While some suggest that access to the Internet is a human right, in the EU, Internet access is primarily an economic concern. In light of the European Commission Communication ‘Connectivity for a Competitive Digital Single Market: Towards a Gigabit Society’, this chapter challenges the current EU approach to Internet regulation and questions whether a human rights-based approach to Internet access would be a better fit. After outlining the relevant regulatory provisions governing access to the Internet in the EU and its Member States (section 3), the chapter reflects on the EU vision of the Gigabit Society (section 4). Then, the chapter discusses Member States obligations with regard to Internet access (section 5) and explores three scenarios under which the right to access the Internet could be recognized as a fundamental right in the EU (section 6). The authors gather that the EU primary law provides for several options to recognize access to the Internet as a fundamental right. The authors point out that while a consensus among European countries to recognize Internet access as a fundamental right in domestic regulatory frameworks is emerging (section 7), policy-makers should carefully consider the scope (section 8) and limitations that could be imposed on this right (section 10). The authors suggest that to some extent the widespread application of eGovernment could strengthen, or even facilitate, the introduction of the right to Internet access in the EU (section 9). The authors conclude that recognition of Internet access as a fundamental right would be valuable as it would encourage policy- and law-makers, as well as civil society, to reconsider the scope and limitations imposed on this right.
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The European Commission has made efforts to create a Digital Single Market (DSM) in which goods and services are offered online throughout the European Union (EU). As regards online distribution of content, these include legislative action in copyright and internal market law as well as enforcement measures in competition law. These efforts are now starting to bear fruit as legislative proposals have been – or are close to being – adopted.
David Bray and Derek Scrafton
The 12.6 km Adelaide O-Bahn that was completed in 1989 was the first full-scale application of guided busway technology in the world. The facility serves the northeastern suburbs of Adelaide and was built instead of a previously planned light rail transit (LRT) line. Around 120 million bus km of revenue service has been operated on the busway, with relatively few incidents. The Adelaide O-Bahn has proved to be a more effective and efficient solution than the previously planned LRT – and also more efficient than the lightly used and costly railway network that serves the other major corridors of the metropolitan area of Adelaide. Despite these advantages, the entrenched position of the railways has prevented the wider use of busway as an alternative to the rail lines as major investment in the latter became due. However, the current 3 km extension of the O-Bahn into the city core will complete a missing link. Two valuable features of the O-Bahn are the ability of buses to serve suburban areas and then travel directly onto the guided track and the higher-frequency service compared with the use of larger LRT vehicles. These attributes provide users with a particularly attractive service. In addition, the location of the O-Bahn and the services that use it match the structure of urban development in the region it serves. The integration of the O-Bahn and land use is reinforced by the location of the outer terminus of the busway at a major regional shopping centre and the development of park and ride stations at intermediate interchanges. This chapter describes the history of decision making that resulted in the O-Bahn; its features; its patronage, operational and financial performance; and the land-use context that has underpinned its success.
How does the shrinking space for civil society affect legal mobilization at regional human rights courts and the robustness of the international human rights system? This chapter considers the converging trends of backlash against international human rights courts and attacks on civil society. This chapter examines the intersection of these trends by focusing on regional tribunals, particularly the Inter-American and European human rights system. This emphasis on the regional systems is important because they are central to the international human architecture and are comprised of both longstanding defenders of human rights as well as perpetrators of attacks against human rights defenders and the courts themselves. As such, these tribunals provide an opportunity to examine the epicenter of these confluent trends of the shrinking space for civil society and backlash against international accountability mechanisms.
This chapter argues that feminist scholars and prochoice advocates considering the key shortcomings of abortion case law have overlooked an important aspect of Roe v Wade. Roe did not simply conceptualize abortion as a privacy right; it also framed the abortion issue as raising a unique legal dilemma not comparable to any other constitutional issue previously resolved by the US Supreme Court. In Roe’s conception, abortion was born as a unique feminine right. The chapter supplements feminist critique of Roe and the search for a stronger conceptualization of abortion rights with a challenge to Roe’s ‘difference’ approach to abortion. It elucidates the manner in which the legal terrain of abortion can and should be viewed as legally relevant for both sexes and calls for the conceptualization of abortion as a unisex right that is grounded in well-established (male) legal protections.
Chapter 3 examines the role of State actors in REDD+. It describes how countries like Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica and Norway embraced and subsequently promoted REDD+, motivated by the potential of cheap forest credits or access to resources to fund their forest sector. It describes how there were key individuals who played the role of policy entrepreneur in pushing for REDD+. It also describes the development of the REDD+ regime as a remarkable configuration where Norway bankrolled the instrument with support from the US and some European countries, and PNG and Costa Rica legitimized the process by creating a demand for the instrument. The analysis reveals the relevance of interest-based theories, although power-based and knowledge-based regime theories have some relevance as well.
Chapter 4 looks at the role of non-State agents behind REDD+. It concludes that the dominant non-State actors were primarily influenced by the expectation that REDD+ would generate significant funding for the forest sector, and that not only would it benefit forests but also could directly contribute to their own economic interests. The chapter describes how the key non-State agents behind REDD+ are conservation NGOs and the World Bank, which significantly benefited from their role as intermediaries in REDD+ projects and programs. For some of the industrialized countries and conservation NGOs, REDD+ formed a distraction from fossil fuel-related emissions, which was also in their economic interest. The analysis reveals that these agents claimed to be motivated by their knowledge, reflecting knowledge-based regime theories, but the high economic stakes involved also show the relevance of interest-based theories.