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Re: E-commerce and colleges/universities

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 17:48:39 -0700
Message-Id: <a0500190bb61bdd23b32a@[]>
To: "John F. Elmer" <jelmer@ctc.edu>, W3C-WAI-List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 4:40 PM -0700 10/24/00, John F. Elmer wrote:
>I am wondering what people's read of what is currently required of
>web-sites in terms of accessibilty, from colleges and universities that
>support their e-commerce efforts, such as on-line bookstores?  I have a
>pretty good idea of what would be ideal.  However, I am looking for
>information on what is currently legally required.

I'm not sure if this answer is firmly answerable, as the legal issues
tend to be settled by case law -- by people suing and decisions
being made -- rather than there simply being a list of what is and
is not required.

What _is_ required, at least in the US, is that students not be
discriminated against and be able to perform the same tasks as other
students, regardless of whether a disability exists.  That's the
principle; the application is trickier.  Even the WAI's WCAG
document may not be a valid defense in a lawsuit; if it can be
proven that someone was unfairly denied access, despite what WAI
does or doesn't say, that kind of ruling could set a precident.

Likewise, the government can make whatever rules they choose to
set, but if, ultimately, someone follows the rules and still denies
access to someone who has a right to access, a lawsuit could
result -- and the policies could be changed.

Note:  I'm not a lawyer, I'm just someone who has studied the
situation and come to the conclusion that it is _very_ hard to say
definitively either "this <draws line in sand> is what's legally
required" or "this <draws line in sand> is accessible".

So what's my answer?  My answer is "do the best you can."  If you
-can- do better (read: "are able to, given your situation"), then
you -should-.

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Received on Tuesday, 24 October 2000 20:57:01 UTC

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