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HLS Library Book Talk: Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology

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Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology
Edited by Jonathan Lazar and Michael Ashley Stein book cover

Harvard Law School Library discussion panel on the book, Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology (Jonathan Lazar & Michael Ashley Stein eds., Univ. Pa. Press, June 26, 2017). Michael Ashley Stein is Visiting Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability. Jonathan Lazar is Professor of Computer and Information Sciences and Director of the Undergraduate Program in Information Systems at Towson University.

Disability, Human Rights, and Information Technology addresses the global issue of equal access to information and communications technology (ICT) by persons with disabilities. The right to access the same digital content at the same time and at the same cost as people without disabilities is implicit in several human rights instruments and is featured prominently in Articles 9 and 21 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The right to access ICT, moreover, invokes complementary civil and human rights issues: freedom of expression; freedom to information; political participation; civic engagement; inclusive education; the right to access the highest level of scientific and technological information; and participation in social and cultural opportunities.

Despite the ready availability and minimal cost of technology to enable people with disabilities to access ICT on an equal footing as consumers without disabilities, prevailing practice around the globe continues to result in their exclusion. Questions and complexities may also arise where technologies advance ahead of existing laws and policies, where legal norms are established but not yet implemented, or where legal rights are defined but clear technical implementations are not yet established.

At the intersection of human-computer interaction, disability rights, civil rights, human rights, international development, and public policy, the volume's contributors examine crucial yet underexplored areas, including technology access for people with cognitive impairments, public financing of information technology, accessibility and e-learning, and human rights and social inclusion.

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