Broadband Is Now A Legal Right In Finland

from the won't-see-three-strikes-there... dept

You may recall that, last year, Finland announced that broadband access should be considered a legal right. And, as of today, it’s now official that every Finn now has a legal right to 1Mbps broadband. If you think that’s going to make it difficult for the entertainment industry to get a “three strikes” policy in place in Finland, you’re correct:

“We will have a policy where operators will send letters to illegal file-sharers but we are not planning on cutting off access.”

According to the music industry, of course, this makes the Finnish government radical extremists. How dare they want to make sure everyone has broadband connectivity and the ability to communicate freely. How could that possibly be more important than one industry’s increasingly obsolete business model?

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Comments on “Broadband Is Now A Legal Right In Finland”

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47 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ...

Probably unfiltered when I hit proxies in finland, sweden and other countries like that my bandwidth with TOR goes up to hundreds of kilobytes per second, they have true broadband over there.

I’m blacklisting the France, U.K., U.S., China and Russia those countries have the worst bandwidth when transit goes through them.

John Doe says:

How is broadband a legal right?

So who pays for this right? If I don’t have that kind of connection, is the government going to give it to me? Rights are free, not fee based, so if I have a right to broadband I shouldn’t have to pay for it.

I agree that nobody should be kicked off the net, especially for something like file sharing. But making it a right makes no sense either.

John Doe says:

Re: Who pays for it?

So this is a right that private business has to fulfill? That makes even less sense. Rights are God given and do not depend on others to fulfill them. While I have the right to free speech, I don’t have the right to get my opinion in the newspaper. So why is it up to the ISPs to fulfill this right?

hxa7241 says:

Re: Re: Who pays for it?

You are perhaps interpreting this in an overly narrow way.

The government wants to ensure the public all have access to a particular service. Leaving the implementation aside, the basic concept seems wholly reasonable — it is just the sort of thing governments are for.

This use of the term ‘right’ may offend various technical definitions, but it communicates the basic idea.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re: Who pays for it?

But using the word “right” here has major implications. If I have a right to a 1MB broadband connection, then where do I go to get that? The government? A private corporation? Who pays for it? Me? The government which in turn gets the money from taxes which comes out of the citizens pockets?

Broadband is not a right, the right not to have our connection severed based on accusations is a right, but actually having the connection is not a right.

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re: Who pays for it?

Yes, all rights are God given and all leaders divinely appointed, read your bible.

AT&T may have had to give phones to people with a medical need, but that was probably due to the fact they were granted monopoly rights and not due to the right of people to have phones.

Caine (profile) says:

Obviously Finland is not the US and not guided by the same principles we are, but this is a dangerous road to go down. Broadband should not be a “right”.

John Doe made a good point, fee based services are “rights” now? If you start down this road, aren’t you just watering down what a “right” ought to be? I’m certainly not a lawyer, so if anyone is please chime in, but isn’t that a bad precedent to set when a “right” is sometimes this, but then its sometimes that? Not sure how all the systems work in Finland, but doesn’t this open the door for companies or organizations that currently provide other “rights” to start charging now?

I certainly think no one should have the right to arbitrarily drop your connection, especially on some trumped up file sharing charge, but last I checked you still can’t run into a crowded chat room and yell “fire”. Making broadband a “right”, so that the tool with which you broke the law remains in your hands is illogical. If you’re a Finnish pirate and it gets proven in a court of law, then you should lose your privileges to the internet.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You have the right to get your driver’s license, do you not? Does the government give you a free car?
You have the right to live in a house (one of the basic human rights even), but you still need to pay rent/mortgage/taxes.
You have the right to an education (also one of the basic human rights), but do you have free schools?

All this does, is give you the right to have unfettered access to the Internet. Even the most remote areas of Finland should now get access to the Internet.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

In that sense remote areas of Finland already have robust access to the Internet by and large and build out to what’s left shouldn’t be too expensive I’m told.

I chat, every now and then, with people on high speed from fairly near the Arctic Circle so I’m taking on face value what they say.

We need to remember that this is a small, fairly populous and wealthy country by global standards.

The telephone network was built out to most of Finland prior to World War II in anticipation of a Soviet invasion. So that part of the infastructure has been there since then and has been followed by cable. Satellite providers are available all over Finland.

Cost, in this case, is minimal.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Lots of rights require a fee. If you’re American, your right to bear arms does not mean you get a free gun. Your right to drive on a public road still requires you to obtain your own form of transport. Your right to free speech still requires a fee if your chosen medium is the, for example, public airwaves or the printed press.

Also, a right does not mean that you automatically have to *do* the thing you have a right to do, just that you have the right to do so if you please. Lots of Finnish people will still choose not to have broadband. It’s just there as a guaranteed right should a Finn choose to exercise it.

“last I checked you still can’t run into a crowded chat room and yell “fire””

FIRE!

Sorry, couldn’t resist, but you either have your cliches mixed up or you’re confused about what that means.

“the tool with which you broke the law remains in your hands is illogical”

Criminal vs. civil law is still an important distinction. The damage potentially done by removing access to broadband (and thus access to free speech, employment and communication) far outweighs whatever slim profits were jeopardised by downloading a few songs.

“If you’re a Finnish pirate and it gets proven in a court of law

Emphasis mine. The problem everyone has with the “3 strikes” rules is that this is not a consideration. When the industry decides to play fair and allow due process and actual evidence less flimsy than IP addresses to come into play, then we’ll talk.

Anonymous Coward says:

mike, have you watched any hollywood movies? i know you have, you have a netflix account. why do you continue to support an obsolete business model? shouldnt you lead by example and only watch independent movies that you can download on torrents? why are you still supporting hollywood with your money?

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Re: Re:

WHAT!? Mike is a hypocrite?! TAM, you finally convinced myself and the rest of the people reading this blog that we have been lied to, cheated of eyeballs, and told lies about the content industry, patents, and copyrights. We are all leaving now, never to return. Feel no need to monitor Mike’s blog anymore since you won’t need to protect us from blindly following him into the abyss. We are deeply indebted to you for you diligence.

Footsteps…getting fainter…fainter still…door shuts…silence… …

Hey everybody…is TAM gone yet?

Panu Horsmalahti says:

Rights are not “god given”, as the concept of religion should not interfere with secular state rights. Anyway, lots of rights require money, like the right to a free schooling and the right to free healthcare. It’s true that in extreme far-right socities you may not get these rights. The word John here is looking for is freedom, which is a different concept from a human right. Of course, far-right Americans do not understand the concept of rights, since they don’t have many of them.

John says:

Re: Re:

I agree that religion should not enter the discussion. Rights are inherent in our being. Whether a person believes in a god or not has no bearing on their rights.
The rest of your comment I disagree with. Schooling and healthcare are not rights, they are services provided by another individual. You have the right to trade with that individual for the service provided, but you do not have the right to that individuals service.
Freedom, or liberty, is a right. It is not a different concept, it is subsumed in the concept of rights.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Is (straight) marriage a legal right in USA? Is it “inherent to your being”? Is the state forced to give you a free marriage service?

If the USA wants to call everything “freedoms”, and only consider rights those that are in the original Bill of Rights, that’s their prerogative. It’s also merely arguing (regional) semantics and irrelevant to what the rest of the world considers rights, which may just very well be “something that nobody can keep you from doing or getting”.

Are “visitation rights” inherent? That means that custody of kids during divorce inherent, which would make divorce inherent too. Or visiting your family at a hospital?

“nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb”

Does that mean that double-jeopardy rights are inherent? How come? That doesn’t make any sense.

MK says:

Finnish communications regulatory authority press release

The finnish communications regulatory authority has published an english press release on the subject:

http://www.viestintavirasto.fi/en/index/asiointi-info/ajankohtaista/lehdistotiedotteet/2010/P_27.html

Basically, certain telecommunication firms (26 in total) are named responsible for providing a certain minimum level of service within some municipalities of Finland as part of their license, and 1 Mbps Internet access is now one such minimum requirement. Customer will have to pay for the access, with 30-40 € given as reasonable example price. The 1 Mbps Internet requirement is for a fixed place of residence or business.

Panu Horsmalahti says:

Nope, that’s American thinking, and refers to only fundamental rights of the 18th century. More rights were invented after that. John, like all Americans, has a single-minded and biased view of the world. If something is true in American politics, it must apply to the rest of the world. Your definition of a right is simply old-fashion and not relevant anymore.

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