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Re: Memorandum from Paul Taylor wrt ADA and the Internet

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 20:37:54 -0500 (EST)
To: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
cc: webmaster@dors.sailorsite.net, Rep.Charles.Canady@mail.house.gov, Web Accessibility Initiative <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, Paul.Taylor@mail.house.gov
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0001202029530.14029-100000@tux.w3.org>
I am an Australian citizen, and rather proud of the way Australian law
approaches accessibility (and interested to seee how it is played out in case
law...). But I am currently sitting in an ordinary Internet cafe in Seattle,
where half the terminals are text-only VT100 terminals and half are
multimedia-capable Windows 95 or Macintosh G3 machines. I am about to be
kicked off my line-mode terminal (there is a 60-minute limit when there are
people waiting for them) and forced onto a multimedia terminal. This is not
because there are people with disabilities, just through popular demand. It
seems that the industry perception that accessibility is only for a very
small group is just plain wrong, at least in this random (if statistically
insignificant) sample.

I can't claim to know much about the US constitution and how it applies, but
I would be saddened to learn that it could be used to block a mandate for
government to provide for all people, as I would be to learn that the people
of the US were prepared to countenance large organisations discriminating
against people on the bais of disability even idf it did prove legal to do

So it is with interest that I watch the developments.

Charles McCathieNevile (writing as a private individual)

On Thu, 20 Jan 2000, David Poehlman wrote:

  I am not opposed to accessability at all, but what is at question here
  is not that accessability is enherently a bad thing but rather that
  enforcement of certain standards upon the internet commerce community
  is constitutionally sound.  I reviewed the caselaw sited in the memo
  and It would seem that there is a clear mandate for a compilation of a
  legislative record on this as is suggested in the memorandum.  I would
  not wish to see entities sued over the issue of internet
  accessability, at the same time however, I would not wish to see our
  hard won accessability squashed before it really begins.
  I will follow and be interested in the outcome of any proceedings on
  I'd like to site one place to look for information that can provide
  insite into what we are attempting to achieve with regard
  toaccessability which has been around and working hard since before
  all this started.
  Hands-On Technolog(eye)s
  voice 301-949-7599
  end sig.

Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 (0) 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                      http://www.w3.org/WAI
21 Mitchell Street, Footscray, VIC 3011,  Australia 
Received on Thursday, 20 January 2000 20:37:59 UTC

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