The Covid-19 pandemic is underscoring that internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to participate in society fully. More than half the world’s population is now online. But access varies hugely (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/04/02/8-charts-on-internet-use-around-the-world-as-countries-grapple-with-covid-19) according to the development level of countries, the wealth and education of individuals, and gender: fewer women than men use the internet.

In some places, the ability to use a crucial source of information may be a matter of life and death right now (even if not all the information is reliable). Millions of people are denied access. Human Rights Watch has urged (https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/03/31/end-internet-shutdowns-manage-covid-19) governments that have imposed internet shutdowns — such as Bangladesh and Myanmar — to lift them, warning that they could prove deadly given coronavirus’s spread...

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