Nearly four out of five people around the world believe that Internet access is a fundamental human right, according to a BBC World Service study released this week.
The international broadcaster polled more than 27,000 adults in 26 countries and found that 50% "strongly agree" and 30% "somewhat agree" that access to the Internet should be a fundamental right.
BBC World Service commissioned GlobeScan Inc., a Canadian research and consulting company, to conduct the study.
"The right to communicate cannot be ignored," Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, told BBC News. "We have entered the knowledge society and everyone must have access to participate."
The study showed that respondents in South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Turkey most strongly support the idea of Internet access as a right, according to the BBC. South Korea, which has widespread high-speed Internet access, showed the largest majority of people (96%) who believed that net access was a fundamental right. More than 90% of those surveyed in Turkey agreed, giving it the highest percentage among European countries.
The BBC also noted that about three-quarters of respondents in Japan, Mexico and Russia said they " could not cope " without Internet access.
While four in five people around the world said the Internet has given them greater freedom, about 32% said they are worried about online fraud and 27% said they are concerned about violent and explicit content.
The BBC noted that 20% of respondents said they are worried about privacy and about 6% are concerned with state censorship of content.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld . Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin , send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed .
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