He is now entitled to monetary compensation – and while the amount may not be very high, the ruling reflects an important shift. With it, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice has stated that Internet connection is a modern necessity, on par with the right to mobility.

The court compared the situation to a car owner claiming damages after someone else has caused an accident that renders the car unusable for some time.

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