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AP: Internet, Disabilities Act Examined

From: Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com>
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2000 15:55:27 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: kford@teleport.com
For URLs to all the testimony at the hearing see the info after this article.

Internet, Disabilities Act Examined
 > By Janelle Carter
 > Associated Press Writer
 > Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2000; 4:57 p.m. EST
 > WASHINGTON -- The constantly-evolving technology of the Internet makes it
 > difficult to develop regulations to apply the Americans with Disabilities
 > Act to the World Wide Web, a top Internet industry official told Congress
 > on Wednesday.
 > But advocates for the disabled argued they were being denied access to the
 > "window to the world."
 > "The Internet is not just a window on the world. More and more the
 > Internet is the world," Gary Wunder, a University of Missouri programming
 > analyst who is blind, told the House Judiciary subcommittee. "It is where
 > we shop and it is where we make our living."
 > Dennis Hayes, chairman of the U.S. Internet Industry Association, said the
 > industry has made progress but continued education is needed. He asked
 > Congress for money to fund research on ways to bridge the gap.
 > "The application of the ADA to the Internet in some kind of
 > 'one-size-fits-all' mandate is not the right approach," Hayes said. "The
 > answer to the problem of accessibility is not regulation, but rather
 > education and participation."
 > The hearing came as lawmakers begin to look at the impact the 1990 ADA law
 > has on the Internet.
 > The world has become more computer savvy since the law's enactment, and
 > many Americans use the Internet daily to communicate and do business.
 > Disabled groups complain that the technology has grown without them.
 > In November, the National Federation of the Blind filed a federal lawsuit
 > against America Online Inc., charging that the world's largest Internet
 > service is incompatible with software programs that convert text to audio
 > or Braille.
 > Wunder told of how he had to give up his job as a manager because of the
 > lack of compatible software.
 > "What we need is achievable. What we're asking is reasonable," Wunder
 > said.
 > Some people have questioned whether applying the ADA to the Internet would
 > stifle its growth and hinder free speech exhibited through the millions of
 > existing Internet web pages. Others questioned how to make ADA regulations
 > apply when the Internet exists beyond the United States.
 > Walter Olsen, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, expressed
 > concern that regulations would result in "hundreds of millions" of
 > webpages being torn down.
 > "It would be hard to find a better way to curb the currently explosive
 > upsurge of this new publishing and commercial medium than to menace
 > private actors with liability if they publish pages that fail to live up
 > to some expert body's idea of accessibility in site design," Olsen said.
 >  Copyright 2000 The Associated Press


Dennis Hayes


Gary Wunder


Dr. Steven Lucas


Judy Brewer


Susyn Conway


Elizabeth K. Dorminey


Peter D. Blanck


Walter Olson


Charles J. Cooper

Received on Wednesday, 9 February 2000 18:48:33 UTC

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