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The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Right to Privacy

  • Published: 2013-07-15 (Revised/Updated 2014-11-28) : Author: Disabled World : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: The NSA and U.S. Government are clearly violating our inherent dignity, individual autonomy, and freedom to make our own choices with independence.

Quote: "Having been labeled for the vast majority of my life in various ways, I have no desire whatsoever to be labeled as a potential terrorist - especially after serving this nation to the best of my ability."

Main Document

The United States Government, through the National Security Agency (NSA), has chosen to collect every single piece of information it can from every single American. The justification the U.S. Government uses for this is the, 'War on Terror.' In other words, every single American has now been declared a potential terrorist by the U.S. Government, to include People with Disabilities who are this nation's largest minority population.

The question that crossed my mind was not only what the United States Constitution has to say about the actions of the U.S. Government through the NSA, but what the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has to say about privacy. I find it exceptionally difficult to trust a government that places no trust in me, so what does the CRPD have to say about privacy

In Article 2 of the CRPD it states that, 'Communication,' includes languages, Braille, displays of text, large print, tactile communication, accessible multimedia, as well as audio, written, human-reader, plain-language, and augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, to include accessible information and communication technologies. Communication, under the CRPD's definition, includes the definition of, 'language,' in spoken and signed languages and other forms of non-spoken languages. The definitions in the CRPD are highly relevant and important to the abuses by the NSA of our right to privacy.

"Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded.'s getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life."- Edward Snowden

Article 3 of the CRPD says that state parties shall respect the inherent dignity and individual autonomy including the freedom to make one's own choices, and independence of persons, as well as full and effective participation, inclusion in society, and non-discrimination. The principles are important where the abuses on the part of the U.S. Government through the NSA are concerned because the NSA and the U.S. Government are clearly violating our inherent dignity, individual autonomy, and freedom to make our own choices with independence. By labeling us as potential terrorists through consistent collection of our private information, the NSA is discriminating against us. The actions of the NSA and the U.S. Government find us unable to fully and effectively participate in American society - we have become suspects of crimes we have not even committed.

In Article 14 of the CRPD, the topic of Liberty and Security of the Person are approached. Remember that the United States of America and its Government signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) with much apparent pride and glee. In Article 14 of the CRPD it says that People with Disabilities have the right to enjoy liberty and security of person - something that is absolutely impossible while the NSA is collecting every last bit of our private information it possibly can.

The topic of Freedom from Exploitation, Violence and Abuse are approached in Article 16 of the CRPD. Article 16 says that States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, social, administrative, educational and other measures to protect people with disabilities - both within and outside of our homes, from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse. The NSA and the U.S. Government are flagrantly abusing our right to privacy, abusing us through the NSA on a consistent basis, exploiting our private information, all while failing to adhere to Article 16 of the CRPD.

Perhaps the most profound violation of People with Disabilities as a minority population in relation to the NSA, the U.S. Government, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) involves Article 22 - Respect for Privacy. Article 22 says, "No person with disabilities, regardless of place of residence or living arrangements, shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence or other types of communication or to unlawful attacks on his or her honor and reputation."

The actions of the NSA and the U.S. Government, through the collection of every single phone call and other piece of information it can get, is an utter and complete violation of Article 22 of the CRPD and the rights of People with Disabilities. Being perceived as a potential terrorist instead of an American, having every single piece of private information collected by the NSA and the U.S. Government, and having it done from our smart or cell phones and computers without regard for our privacy is a demeaning, cruel, and unconstitutional violation of our rights. The U.S. Government has turned its back on us.

Yet Article 4 of the CRPD presents some general obligations the U.S. Government has agreed to abide by. By signing the CRPD, the U.S. Government agreed to undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of our human rights and fundamental freedoms without discrimination of any kind based upon the disabilities we experience. To achieve this goal, the U.S. Government agreed to adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the CRPD - yet the U.S. Government has done the exact opposite. The U.S. Government agreed to refrain from engaging in any act or practice that is inconsistent with the CRPD and to ensure that public authorities and institutions act in conformity with the CRPD - yet our public officials have very clearly also turned their backs on us in favor of NSA and U.S. Government paranoia over terrorism.

Having been labeled for the vast majority of my life in various ways, I have no desire whatsoever to be labeled as a potential terrorist - especially after serving this nation to the best of my ability. I am left to wonder how other veterans with disabilities in America feel about being labeled as potential terrorists. The NSA and the U.S. Government have left me feeling as if trust has flown out the window right along with my privacy.


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