Disabled people in the United States are surrounded, defined, and, to some degree, controlled by data, technology, and information—from medical technology and therapies to educational systems to social and government services and policies that shape their lives. The extent to which they can access and use technologies to accomplish their own goals is less clear. This review discusses access to data and technology for people with disabilities, focusing on agency and digital transinstitutionalization—the extension of institutional frameworks, such as surveillance and control, from state hospitals into community settings via data-driven technologies. We amplify academic scholarship and public discussion on disability access and accessibility. We also challenge the idea that disabled people have “access” to technology in contexts where they do not control technology, such as healthcare, internet-enabled smart homes and communities, and the workplace. Whenever possible, we highlight the work of openly disabled researchers, authors, thinkers, and advocates across multiple fields who write about disability and technology and work toward equity for disabled people. 

Publication Details

Who’s in Charge? Information Technology and Disability Justice in the United States
Amelia Gibson, Rua Williams
Social Science Research Council
Publish Date
March 1, 2022