Abstract - The Information Society 23(3)

A Three-Way Dance: The Global Public Good and Accessibility in Information Technologies  

Deborah Stienstra, James Watzke, and Gary Birch

When we recognize the development and use of information technologies as an emerging global public good we can move away from the stark dualisms of profit versus human rights, market share versus accessibility, competition versus inclusion to an understanding of how both public and private interests are at play in the development of this global public good. Governments, industry and disability advocacy organizations are each involved in the construction of this public good in a complex three-way dance. We argue that in the context of this three-way dance it is possible to create a common ground between disability advocacy organizations and the IT industry by developing tools that address the tensions that arise from their differing motivating forces. Specifically we argue that three sets of tools -- regulation, developing ease of use products and standards, and using education to increase the market strength of people with disabilities as consumers -- can change the relationships between these two communities of interest in ways that will benefit each.


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