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RE: Disability statistics

From: Cynthia Waddell <Cynthia.Waddell@psinetcs.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 23:02:46 -0800
To: "Denise Wood" <Denise_Wood@operamail.com>, "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
You cited Lucas and the online documentation at our Congressional public
hearing on the applicability of applying the ADA to private internet web
sites.  If I may, please note that the US Department of Congress paper Lucas
cited- and quoted frequently from- was the paper I authored - "The Growing
Digital Divide in Access for People with Disabilities: Overcoming Barriers
to Participation."  An accessible html version is located at the icdri
website below.  This paper was commissioned by the US Department of Commerce
and the National Science Foundation at the direction of the White House and
it was a privilege to write it.  Lucas liberally "borrowed" my words from
that paper as it was and continues to be a helpful legal and public policy

Cynthia Waddell

Please note new email address:

Cynthia D. Waddell, JD
Principal Consultant
Subject Matter Expert
Accessibility Center of Excellence
(800)547-5602 or Fax (800)228-8204

ACE Offices are located at San Jose, CA, Sacramento, CA and Raleigh, NC USA

San Jose Office:
PO BOX 5456
San Jose, California USA 95150-5456

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Denise Wood
Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2001 11:35 PM
To: Charles McCathieNevile
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Disability statistics

> So the Australian case is "you and your client can avoid breaking the
Which can also be applied to things like online learning software.

Yes of course Charles. You are absolutely correct. The legal implications
private companies (and education providers) failing to provide accessible
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
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
SITES at this address:

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

According to Lucas "The first approach that regulates access to certain
of information by individuals with disabilities as a civil right, such as in
Australia, Canada, and the United States is more common. However, sometimes
see combinations of these approaches, or, as in the United States, all three
approaches in effect. Recently, as in Portugal and Thailand, there are
to introduce legislation directly requiring Web accessibility. As the Web
becomes an increasingly important medium for education, employment,
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
think this is a last resort rather than the preferred approach of outlining
the potential benefits.



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 Monday, 17 December 2001 02:01:36 UTC

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