New Book: Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology

Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology

Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology

People with disabilities have a civil and human right to access the same digital content, at the same time, and at the same cost as people without disabilities. In a majority of cases, technology solutions already exist to make that situation a reality. Yet, despite the ready availability and minimal cost of technology to enable people with disabilities to equally access ICTs—as well as the increasing use of that technology by consumers without disabilities—prevailing practice around the globe results in the exclusion of those individuals.
The book “Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology, ” edited by Jonathan Lazar and Michael Stein, addresses the globally pertinent issue of equal access to and inclusion in ICT by persons with disabilities. New technologies create interesting questions at the intersection of human-computer interaction, disability rights, civil rights, human rights, international development, and public policy.
Indeed, more frontiers of human-computer interaction are unsettled than resolved, and this is especially true when involving persons with diverse disabilities. Some quandaries arise in the circumstance where technologies have advanced ahead of existing laws and policies, as is the case when considering the intellectual property implications of captioning.1
Other complexities arise where legal norms have been established but not yet implemented, or where legal rights are defined, but clear technical implementations are not yet established, for instance interface accessibility for people with cognitive impairments. Additional questions arise when allocating limited resources, especially within the context of developing countries.
The book features 16 chapters on varying topics on the frontiers of ICT accessibility, from a cross section of scholars in computer science and law, civil and human rights advocates, practitioners, and government policymakers. More information available at University of Pennsylvania Press.


1 Captioning is an accessible solution that has existed for nearly 40 years