The Instigator
WilliamsP
Pro (for)
Losing
20 Points
The Contender
jamccartney
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

Internet access is a privilege.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
jamccartney
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,793 times Debate No: 54879
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (9)

 

WilliamsP

Pro

I have reason to believe that internet access is a privilege. My friend and fellow debate.org user jamccartney believes it is a right. I would like to challenge his stance in this debate and prove that he is wrong.

I will be arguing the Pro side of this debate. There are four total rounds and each debater has 72 hours to post an argument. Each argument may only be 10,000 characters long at maximum. The voting period will be 2 weeks, with an open voting style, Elo restriction, and a 7 point system.

The rules are evident. There will be no forfeiture, proper spelling and grammar will be used, all sources will be cited - all formats are acceptable - and there will be no biased arguments unless supported by facts.

In the first round, my opponent will simply accept the debate. In the second, we will present our main arguments. In the third round, we will offer rebuttals and final arguments. In the fourth round, we will present final rebuttals and a conclusion.

I look forward to an enlightening debate.
jamccartney

Con

I am happy to debate this topic with WilliamsP. I accept all his rules and look forward to my opponent's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
WilliamsP

Pro

Introduction
I would like to begin by thanking jamccartney for accepting my challenge. This is a very crucial topic, one that has been ignored by many. It is rather important, for it is a topic regarding all of us. Is internet access a right or is it a privilege? I intend to answer this question and I intend to prove that internet access is indeed a privilege.

Arguments
My arguments will have a sophisticated structure and format. Each of my points will have a new heading.

Defining the Internet
Most of us think we know what the internet is. We only know the basics, however. I intend to define what the internet is so that we have some common ground. Mirriam Webster defines the internet as, "an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world."

What is a Privilege?
Many of us utilize the term "privilege" without even knowing what it truly means. Again, I will utilize Mirriam Webster. A privilege is, "a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others." A privilege is something you earn, something you worked for and/or have deserved through your behavior and actions. I argue that the internet is something you work for. You do not immediately reserve the right to access the internet. I intend to prove that.

The Dangers of the Internet
Most of us are aware of the sheer nature of the web, how dangerous it can be, the threat it poses, and how it impacts our society. I would like to seize the opportunity to remind my opponent of these dangers. The dangers of the net should be evident, but I will list a few of them anyway. My source provides the following information:

"There are several ways in which the computer can be dangerous to users. The following is a partial list:

  • It is possible to bring viruses into an individual computer or an entire network. These viruses can seriously disrupt or even destroy important work.

  • Users can be spammed with vast quantitities of useless email. This overabundance of useless information can cause people to miss important information or to waste time wading through the useless information.

  • People can be cheated by con artists who advertise seductive products on the Internet.

  • Information that is presented as accurate or important may be inaccurate and misleading.

  • Children may encounter information that their parents and teachers don't want them to encounter. Examples include sexually explicit content, hate literature, bomb-building information, confusing religious prosylitization, and misinformation about cults and satanic materials.

  • People can be tempted to do illegal or improper things on the the Internet. Examples include gambling and the perpetration of pranks or criminal activity.

  • Users can become addicted to the Internet."
These must not be ignored. They are a part of the internet culture and we must accept that. We must acknowledge the dangers of the web and the threat is poses to our youth and even mature individuals. Of course, the internet is vast and there is reliable information on it somewhere, but the internet is a very dangerous tool when not utilized carefully. You cannot simply provide one internet access because it is a "right". They must be worthy of using it; they must earn that privilege. They must be responsible and careful with it. You cannot simply give it to them because you claim it to be a right. You must ensure they deserve the opportunity to utilize such a useful, yet dangerous tool.

Internet Access is not a Right; it is a Privilege
Many experts will agree with me here. The New York Times states, "technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. For example, at one time if you didn’t have a horse it was hard to make a living. But the important right in that case was the right to make a living, not the right to a horse. Today, if I were granted a right to have a horse, I’m not sure where I would put it. The best way to characterize human rights is to identify the outcomes that we are trying to ensure. These include critical freedoms like freedom of speech and freedom of access to information — and those are not necessarily bound to any particular technology at any particular time. Indeed, even the United Nations report, which was widely hailed as declaring Internet access a human right, acknowledged that the Internet was valuable as a means to an end, not as an end in itself." This presents a great point, as a matter of fact. Humans have a right to information, but not necessarily a right to a specific means of obtaining that information, which, in this discussion, is the internet. Information can be accessed in other ways, by means of newspapers or other medias, not necessarily the internet. The internet can be used to cyberbully, hack, and manipulate. Other sources of information, like a newspaper or magazine, cannot be used the same way. I would like to ask my opponent how is the internet, in any way, a right?

The Times continues with, "[i]mproving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection — without pretending that access itself is such a right."

My next source states, "[i]t has been debated for several years, whether Internet access is a basic right or simply a privilege. Recently governments in the LATAM region have come to understand that access to broadband is a right similar to the right to education or healthcare. In the interconnected world we live in today, individuals and communities that do not have access to a broadband infrastructure cannot overcome the digital divide, and that is greatly inhibiting growth, education and prosperity. Fortunately today, many leaders are developing national broadband plans to ensure even the most remote areas have access to the Internet." This statement, depending on your interpretation of it, may seem like it is implying that internet access is a right, but it can be interpreted a different way. The people in those remote locations have done nothing wrong. They have earned the privilege. They deserve the privilege. They need the privilege.

The New York Times has been a great asset so far, but I would also like to utilize the Huffington Post, another great source. The Post essentially says the same as the Times, but I would like to share it anyway as support: "Over the past few years, courts and parliaments in countries like France and Estonia have pronounced Internet access a human right. But that argument, however well meaning, misses a larger point: technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself."

Let's look at an example of an ex-convict. He was a cyberbully and child pornography distributor. He was caught, convicted, and released many years later. Does he deserve to use the internet again? Is is a right for him to visit it again? I say no. It is a privilege he must earn again. He must restore the people's trust in him and make them know that he is worthy.

The FBI itself also has some input in this issue. The FBI website states this about cyber crime: "We lead the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism, espionage, computer intrusions, and major cyber fraud. To stay in front of current and emerging trends, we gather and share information and intelligence with public and private sector partners worldwide." I urge my opponent to explore the FBI webpage. He will find many important facts about this issue.

In his arguments, I would like for my opponent to answer this question:

Does an individual with a history of crime and wrongdoing have the right to internet access, and if so, why?

If my opponent answers with "Yes", I will gladly continue the debate.

If my opponent answers with "No", the debate is essentially over.

Summary
I will not deny that the internet can be a great source of information and an innovative form of communication. The fact of the matter, though, is that the internet can be abused and mishandled, unlike certain other sources of information, like newspapers and television news.


jamccartney

Con

Introduction

I would like to thank my opponent, WilliamsP, for giving me his arguments as to why access to the internet is a privilege, not a right. I will now begin my arguments as to why it is a human right.

Definitions and Clarifications

There have been many ages throughout the past. The Stone Age, The Bronze Age, The Iron Age, The Machine Age, The Atomic Age, etc. However, we are now in what is called 'The Information Age'. We are at the time in human development that digital information is driving our lives.

Privilege: I accept my opponent's definition of the word from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but I will thoroughly explain the definition. In WilliamsP's explanation, he says that the internet is a privilege, which is something you have to work for. I will cover my problem with this later.


Arguments

As I recently stated, we have entered the Information Age, which means our world is slowly being run by technology and the internet. You can make payments over the internet, some shops only work online, and computers like the Google Chromebook relies on the internet to do what it does. The world is slowly becoming connected by a global field that is important to living in society. Companies that don't use computers and the internet will not be successful. People that refuse to use computers and the internet will not be as successful as the people who do.
I plan for my career to have to do with computers, the internet, and technology. If I did not have access to it, how could I be successful? How could I do what I like to do in life?

The Internet as a Privilege

A privilege is something you have to work for. I never had to work for the ability to use the internet. When I was born, I automatically had the right to use the internet. I did not have to earn anything. Either my opponent has worded his argument wrong, or he had to earn the ability to access the world's information. I do not know.

Taking Away Access as a Punishment for a Crime

This is a different matter. Being sent to prison already takes away basic human rights, such as speech, movement, etc. The internet is included in that. Though this is not the round for rebuttals, my opponent asked me a question at the end of his arguments. I am going to answer it now:

Does an individual with a history of crime and wrongdoing have the right to internet access, and if so, why?

My answer is complicated. It depends on the situation. If s/he were in prison, my answer would be an automatic 'no'. However, if they were not in prison, living in society, my answer would be 'yes'. As I already mentioned, we are in the Information Age. The amount of internet usage in society is only going to increase drastically. Putting someone out in today's society and not giving them access to the world is a horrible thing to do, in my opinion. What can one do in society without that access? Not much. How can one turn their life around and become successful without that access? They cannot.

Conclusion

I believe I have shown why access to the internet is a right instead of a privilege. I look patiently await my opponent's rebuttals.

Works Cited

1. http://dictionary.reference.com...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
WilliamsP

Pro

Introduction
I would like to begin by thanking jamccartney for providing his main arguments. I will, however, refute these arguments without mercy. There were some good points made, but are ultimately not supported by sufficient evidence. My opponent utilized two sources, while I used seven. I used seven sources to prove how internet access is a privilege, while my opponent utilized only two in order to support his opinion, not at all forged upon fact.

Rebuttals & Further Arguments

Ignored Points
My opponent has fully ignored certain aspects of internet usage. He simply states, "As I recently stated, we have entered the Information Age, which means our world is slowly being run by technology and the internet. You can make payments over the internet, some shops only work online, and computers like the Google Chromebook relies on the internet to do what it does. The world is slowly becoming connected by a global field that is important to living in society. Companies that don't use computers and the internet will not be successful. People that refuse to use computers and the internet will not be as successful as the people who do." I do acknowledge that the internet can be useful, but my opponent needs to acknowledge the very facts I placed before him. I showed how the internet is full of cyberbullying, pornography, and viruses, and can be used to hack and access classified information and data.

I would like to share some additional facts about the internet, some of which I neglected to mention in the previous round. I apologize for that. Internetsafety101.org states, "Almost 93% of kids, ages 12-17, are online, and most exhibit a level of digital proficiency bewildering to those of us who want to protect them. Kids are feeling pressured to post provocative pictures, videos, and blog about their deepest personal experiences in a very public forum. Without guidance from parents and educators, few are thinking through the implications of their online actions. To make matters worse, many of the legal measures we need to protect kids on our virtual streets are unenforced or outdated, and law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts are often underfunded." Given the dangers of the internet, how and why should it be a right? I want this question to be answered clearly, efficiently, and accurately. My opponent attempted to answer this, but I am not satisfied. I want more.

Many children and adolescents have had many bad things happen to them because they abused or were abused through the internet. It is most certainly not a right. It is a privilege. My opponent is unaware, however, that it is a privilege that can be earned very easily. The person must prove strength, trustworthiness, maturity, seriousness, integrity, and responsibility. These six things, I believe, are key to proper internet usage.

A Personal Story
When I was in the sixth grade and first obtained a Facebook account, I chatted with people I did not know, sent rude and perhaps even offensive messages to people, and did things without thinking. I was immature and irresponsible. Using the internet, I did certain things I am not particularly proud of - I did nothing illegal, of course - but why should I have had the right to use it, given the the things I have done? I should not have been allowed to simply use it. I should have earned it.

A year later, in seventh grade, I changed. I matured. I saw the errors in my ways and utilized the internet responsibly. Instead of chatting with people I did not know, I researched information for projects, studied a new language, or played interactive educational games.

Now, I am in the eighth grade, with only a few more weeks left until I am in high school. I am now writing this argument for this debate. I look back at my actions and I think, Why did I do those things? Why did I have the internet available? Why didn't I wait? If I had the maturity and responsibility of now at that time, I would have waited.

Perspective
You cannot simply allow an individual to use the internet without him or her having proven responsibility and maturity. If you had a child, would you immediately allow him or her to utilize the internet? If yes, you would surely one day come in their room and catch them watching pornography or chatting with a pedophile. You would take away the computer or other device, or at least restrict them from using the internet for a certain amount of time. They have to earn the privilege again. If my opponent has any objection to these statements, I would like for him to address them in depth in his rebuttals.

Pedophilia on the Web
My second source is written by M. E. Kabay, PhD, CISSP-ISSMP. He writes the following:


"Children, parents and teachers face a new area of danger: the Internet. This course will review the dangers that people can meet on the Internet and then examine some of the technology that is helpful in preventing harm.

Let's start with pedophiles. Pedophilia is defined as sexual arousal in response to contact with or images of prepubescent children. Some pedophiles misrepresent themselves as youngsters in chat rooms or via e-mail and trick children into forming friendships with what they believe are peers. In one notorious case, a 47-year-old man misrepresented himself as a 15 year-old boy in e-mail to a 12-year old girl in New Jersey. The victim's mother stumbled onto a package from her daughter to a man she didn't know because the child had put the wrong postage on it. On the video tape inside, she found that her little girl had been cavorting naked in front of the family video camera.

In June 2000, child safety experts warned the U.S. congressional committee on child online protection that with the average of age of online users declining (children between the ages of two and seven are among the fastest growing user cohorts on the Internet), children increasingly are put at risk by their careless or ignorant online activities. The committee heard that 3,000 children were kidnapped in the U.S. last year after responding to online messages posted by their abductors. A recent survey of teenage girls found 12% had agreed to meet strangers who'd contacted them online."

Jamccartney, there is even a slight chance that I am a pedophile. Of course, we both know each other outside of debate.org: On Skype, on Google, and in real life. If that weren't the case, you would not have a good reason to believe that I am a 14 year-old - currently, at least - that loves classical music and is multilingual. My profile says so. How do you truly know? You know because we are close friends, not only online, but also physically.

The same cannot be said about other cases. Of course, if you are careful, only accept requests when there is a legitimate reason to trust them, send and receive messages with caution, and don't give in to the other party, you will be fine on the internet. However, that must be proven first. That is why it is a privilege.


As a Punishment for a Crime
In response to my question, my opponent says this: "My answer complicated. It depends on the situation. If s/he were in prison, my answer would be an automatic 'no'. However, if they were not in prison, living in society, my answer would be 'yes'. As I already mentioned, we are in the Information Age. The amount of internet usage in society is only going to increase drastically. Putting someone out in today's society and not giving them access to the world is a horrible thing to do, in my opinion. What can one do in society without that access? Not much. How can one turn their life around and become successful without that access? They cannot."

As a matter of fact, the internet is not the only source of information. I acknowledge that we live in the Information Age, but there are dozens of other types of medias in existence, most notably television, newspapers, magazines, and the radio. Tell me, can a person use a television in order to cyberbully or distribute child pornography? No, most certainly not. This is accomplished using the internet. Please consider this.

Summary
My opponent has not sufficiently argued his case. He makes a few good points, such as the fact that we live in the Information Age, but his argument is overall flawed, unfounded, and pathetic. It ignored many key elements of this issue and misunderstands many of the actual facts.

Also, his argument was rather short. I took my time and addressed the issues that matter. My opponent wrote a short, lousy argument, did not take his time, presented only two sources, presented his opinions without evidence, and generally did not perform well. I hope my opponent will do better and I look forward to his rebuttals.


jamccartney

Con

Introduction

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for responding. It is time for rebuttals, but I will cover some things I noticed before I begin.
First, WilliamsP has made some very punitive statements meant to manipulate the voters. These include "my opponent utilized only two in order to support his opinion, not at all forged upon fact" and "his argument is overall flawed, unfounded, and pathetic." I hope the voters take this into consideration.

Round 2 Rebuttals

"Most of us are aware of the sheer nature of the web, how dangerous it can be, the threat it poses, and how it impacts our society. I would like to seize the opportunity to remind my opponent of these dangers. The dangers of the net should be evident, but I will list a few of them anyway. My source provides the following information: ... These must not be ignored. They are a part of the internet culture and we must accept that. We must acknowledge the dangers of the web and the threat is poses to our youth and even mature individuals. Of course, the internet is vast and there is reliable information on it somewhere, but the internet is a very dangerous tool when not utilized carefully. You cannot simply provide one internet access because it is a "right". They must be worthy of using it; they must earn that privilege. They must be responsible and careful with it. You cannot simply give it to them because you claim it to be a right. You must ensure they deserve the opportunity to utilize such a useful, yet dangerous tool."

My opponent is using the dangers of the internet as a basis for his claim.

"Many experts will agree with me here. The New York Times states, "technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. For example, at one time if you didn’t have a horse it was hard to make a living. But the important right in that case was the right to make a living, not the right to a horse. Today, if I were granted a right to have a horse, I’m not sure where I would put it. The best way to characterize human rights is to identify the outcomes that we are trying to ensure. These include critical freedoms like freedom of speech and freedom of access to information — and those are not necessarily bound to any particular technology at any particular time. Indeed, even the United Nations report, which was widely hailed as declaring Internet access a human right, acknowledged that the Internet was valuable as a means to an end, not as an end in itself." This presents a great point, as a matter of fact. Humans have a right to information, but not necessarily a right to a specific means of obtaining that information, which, in this discussion, is the internet. Information can be accessed in other ways, by means of newspapers or other medias, not necessarily the internet. The internet can be used to cyberbully, hack, and manipulate. Other sources of information, like a newspaper or magazine, cannot be used the same way. I would like to ask my opponent how is the internet, in any way, a right?"

First of all, that article is talking about Vinton G. Cerf's opinion of human rights. There were very few facts presented in that article, besides facts about the internet itself. Secondly, my opponent asked me how it is a right. Here is a brief explanation:
Because we are now in the information age, the internet is a source of information, just as books were a century ago. The world is changing and so must our sources. My opponent must accept this change in the world and realize that restricting the internet today is must like restricting access to books, scrolls, and newspapers a century ago. WilliamsP says we should use other things, like newspapers and magazines. He does, however, fail to realize that those can be accessed on the internet, without the use of paper.

"The Post essentially says the same as the Times, but I would like to share it anyway as support: "Over the past few years, courts and parliaments in countries like France and Estonia have pronounced Internet access a human right. But that argument, however well meaning, misses a larger point: technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself.""

This does not prove anything. It is simply the opinion of, again, Vinton G. Cerf, whose article is linked to the Huffington Post website.

"Let's look at an example of an ex-convict. He was a cyberbully and child pornography distributor. He was caught, convicted, and released many years later. Does he deserve to use the internet again? Is is a right for him to visit it again? I say no. It is a privilege he must earn again. He must restore the people's trust in him and make them know that he is worthy."

What if this man needs to use the internet to research for an essay? What if he wants to turn his life around and create a life for himself? I'm a psychopath, but even I find that kind of a restriction to be immoral.

Round 3 Rebuttals


"My opponent has fully ignored certain aspects of internet usage. He simply states, "As I recently stated, we have entered the Information Age, which means our world is ... not be as successful as the people who do." I do acknowledge that the internet can be useful, but my opponent needs to acknowledge the very facts I placed before him. I showed how the internet is full of cyberbullying, pornography, and viruses, and can be used to hack and access classified information and data."

I thought we were debating whether the internet is a right or a privilege, not whether it is dangerous or not. I have searched the deep web and am fully aware of the dangers of the internet. I hope my opponent gets his arguments together in the next paragraph.

"I would like to share some additional facts about the internet, some of which I neglected to mention in the previous round. I apologize for that. Internetsafety101.org states, "Almost 93% of kids, ages 12-17, are ... efforts are often underfunded." Given the dangers of the internet, how and why should it be a right? I want this question to be answered clearly, efficiently, and accurately. My opponent attempted to answer this, but I am not satisfied. I want more."

Ah, yes. My opponent finally got to the true argument. He seems to be saying that the internet should be a privilege because it's dangerous. So, I guess kitchen knives should be only given to a privileged few because they are dangerous. How about a blender too? It's dangerous, so it shouldn't be a right, correct? What about paper? You could stuff it down someone's throat and kill them. Does that make it a privilege as well? I don't think so.
My opponent has not made a very good claim here. Perhaps his arguments will be better in the next paragraphs.

"Many children and adolescents have had many bad things happen to them because they abused or were abused through the internet. It is most certainly not a right. It is a privilege. My opponent is unaware, however, that it is a privilege that can be earned very easily. The person must prove strength, trustworthiness, maturity, seriousness, integrity, and responsibility. These six things, I believe, are key to proper internet usage."

The same thing occurred here. My opponent is saying the internet is a privilege because people abuse you. In that case, children should not go to school, because there is bullying there, right?

Next, my opponent talked about his history on the internet and how he wishes he did not have access to it when he was in sixth grade. I acknowledge this claim, however doing what you did in sixth grade was solely your choice. If I did not have access to the internet when I was in sixth grade, I would have failed the grade. There were many times when I needed to access the internet for projects.

"As a matter of fact, the internet is not the only source of information. I acknowledge that we live in the Information Age, but there are dozens of other types of medias in existence, most notably television, newspapers, magazines, and the radio. Tell me, can a person use a television in order to cyberbully or distribute child pornography? No, most certainly not. This is accomplished using the internet. Please consider this."

First, televisions are actually computers and Smart TVs can connect to the internet. That particular claim is invalid. However, my opponent is making the same argument he has been making: The internet is dangerous, so it should be a privilege. He has also talked about other forms of media, which are actually available on the internet without the use of paper.

Conclusion

I believe my opponent has made some invalid arguments. I also believe I have proved him wrong. I look forward to his final refutations and his conclusion.

Works Cited

1. http://www.nytimes.com...
2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 3
WilliamsP

Pro

Introduction
I will begin this round by thanking my opponent for his refutations. Before I make my final refutations and conclusion, I would like to apologize if it seemed that I tried to manipulate the voters. I honestly did not intend to do so, but if it seems like it, I would like to apologize. Now, I will state my final refutations and write a conclusion.

Rebuttals
I believe my opponent misunderstood some of my arguments. The dangers of the internet are key to my argument, but there are other certain points. Not only does the internet pose a threat, but it can also be misused. The internet itself is not always the threat; it is the people involved in it, it is the viruses and other harmful files on it, it is the media it presents - pornography is included - and how it affects our society.

I utilized the opinion of Vinton G. Cerf in order to support my argument. Expert opinions are great supporting elements of an argument.

My opponent provides a brief explanation of why it should be a right. He says this:

"Because we are now in the information age, the internet is a source of information, just as books were a century ago. The world is changing and so must our sources. My opponent must accept this change in the world and realize that restricting the internet today is must like restricting access to books, scrolls, and newspapers a century ago. WilliamsP says we should use other things, like newspapers and magazines. He does, however, fail to realize that those can be accessed on the internet, without the use of paper."

I acknowledge fully that we are in the Information Age. He says, "my opponent [I] must accept this change in the world and realize that restricting the internet today is must like restricting access to books, scrolls, and newspapers a century ago." Here is my issue: I do accept it. I truly do. I never claimed that one should not use the internet. I just argue that it is not a right; that it is a privilege. It is a privilege that can be easily earned and maintained. It is that simple.

My opponent states the following: "Ah, yes. My opponent finally got to the true argument. He seems to be saying that the internet should be a privilege because it's dangerous. So, I guess kitchen knives should be only given to a privileged few because they are dangerous. How about a blender too? It's dangerous, so it shouldn't be a right, correct? What about paper? You could stuff it down someone's throat and kill them. Does that make it a privilege as well? I don't think so." I would like for my opponent to compare the dangers of the internet do the dangers of a kitchen knife or a blender. Honestly, this claim is absolutely pathetic and does not have a place in this debate. A kitchen knife is used to cut food. The internet is used to obtain information and, perhaps, spread crime.

I made the following statement:

"Many children and adolescents have had many bad things happen to them because they abused or were abused through the internet. It is most certainly not a right. It is a privilege. My opponent is unaware, however, that it is a privilege that can be earned very easily. The person must prove strength, trustworthiness, maturity, seriousness, integrity, and responsibility. These six things, I believe, are key to proper internet usage."


My opponent responded with this statement:

"The same thing occurred here. My opponent is saying the internet is a privilege because people abuse you. In that case, children should not go to school, because there is bullying there, right?"

There is a clear difference between school - an obligation - and the internet - a choice. You are obligated to go school, but you choose to use the internet.

In response to my personal story, my opponent said this:

"Next, my opponent talked about his history on the internet and how he wishes he did not have access to it when he was in sixth grade. I acknowledge this claim, however doing what you did in sixth grade was solely your choice. If I did not have access to the internet when I was in sixth grade, I would have failed the grade. There were many times when I needed to access the internet for projects."

I am sure my opponent did some of the same things I did in the sixth grade. The truth of the matter is that I also utilized the internet at times to do certain projects.

"First, televisions are actually computers and Smart TVs can connect to the internet. That particular claim is invalid. However, my opponent is making the same argument he has been making: The internet is dangerous, so it should be a privilege. He has also talked about other forms of media, which are actually available on the internet without the use of paper. "

I do acknowledge that televisions are computers and can access the internet. I concede to that notion. However, my opponent must accept the fact that the Information Age is served not only through the internet, but also through other types of sources. Newspapers and magazines are usually more accurate than a website.

I will now refute my opponent's conclusion:

"I believe my opponent has made some invalid arguments." I have made only one, which was the one regarding televisions. I do not see any other invalid arguments of mine. My opponent, on the other hand, misunderstood my arguments and is taking the wrong side of this issue.

"I also believe I have proved him wrong." Actually, he has not. He solely used his opinion - with only a few facts to support it - in order to argue his case. In the second round, I had seven sources. My opponent had two. I am not trying to manipulate the voters when I say this, but I say this: Voters, please consider this. This clearly shows that my opponent has not taken his time and that his argumend revolved around his opinion, with a few facts here and there. Here is what I did: I defined the internet. I defined 'privilege'. I provided information about the dangers of the internet. I extensively showed how internet access is a privilege instead of a right.

Conclusion
Overall, this debate was enjoyable. However, my opponent had his entire arguments revolve around his opinion solely, with a few facts here or there. The voters should consider this. I do see my opponent's case and he makes some valid points, but the reality of the situation is that I argued more extensively, more in depth, and more efficiently than my opponent. So far in this debate, I used a total of nine sources. My oppponent, in total, has four. I effectively utilized my sources, while my opponent did not truly do so. The outcome of this debate lies in the hands of the voters. My opponent likes to end his debates with, "Vote Con!" or "Vote Pro!", while I do not. It is not the choice of the debaters. It is the interpretation of the debate and voting on the debate that counts. I look forward to my opponent's final refutations and conclusion and I wish him good luck.
jamccartney

Con

Introduction

I would like to begin by thanking WilliamsP for giving me his rebuttals. I will begin my final rebuttals and conclusion.

Rebuttals

"I believe my opponent misunderstood some of my arguments. The dangers of the internet are key to my argument, but there are other certain points. Not only does the internet pose a threat, but it can also be misused. The internet itself is not always the threat; it is the people involved in it, it is the viruses and other harmful files on it, it is the media it presents - pornography is included - and how it affects our society."

I have not misunderstood his arguments. He is saying that the internet should not be given to certain people because of the "viruses and other harmful files on it." There was no misunderstanding here.

"I acknowledge fully that we are in the Information Age. He says, "my opponent [I] must accept this change in the world and realize that restricting the internet today is must like restricting access to books, scrolls, and newspapers a century ago." Here is my issue: I do accept it. I truly do. I never claimed that one should not use the internet. I just argue that it is not a right; that it is a privilege. It is a privilege that can be easilyearned and maintained. It is that simple."

I am glad my opponent accepts that we are in the Information Age. It just seemed as if he were contradicting himself.

"I would like for my opponent to compare the dangers of the internet do the dangers of a kitchen knife or a blender. Honestly, this claim is absolutely pathetic and does not have a place in this debate. A kitchen knife is used to cut food. The internet is used to obtain information and, perhaps, spread crime."

Okay, I will compare the internet and a kitchen knife.
A kitchen knife brutally kills, while the internet is a tool for communication and research.

"There is a clear difference between school - an obligation - and the internet - a choice. You are obligated to go school, but you choose to use the internet."

My opponent is not understanding my point.

"I am sure my opponent did some of the same things I did in the sixth grade. The truth of the matter is that I also utilized the internet at times to do certain projects."

I actually did not do those things. My parents thought it would be a good idea to keep things like the real world from me, so I did not even know about dangerous things on the internet.

"I do acknowledge that televisions are computers and can access the internet. I concede to that notion. However, my opponent must accept the fact that the Information Age is served not only through the internet, but also through other types of sources. Newspapers and magazines are usually more accurate than a website."

The Information Age is actually only served through the internet. The internet is where digital information is. The only places you find digital information are on the computer and on the internet.

Conclusion

I have enjoyed this debate. I have proved my opponent incorrect and have proved that the internet should be a right, not a privilege. It is called freedom; civil rights.

"There is nothing more important to a human than freedom. There is also nothing more perverted by a government than a human's freedom. It pains me to see humans not reaching their full potential by reason of this perversion." - Jacob McCartney

I want to thank WilliamsP for debating me and hope the voters choose the correct vote. Thank you.

Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
RFD:
Pro's opening " I'm mildly confused by Pro's arguments here. He is quickly able to define what he means by 'privilege', and that there is no right to use it, but his next argument (the dangers of the internet) does not make much sense. Essentially, he is arguing that, because the internet is dangerous, it isn't a right. That is really poor logic and doesn't convince me of his case at all. His final part is more compelling, as he notes several reasons internet access can be revoke, and thus argues it is a privilege, not a right. He runs into a roadblock as much of his case is requesting Con prove how the internet is a right. He requests Con answer whether or not a criminal should be able to lose internet access, claiming that if Con says 'yes' the debate is over. However, no BOP is set at the start of the debate. Thus the BOP is, at the very least, shared " and certainly not on the person who didn't start the debate.

Con's opening " Con immediately refutes the most important part of Pro's case by noting that punishment for crimes already results in revocation of rights, including the right to free speech. However, Con's opening is VERY short and, more importantly, he never proves how internet access is a right.
Posted by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
Pro's rebuttal " Pro begins by re-asserting that the internet is a privilege by arguing it is dangerous. As I explained early, I don't find this argument convincing. He also establishes his own criteria for privilege to internet access. Pro also offers a personal account of his internet experience, and says he was immature and thus shouldn't have been able to use the internet. This is a fairly unconvincing case, given that, as Con argued in his opening, being able to use the internet is almost required for success these days. He argues a parent should revoke internet privilege for kids who misuse it, and thus it isn't a right. This is a decent argument. Far less convincing is the idea that because people lie about who they are on the internet, it isn't a right. Also, I run into a factual issue with Pro's argument that a pedophile can't use other media forms besides the internet to distribute child pornography, which is clearly false as child pornography can be recorded and burned to a VHS or DVD without using the internet.

Con's rebuttal " To begin, Con correctly notes a conduct issue on Pro's part; Pro described Con's argument as 'pathetic', an attack that certainly doesn't belong in a civilized debate. Con then mostly refutes Pro's block quotes, which really doesn't do much either way. In rebutting round 3, Con makes a good observation: this debate is not on whether or not the internet is dangerous, but whether or not it is a privilege. Much of Pro's case is spent on the former rather than the latter. He uses Pro's logic to assert that kitchen knives, blenders, paper and school are all dangerous and thus should be restricted to only a few people. Con counters Pro's personal experience by asserting that he (Con) would have failed sixth grade if he didn't have internet access.
Posted by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
Pro's final " To begin, Pro apologizes for any rude behavior. To open his arguments he quickly defends his sources, noting that expert opinions are good supporting elements to any argument. Rather than refute Con's argument on other things being banned for some people, he uses an ad homenim insult Con's argument. This basically seals conduct points to be awarded to Con. Pro argues that school is an obligation, not a choice, and thus the two are not comparable, and also concedes he used the internet for research and that TVs can access the internet.

Con's final " Con's rebuttals basically consist of continuing the back-and-forth between him and Pro. His conclusion is very short and doesn't really change my opinion either way.

My vote: Conduct points go to Con due to Pro's uncivil remarks at points. Although I noticed Pro made a few typos, I have not awarded S&G as his arguments were far longer on average and thus there was more room for error. Source points clearly go to Pro " he used far more sources, almost all of which were of exceedingly high quality, whereas Con only used two sources the whole debate (a dictionary definition and a Wikipedia article). In the most important category " arguments " I have to award the points to Con. Pro's case simply isn't strong enough to meet even a shared burden of proof, and Con made an effective case as to how the internet can be a right and still be subject to limitations from criminal conviction.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD:

This debate went in an odd direction, and the main reason I think that happened is because we never got a clear idea of what the difference was between a right and a privilege. The back and forth on this topic mainly missed the realities of what both words entail, focusing mainly on whether one can be removed or not.

That confused me, mainly because the central difference between a privilege and a right is one of application, not removal. Everyone in a given population gets rights, they're considered fundamental. Not everyone in that same population will necessarily be afforded a given privilege, mainly because there is some barrier (race, creed, religion, etc.) that is set around the population that is included, and thereby excludes others. I got no analysis on this throughout the debate.

Instead, what was discussed was the removal of one versus the other, and while there is a difference between the two, it's not quite as black and white. Both a right and a privilege can be removed, and Con is right to state that rights can be taken away and still be rights. The main difference is that since rights are viewed as fundamental, their removal is normally only reserved for severe cases in which someone has violated a given set of rules that are viewed as integral to society. Privileges can normally be removed for a wider variety of reasons and require less justification, though many would view certain privileges in the same light as rights, so it's not clear cut.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
But this wasn't really the basis for discussion. Pro kept claiming that if access to the Internet were a right, it would not be removable and therefore more harm would come to society, but this is patently false. Even Con bought into this mindset from time to time.

What's more, I'm not given a basis for making a decision in this debate. How do I decide whether the Internet is warranted in being a privilege or a right? I get arguments from Pro that it shouldn't be a right because it is unnecessary, that it leads to a right of access to information but is only a means of access, and that it presents with a number of dangers to society. I get arguments from Con that the Internet is a necessary store of information, and that the dangers presented are non-unique. But in all that, I never get an evaluation of what I should do to make my decision. If I agree that the Internet is a necessary store of information and that it's a constant danger to everyone on it, does that mean it should be a privilege or a right? You're basically forcing me to do all the weighing of each position for you, and neither of you should be engaging in that. It just means you're not going to like the outcome.

I'll go through the positions briefly, and state where I stand on it. Note that while the debate did revolve around strange definitional differences between rights and privileges, I will be functioning based on the reality of those two words rather than how they were debated.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
I buy Pro's analysis that the Internet is an unnecessary source of information, and I really shouldn't be buying this. The argument made here is that information can be acquired from other sources, but that ignores the fact that many other sources simply aren't available to a great majority of the people on this planet, nor does it address the reality that the Internet is by far the most extensive listing of information anywhere. Even if one has access to an regularly reads/watches magazines, newspapers, books and TV, that's not even close to the information available through online sources, which includes and eclipses others. I don't see that argument from Con, though he alludes to it a few times.

I buy Pro's argument that having a right to a means of accessing information does not equate to having a right to access information, but this argument stops being a part of the debate after R2. Both Pro and Con drop this argument completely out, which is a shame because it's probably the best argument in the debate. I can't weigh it much, though, and as Pro decides not to recall it in R4 (he certainly had space to do so), it doesn't really factor into my decision.

I buy Pro's argument of harms, though I think Con does enough to mitigate this... mostly. Con's non-unique arguments are really not sufficient to deal with the position as a whole. Even though I buy much of what Con's said here, all it tells me is that we allow other dangerous things to be rights, and we should allow this to be a right as well. First off, access to a knife is not a right, anywhere, so that comparison isn't very apt. In fact, the main comparison that I found useful here was the one to schooling, since there is a right for everyone to access schooling, and despite Pro's argument that school is an obligation, it really doesn't change the reality that it's also a right and something that presents with possible concerns for children.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Second, all I have to do is buy that there's a harm that's reduced by making the Internet a privilege. I'm not given substantive evidence to show that making the Internet a privilege is certain or even likely to reduce these harms, but Con never points that out. So long as I'm buying that Pro has solvency against the harms of Internet usage by the broader community, I'm buying a benefit to his side. So now I'm looking for harms to balance that.

I can look at these harms in two ways. I can say that Pro is being hypocritical, stating that he wants to make the Internet a privilege while allowing other things to be rights, but then I see no harm to Pro's case. Hypocrisy, by itself, is not harmful. Or, I can say that Pro is paving the way for other rights to be turned into privileges and taken away more easily, but I don't get any argumentation on why that's harmful, even though I understand it to be harmful on some levels. Con never tells me that either of these are what I should be looking to, so while I buy that there is some possibility of harms in the larger scheme of things, I'm not seeing any actual harms. All Con has really done here is shown that there's a logical inconsistency in Pro's arguments, which leaves me wondering why that should factor into my decision.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Third, and I can't believe this argument didn't come up, I'm not being given any reason to believe that if people did have to go to other sources of information, they would be just as if not more harmed. Pro constantly waves his hands, stating that all of the harms he cites are unique to the Internet, and yet when I read the list (possible destruction of work, useless spam, cheating by con artists, misleading information, dangerous content, temptations, etc.), I don't see a single example that is unique to the Internet.

If someone keeps their work in paper form, it can be lost by fire, fading, water damage, or any number of other sources of damage. If it's just on a computer, then that too can easily be destroyed or damaged, removing the valuable information. Without the Internet, that computer is less likely to be backed up and the information stored elsewhere.

I get useless spam in the mail every day. Why is the Internet so special?

Con artists try to cheat me on the streets, by knocking on my door, on television commercials and in newspaper ads. Again, don't see the difference.

I get misleading information from every source I read, including reputed books.

Pornography is everywhere " all I need to do is go to Vegas and I get an all access pass. Hate literature is literature, it's in books, and they're accessible at local libraries. Bomb-building information is also readily accessible from other sources. I get proselytized every time someone with a Bible shouts things in my campus's quad. And misinformation about any source is pervasive in society.

Temptation to do illegal things exists separate from the Internet as well, as does addiction to a variety of activities and substances. Hell, even Pro's strongest example (pedophilia) is not suddenly better once the Internet disappears. People can still hide their identity and send a letter or notes. Why is the Internet so special?

But I never see these arguments, and as such, the harms stand.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
So here's what I'm left with. With incredibly few warrants, I'm being told by Pro that there is no reason why the Internet is necessary. So long as I'm buying that, the fundamental reason why it should be a right is lost for Con. So now he has to make it up elsewhere by showing other reasons why the Internet must be a right, and I just don't see that. If the main purpose of doing so is just to be less hypocritical and ensure that our other rights that could put us in danger survive, then Con needs to say that. I don't see that argument anywhere, and instead I just see a list of non-unique harms that are, at least in Pro's estimation, being solved for as a result of the Internet being made a privilege. So I vote Pro.
Posted by WilliamsP 2 years ago
WilliamsP
I see. Well, I am going to learn from this experience and accept defeat.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
WilliamsPjamccartneyTied
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
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Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments. I'm also affording Pro source points, mainly because two of the sources given by Con were Pro's to begin with, and because the other two were just a dictionary reference and a wikipedia page listing various time periods in human history that does nothing for Con's arguments.
Vote Placed by Jonbonbon 2 years ago
Jonbonbon
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Reasons for voting decision: I give conduct to con because in the third round pro accused con of not providing a thorough rebuttal in a round that con wasn't supposed to provide a rebuttal. I gave arguments to con because pro started to argue things that were irrelevant to the topic, while con tried to bring debate back to the topic. Sources go to con since pro used anecdotal evidence (didn't explain this the first time I guess, so I'm revoting). Con had a couple minor grammar errors, particularly at the end, that bugged me enough that I'll give pro the S&G point.
Vote Placed by Cobo 2 years ago
Cobo
WilliamsPjamccartneyTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Okay, so Pro got absolutely destroyed in Rounds 2 and 3. Just getting that out of the way. Pro's first speech was composed primarily of fluff sources. This is not evidence, pro. Evidence implies statistics or studies of such, your sources were editorials who authorial credentials are iffy. While we are also talking about sources, more sources does not equal the sources point, let's get that clear. Thats why I gave the source point to Con, due to the Con actually having valid sources that did not contradict what they were trying to say. The pro also screwed themselves by trying to slide in a different definition of privilege. And personal anecdotes trying to appeal to emotions do not really work. Con did an excellent job of pointing out that when the pro was talking about the dangers it did not apply to the debate. Argumentation wise I do not see a point where the Con lost.
Vote Placed by MyDinosaurHands 2 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
WilliamsPjamccartneyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources-The only sources Con used to support his arguments were the ones Pro had used. He was just citing the website Pro had pulled his statements from. Con did not do any actual research here. While many of Pros sources extolled a person's opinions, there were some real statistics that were supportive of his arguments. Arguments- Pro did a decent job, whereas I thought Con did a very poor job. I thought Pro's point about internet danger was the best. He had a couple tacked on, such as the ex-convict, that I thought were weaker, and potentially an easy rebuttal for Con, but Con failed to rebut that well. That was the case with many other of Con's rebuttals. Often they consisted of a sentence like, "My opponent misunderstands me here." That is not a rebuttal. I thought there were a few rebuttals Pro could've done better, but, overall, he did much better. Conduct- Originally I was going to give this to Con for Pro's initial bad-mouthing, but when Con did the same, I decided on a tie.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 2 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
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Reasons for voting decision: I am giving Pro source points as he insisted he has more sources, although this is not how sources points normally get allocated. I am amusing myself doing this, as really sources are determined by content. Argument points go to Con, as Pros arguments hinged on the dangers of the Internet which can be held as personal opinion. Maybe a freedom fighter appreciates the ease with which to find bomb making instructions, and maybe the lonely business person enjoys the pornography. While dangers exist on the INTERNET, this is a not a reason to not allow someone the use (or right) to the Internet as Con pointed out.
Vote Placed by ArcTImes 2 years ago
ArcTImes
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a good debate and I think it was very close. But I don't see a tie here. Conduct was ok in both side, same with S&G. But Con showed the flaws of Pro's arguments related to danger, while showing why it is necessary in the information age. About the sources, this criteria is about the most reliable sources, not the most amount of sources. Although the reliability of Wikipedia is debatable, I think this is a tie.
Vote Placed by PotBelliedGeek 2 years ago
PotBelliedGeek
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Reasons for voting decision: I found this a very difficult debate to vote on. I feel like Pro failed to present his arguments and support them, rather he allowed others to argue through him. I give arguments to pro not due excellent arguments an his part, rather due to a lack thereof on part of Con. Con presented a few points related to the importance of internet usage, and its theoretical necessity in the modern age, but simply failed to illustrate the internet's status as a right.Pro loses conduct for calling his opponents argument "Pathetic", in a show of what seems to unnecessary disrespect. S&G go to con as well, because I found Cons argument easier to read as far as sentence structure and language flow. Pro used far more and far better sources than Con, so despite the issue I presented with them before, I will award sources to Pro. I congratulate both participants on an excellent debate, and look forward to seeing more of them in the future.
Vote Placed by John95 2 years ago
John95
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Reasons for voting decision: Both are extremely good debaters. I wish I could debate this well. Thank you for the wonderful exercise in critical thinking, @WilliamsP and @jamccartney.