German High Court Ruling: Internet is an Integral Part of Modern Life

Germany's highest court has ruled that Internet is such an important part of modern everyday life that when someone gets cut off from it they deserve some sort of compensation. The German high court made this determination based on a case involving a German citizen who was disconnected from his DSL line in 2008 because of some unspecified technical error. The citizen was offline for two months and he was angry enough about it to sue the ISP for his expenses (he used his mobile phone instead of his wireline VoIP service) as well as €50 ($67) per day because he had no connection. While the court did not give him what he asked for it did send the case back to a lower court telling it to set the fine accordingly.

A rough Google translation of the court’s press release notes:

The internet replaces, because of the easy availability of information, more and more other media, such as encyclopedias, magazines or television. It also allows the global exchange between its users, for example via e-mail, forums, blogs and social networks. In addition, it is increasingly for the initiation and conclusion of contracts, used for making transactions and to fulfill public service obligations. The majority of people in Germany uses the Internet daily.

If you can read German, then you might want to check out the court's official ruling here.

It is interesting that the German High Court ruled this way, because it "sort of" falls in line with what the United Nations has said about having access to the Internet: it is a human right. While the court certainly did leap that far in defense of access to Internet, it is clear that it is as integral a part of human existence these days as having access to a telephone or electricity…

Source: GIGA OM


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