One of the most frequent questions I receive is with regards to the 2010 ruling by the Costa Rican Constitutional Court (Sala IV) declaring access to the Internet as a fundamental right. The Costa Rican online jurisprudence system is considerably clunky and difficult to navigate, and most of the requests for information come from non-Spanish speakers, so I have decided to include the full text of the decision as a Google Document. The relevant part of the decision is as follows (translation mine):

“FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS ABUSED. On this last point, it must be said that progress in the last twenty years in information and communication technology (ICT) has revolutionized human social environment. Without a doubt, it can be argued that these technologies have impacted the way humans communicate, facilitating the connection between people and institutions worldwide and eliminating the barriers of space and time. At this time, access to these technologies becomes a basic instrument to facilitate the exercise of fundamental rights and democratic participation (e-democracy) and social control, education, freedom of expression and thought, access to information and public services online, the right to interact with government electronically and administrative transparency, among others. Moreover, others have affirmed the fundamental right that covers the access to these technologies, in particular the right of access to the Internet or World Wide Web. In this regard, the Constitutional Council of France, in Case No. 2009-580 DC of 10 June 2009, declared Internet access as a basic right, when detached directly from Article 11 of the Declaration Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789. […] In this context of the information or knowledge society, it is imposed on public authorities for the benefit of the governed to promote and ensure in universal form, access to these new technologies. Based on the foregoing, the Constitutional Court concludes that the verified delay in opening the telecommunications market has not only violated the right enshrined in Article 41 of the Constitution, but also has affected the exercise and enjoyment of other fundamental rights such as freedom of choice of consumers as enshrined in Article 46, last paragraph, the constitutional right of access to new information technologies, the right to equality and the eradication of the digital divide (info-exclusion) -Article 33 of the Constitution- the right to access the internet through the interface that the user or consumer chooses, and free enterprise and trade.”

And here is the entire ruling in Spanish (available directly from Google Docs here, or in PDF format here):



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