Internet Justice: Reconceptualizing the Legal Rights of Persons with Disabilities to Promote Equal Access in the Age of Rapid Technological Change

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Paul T. Jaeger


accessibility, internet, social justice


Although a range of laws and regulations have been created in the United States to promote online accessibility for persons with disabilities, tremendous disparities persist in access to Internet technologies and content. Such inaccessibility is an enormous barrier to equality and participation in society for persons with disabilities. The current legal approaches to online accessibility have not proven successful, focusing on specific technologies and technical solutions to accessibility. This paper argues for a reconceptualization of the approach to promoting legal guarantees of online access for persons with disabilities, focusing on information and communication goals, the processes of accessing information, and new approaches to monitoring, guidance, and enforcement. Without a broader conception of accessibility under the law, persons with disabilities risk being increasingly excluded from the technologies and content of the Internet that are coming to define social, educational, employment, and government interactions.
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