From zero to hero: How zero-rating became a debate about human rights

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Zero rating has become a perfect storm incorporating politics, profit and technical complexity. The claim that everyone has a right to internet connectivity is coming into conflict with the argument for net neutrality: will the provision of free data services via mobile phones worldwide privilege a small minority of content providers such as Facebook and Google, or will it provide valuable access to information and services for low-income people worldwide? This dichotomy, however, is based on a reductivist perspective that does not take into account the possible disadvantages of a reliance on mobile connectivity for a majority of the world’s citizens. If we add geographical and economic context into the debate, it becomes apparent that zero-rating could benefit some, but could also impoverish and further disadvantage many. Who are the winners and losers from a global perspective, and what are their chances against the prevailing wisdom of Silicon Valley?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Internet Computing
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2016


  • big data
  • human rights
  • mobile telecommuinications


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