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RE: WEB/LAW: U.S. won't release new Web site regs for review

From: Lloyd G. Rasmussen <lras@loc.gov>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 16:50:29 -0500
Message-Id: <3.0.5.32.20000225165029.008b1400@RS8.LOC.GOV>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org


>From: David Capozzi <capozzi@ACCESS-BOARD.GOV>
>To: "'sec508@trace.wisc.edu'" <sec508@trace.wisc.edu>
>Subject: RE: WEB/LAW: U.S. won't release new Web site regs for review
>Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 16:30:51 -0500
>X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2448.0)
>Reply-To: sec508@trace.wisc.edu
>Sender: owner-sec508@trace.wisc.edu
>
>I am writing to correct some misleading information posted on the Freedom
>Forum web site by Adam Clayton Powell III concerning the release of proposed
>accessibility standards by the U.S. Access Board.  In the article, the
>author refers to a notice on the Access Board's web site giving an update on
>the status of the section 508 standards.  The author misinterpreted the
>notice as saying the Board would not be asking for public comment on the
>proposed rule. ("New federal regulations governing all government and some
>private Web sites will not be made public until they take effect later this
>year.")
>
>In fact, what we said in our update was that "[t]he Board will propose
>standards for public comment in coming weeks.... Currently, the Board's
>proposed standards are being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget
>(OMB).  After OMB clearance, the standards will be published in the Federal
>Register and be made available for public comment.
>
>We expect clearance from OMB in the next few weeks.  Once cleared by OMB,
>the proposed standards will be published in the Federal Register for public
>comment.  Anyone wishing more information should go to www.access_board.gov
>to read the entire update announcement.
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:	Kelly Ford [SMTP:kford@teleport.com]
>> Sent:	Friday, February 25, 2000 3:47 PM
>> To:	sec508@trace.wisc.edu
>> Subject:	WEB/LAW: U.S. won't release new Web site regs for review
>> 
>> The Freedom Forum's fear mongering aside, does anyone know what's up with
>> the release of all the 508 accessibility regulations?  Why did the feds
>> take such a closed-door approach when it was commonly expected that the
>> info would be available on Feb. 7?
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> >X-From_: owner-vicug-l@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU Fri Feb 25 20:32:37 2000
>> >Delivered-To: kford@TELEPORT.COM
>> >Date:         Fri, 25 Feb 2000 15:41:18 -0500
>> >Reply-To:     "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@CONCENTRIC.NET>
>> >Sender:       "VICUG-L: Visually Impaired Computer Users' Group List"
>> >              <VICUG-L@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU>
>> >From:         "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@CONCENTRIC.NET>
>> >Subject:      WEB/LAW: U.S. won't release new Web site regs for review
>> >To:           VICUG-L@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU
>> >
>> >aloha, y'all!
>> >
>> >the following is a Lynx generated text-image of an article posted on
>> >The Freedom Forum's web site.  The Freedom Forum is a non-
>> >partisan, international foundation dedicated to free press, free
>> >speech and intellectual freedom for all people. The foundation
>> >pursues its priorities through conferences, educational activities,
>> >publishing, broadcasting, online services, fellowships, partnerships,
>> >training, research and other programs.
>> >
>> >The URL of this article is:
>> >http://www.freedomforum.org/news/2000/02/2000-02-24-11.asp
>> >
>> >Note that i have left Lynx set to number links, so as to provide
>> >those with web access a list of hyperlink references, which follow
>> >the text of the article.
>> >
>> >    U.S. won't release new Web site regs for review
>> >    By Adam Clayton Powell III
>> >    The Freedom Forum Online
>> >    2.24.2000
>> >
>> >    New federal regulations governing all government and some private Web
>> >    sites will not be made public until they take effect later this year,
>> >    according to [1]an announcement on the Access Board Web site earlier
>> >    this month.
>> >
>> >    If the announcement stands, it would mean there would be no
>> >    opportunity for public scrutiny, comment or challenge to the
>> >    regulations before they take effect.
>> >
>> >    The U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
>> >    operates the Access Board site, but it was not clear from the notice
>> >    which government department or agency had made the decision. Repeated
>> >    calls by The Freedom Forum Online to the U.S. Department of Justice,
>> >    which is charged with federal law enforcement, were not returned.
>> >
>> >    The Access Board is the federal agency that oversees wheelchair ramps
>> >    and other building-access devices mandated by the Americans with
>> >    Disabilities Act. New Web site regulations are mandated by Section
>> 508
>> >    of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a section now revised and
>> >    incorporated into the 1998 Workforce Investment Act, signed by
>> >    President Clinton in November.
>> >
>> >    This month's decision was a possible violation of [2]the law
>> >    authorizing the regulations, which specified Feb. 7, 2000, as the
>> >    deadline for publishing the new Web site rules.
>> >
>> >    According to Section 508, paragraph (2)(a), "Not later than 18 months
>> >    after the date of enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of
>> >    1998, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
>> >    (referred to in this section as the 'Access Board'), after
>> >    consultation with the Secretary of Education, the Administrator of
>> >    General Services, the Secretary of Commerce, the Chairman of the
>> >    Federal Communications Commission, the Secretary of Defense, and the
>> >    head of any other Federal department or agency that the Access Board
>> >    determines to be appropriate, including consultation on relevant
>> >    research findings, and after consultation with the electronic and
>> >    information technology industry and appropriate public or nonprofit
>> >    agencies or organizations, including organizations representing
>> >    individuals with disabilities, shall issue and publish standards."
>> >    The law was passed on Aug. 7, 1998, so the rules were scheduled to be
>> >    published by Feb. 7.
>> >
>> >    This deadline was confirmed by a notice on the [3]Justice Department
>> >    Web site, which indicated Attorney General Janet Reno was required to
>> >    file "a Report to the President by February 7, 2000" outlining the
>> new
>> >    regulations. Attempts by The Freedom Forum Online to obtain the
>> report
>> >    from the Justice Department have not been successful.
>> >
>> >    But the new notice indicates the regulations will not be made public
>> >    as the law required. "To allow for additional time in the issuance of
>> >    the standards," reads the new announcement, "the Board has
>> coordinated
>> >    its efforts with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council so that
>> >    the standards and the revised Federal Acquisition Regulation will be
>> >    issued at the same time in August 2000."
>> >
>> >    The regulations have already been drafted and sent to the Office of
>> >    Management and Budget, according to the [4]OMB regulations status Web
>> >    site, which reports the draft was received on schedule, on Feb. 7.
>> >    The new rules taking effect in August will require new
>> >    handicapped-accessible hardware, software, monitors and even cabling
>> >    at all federal government Web sites, as well as at Web sites and
>> >    online information services operated by at least some state
>> government
>> >    agencies, state universities and government contractors.
>> >
>> >    The regulations will cover U.S. government acquisition of hardware,
>> >    from keyboards and monitors to cables and plugs; software, including
>> >    audio and video streams and files; minimum contrast levels and font
>> >    sizes for text, and a range of devices including Palm Pilots and fax
>> >    machines, according to [5]an April 2 memorandum from Reno
>> >    interpreting the scope of the new law.
>> >
>> >    The goal, said one member of the federal board that has drafted and
>> >    will issue the new regulations, was freedom from "graphics and
>> >    rodents," the latter a reference to the computer mouse.
>> >
>> >    Additional legislation was also being considered to extend the new
>> >    rules to all Web sites in the U.S. A [6]House Judiciary subcommittee
>> >    held hearings this month on applying the Americans with Disabilities
>> >    Act to all Web sites in the United States, public and private,
>> >    requiring every site to become accessible to users who might be
>> blind,
>> >    deaf or lacking in motor controls.
>> >
>> >    And yesterday, the FCC announced it would consider requiring TV
>> >    broadcasters to provide [7]narration of television shows so they can
>> >    be followed by blind viewers.
>> >
>> >    Even before any new legislation is enacted, private Web sites may
>> also
>> >    be under pressure to conform to the federal standards. In November,
>> >    for example, the National Federation of the Blind filed a federal
>> >    lawsuit against America Online Inc., charging that the world's
>> largest
>> >    Internet service was insufficiently accessible by disabled users. AOL
>> >    and other companies could be required to adopt the new federal
>> >    standards as a defense against such suits.
>> >
>> >    The [8]draft of the proposed Web site regulations was sweeping: All
>> >    communications devices, including Web sites, would be required to
>> >    "[p]rovide visual information (text, graphics) through at least one
>> >    mode in auditory form" so the blind would have full access.
>> >
>> >    The draft regulations also mandate design changes. "The contrast
>> >    between the text and the background behind the text at its worst
>> >    location shall be greater than 70%," reads the standard, "or it shall
>> >    be able to adjust the text or background to meet this specification."
>> >    The use of color would also be limited by a standard to help
>> >    color-blind Web users. That draft standard reads, "Information
>> >    presented shall not require color perception."
>> >
>> >    For those Web sites and other communications devices that use sound,
>> >    all information in audio form would also be required to appear in
>> text
>> >    form, as sites would be mandated to "[p]rovide at least one mode that
>> >    does not require user auditory perception." Similarly, voice
>> >    activation would have to be accompanied by redundant text, as sites
>> >    would be required to "[p]rovide at least one mode that does not
>> >    require user speech," the draft says.
>> >
>> >    Animation and flashing displays would be limited by a requirement
>> that
>> >    "[v]isual displays and indicators shall minimize visual flicker that
>> >    might induce seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. Rates
>> of
>> >    3 Hz or lower, or 60 Hz or higher are recommended."
>> >
>> >    Web sites would also be required to "[p]rovide at least one mode that
>> >    does not require fine motor control or simultaneous actions" and to
>> >    "[p]rovide at least one mode that minimizes the cognitive, and memory
>> >    ability required of the user."
>> >
>> >    At a public hearing announcing the proposed regulations last year,
>> one
>> >    official conceded that the government was not certain exactly how Web
>> >    sites could comply with that last provision.
>> >
>> >    Related
>> >      * [9]Proposed U.S. government Web site regulations approved 5.13.99
>> >
>> >Lynx-Generated List of Hyperlink References
>> >    1. http://www.access-board.gov/508Update.htm
>> >    2. http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/508law.html
>> >    3. http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/508home.html
>> >    4. http://www.whitehouse.gov/library/omb/OMBREGS.HTM#Architectural
>> >    5. http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/memohead.html
>> >    6.
>> http://www.freedomforum.org/technology/2000/2/10disabilitiesact.asp
>> >    7. http://cnn.com/2000/US/02/23/descriptive.video/index.html
>> >    8. http://www.access-board.gov/pubs/eitaacrpt.htm#Proposed
>> >    9. http://www.freedomforum.org/technology/1999/5/13govwebsite.asp
>> >--------------------------------------------------------
>> >He that lives on Hope, dies farting
>> >      -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
>> >--------------------------------------------------------
>> >Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
>> >    WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
>> >         <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html>
>> >--------------------------------------------------------
>> >
>> >
>> >VICUG-L is the Visually Impaired Computer User Group List.
>> >To join or leave the list, send a message to
>> >listserv@maelstrom.stjohns.edu.  In the body of the message, simply type
>> >"subscribe vicug-l" or "unsubscribe vicug-l" without the quotations.
>> > VICUG-L is archived on the World Wide Web at
>> >http://maelstrom.stjohns.edu/archives/vicug-l.html
>> >
>> >
>
>
Lloyd Rasmussen, Senior Staff Engineer
National Library Service f/t Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress    (202) 707-0535  <lras@loc.gov>
<http://www.loc.gov/nls/>
HOME:  <lras@sprynet.com>   <http://lras.home.sprynet.com
Received on Friday, 25 February 2000 16:49:47 GMT

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