HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Impact Of Digital Rights And Digital Rights Violations On Persons With Disabilities

Bizibrains Okpeh (Nigerian Bar Association), Impact Of Digital Rights And Digital Rights Violations On Persons With Disabilities, SSRN (2021):

There is no gainsaying that digitalisation has become one of the hallmarks of the 21st Century. Human interactions, commercial and social activities are increasingly being digitalised so much so that human existence is fast becoming intrinsically linked, integrated, or connected with “digital life”. This has been made possible by the advancement in Internet and Communication Technology (ICT) and the Internet of Things (IoT), which ensures the continuing development and invention of new smart technologies, applications, and software to facilitate, and in some instances anchor, human communications, interactions, and transactions, with more than 100 billion devices or applications now connected to the internet (Ford online news), sometimes creating “new and complex” rights, and dynamic perspective in human rights discourse often referred to as digital rights.

Regrettably, these digital rights suffer increasing incessant violations consisting in the nefarious and fraudulent activities of cybercriminals and internet fraudsters (“Yahoo Yahoo”) and other cyber, electronic, or internet offences, including cyber terrorism, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, cybersquatting, hacking, cyber flashing, cyber invasion, cyber threats, cyber conspiracy, phishing and spamming, cyber (disability) discrimination, racism, and xenophobia, etc.

Worse still, perhaps of equal or greater threat to digital rights are the undemocratic, regressive, and repressive government policies and directives, which result in the continual clampdown on access to the internet, irregular “official” data privacy invasions, surveillance and wiretapping, arrest of e-activists/bloggers, and restriction, suspension, and bans on access to digital devices or platforms, such as social media, by governments of various countries, including Nigeria, which recently banned access to Twitter and made several attempts to arrogate somewhat sweeping powers to itself to control the broadcasting and social media space.

This work shines the spotlight on the increasing reliance of persons with disabilities, especially persons who are blind or visually impaired or otherwise print disabled, on assistive technology devices, including internet, electronic, and digital contents, and other accessible formats for social interaction and to access information. It further accentuates the impact of digital rights violations on the human rights, lives, livelihoods, and mental health of persons with disabilities.

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