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Re: Amendments to Section 508. Was: Where to go now?

From: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 18:48:29 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Alan Cantor <acantor@oise.utoronto.ca>, IG - WAI Interest Group List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Look at the final report from EITAAC
<http://www.access-board.gov/pubs/eitaacrpt.htm> -- the Electronic and
Information Technology Access Advisory Committee -- and you will see that
EITAAC did consider both Web sites and Web-based applications to be covered
by the definition of electronic and information technology, and also that
there are references to WAI guidelines in this report. Equally important,
however, please note that this report was a recommendation to the Access
Board for their consideration, and is not the same as the final rules that
will eventually be issued on Section 508. A draft version of those rules
should be available in an NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) shortly, and
then available after the conclusion of the public comment period sometime
in 2000 -- whether or not that will be by the originally intended February
2000 date is unclear.

Links to this report and to other documents related to US Section 508 are
available from WAI's policy reference links page at
<http://www.w3.org/WAI/References/Policy>, as are links to policy-related
documents in other countries. Additions are always welcome, please send to
my attention at jbrewer@w3.org.

- Judy

At 06:23 PM 11/17/99 -0500, Alan Cantor wrote:
>Although the draft regulations are supposed to be published in February, I
>have heard (through the usual reliable sources!) that the regulations will
>be published, in discussion paper form, much earlier -- I believe December
>was mentioned.
>It is not clear yet how the amendments to Section 508 of the Rehab Act
>will affect web sites. The new directive is primarily concerned with
>electronic and information technology systems -- although access to
>information is prominently mentioned. The directive is designed to be
>implemented through the Federal procurement process. The amendment forces
>Federal departments and agencies (other than national security) to make
>decisions about the purchase of electronic and information products and
>services based on a measure of accessibility -- I believe the term used is
>"verifiable accessibility." At bottom, this means that products and
>service must be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
>The issue of what constitutes an accessible product (or web site) is not
>entirely clear. We should all pay close attention to the draft
>regulations, and if there are gaps -- as might be expected for the first
>go at such a complex subject -- we will need to speak up and plug them
>before the standards are finalized. Hopefully, the web access regulations
>will be based on the WAI guidelines.
>Alan Cantor
>Cantor + Associates
>Workplace Accommodation Consultants
>New e-mail address: acantor@interlog.com
>> Regarding timing of Section 508 regulations, I believe that the US Access
>> Board will first issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which will
>> be followed by a public comment period; then the final rule would be issued
>> after the appropriate periods for public comment have concluded. 
>> Cynthia is right that the W3C does not control the content or timing of the
>> US Access Board's Section 508 rules. For comments on W3C documents
>> including WAI guidelines, that is through W3C; for comments on the US
>> federal agency's guidelines, that should be to the appropriate US federal
>> agency.
Judy Brewer    jbrewer@w3.org    +1.617.258.9741    http://www.w3.org/WAI
Director,Web Accessibility Initiative(WAI), World Wide Web Consortium(W3C)

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Received on Wednesday, 17 November 1999 18:48:56 UTC

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