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Re: Disability statistics

From: Denise Wood <Denise_Wood@operamail.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 02:34:59 -0500
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <3C2072AD@operamail.com>
> So the Australian case is "you and your client can avoid breaking the law".
Which can also be applied to things like online learning software.

Yes of course Charles. You are absolutely correct. The legal implications for 
private companies (and education providers) failing to provide accessible Web 
sites is perhaps the ultimate "big stick". It is one that I have resorted to 
on occasions but certainly not my preferred approach. The legal case, though 
compelling, focuses on the negative aspects rather than encouraging companies 
to see the positives - the benefits - in designing for accessibility.

BTW this does not just apply to Australia. Both Canada and the US also have 
legislation in place which applies to private providers. If any one is 
interested in the legislative implications in the US you might like to check 
out the online documentation relating to the Congressional hearing of The 
APPLICABILITY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) TO PRIVATE INTERNET 
SITES at this address: 
http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/judiciary/hju65010.000/hju65010_0.HTM

The statement made by Steven Lucas at this hearing outlined the following ways 
in which Governments respond to this challenge:
1.	Government can establish that individuals with disabilities have a right to 
certain kinds of information.
2.	Government can require that products or services sold within a country must 
meet certain criteria for accessibility.
3.	Government can require that information technologies and information 
services procured by entities such as government agencies must be accessible.

According to Lucas "The first approach that regulates access to certain kinds 
of information by individuals with disabilities as a civil right, such as in 
Australia, Canada, and the United States is more common. However, sometimes we 
see combinations of these approaches, or, as in the United States, all three 
approaches in effect. Recently, as in Portugal and Thailand, there are efforts 
to introduce legislation directly requiring Web accessibility. As the Web 
becomes an increasingly important medium for education, employment, commerce, 
and government, the trend is towards requiring that this technology to be 
accessible to people with disabilities who constitute a significant part of 
every country’s population".

Perhaps at the end of the day the threat of legal action may be the only way 
of convincing private companies to design for accessibility. However, I still 
think this is a last resort rather than the preferred approach of outlining 
the potential benefits.

Denise

-------------------------------------------
Denise

Dr Denise L Wood
Lecturer: Professional Development (online teaching and learning)
University of South Australia
CE Campus, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Ph:    (61 8) 8302 2172 / (61 8) 8302 4472 (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
Fax:  (61 8) 8302 2363 / (61 8) 8302 4390
Mob: (0413 648 260)

Email:	Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au
WWW:	http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/homepage.asp?Name=Denise.Wood
Received on Sunday, 16 December 2001 02:35:34 GMT

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