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RE: Media - Suit Over Airlines' Web Sites Tests Bounds of ADA

From: Harry Woodrow <harrry@email.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 23:43:47 +0800
To: "'Shashank Tripathi'" <sub@shanx.com>, "'Graham Oliver'" <goliver@accease.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000701c26e18$542497f0$bba73bcb@bigcore>

I think it may be a good idea to elaborate on my previous reply.  

Often it seems as if we are saying that people are complaining about the
websites.  That is not the case, what they are complaining about is
access to goods and services.  The website is just the medium through
which they access them.

Everyone has a right to be treated fairly and not discriminated against
because of physical characteristics, be these of race, sex or of
physical capacity.

It is not that long ago that in both Australia and The United States
people were prevented from accessing services because of race.  That
struggle has not been completely won in either country but few now
question the need for the laws that cover this or accuse someone who
uses them of just taking the opportunity for every man and his dog to
use them.  The legal state has been won but there is still a long way to
go for complete cultural acceptance of this.

It isn't that long ago that women were denied access to upper education
and to many jobs.  I can still remember when it was a reasonable ground
to deny women a job in an engineering firm as they would have to build a
toilet for them.  That battle too has been won though the use of
legislation though there are still problems of social acceptance.

It also is only recently that shops and service entities have had to
install things such as ramps and Universal Access Toilets so that more
people can access them regardless of their physical capacities.  This
has also helped people such as the elderly who may be able to manage for
example stairs so many benefit not just those who have demanded them and
used legislation to get them.  (sadly in most of these countries access
still hasn’t been provided for the dog...except guide dogs.)  It wasn't
goodwill of the service providers that ensured this it was the
complaints and suing by people with disabilities.  This kind of access
is now becoming an expected part of life although a few businesses still
complain they have to provide it...most have realised that it gives them
access to a much wider market and a much bigger pool of potential

Many services are now provided through the web.  All people regardless
of race, sex or physical disability surely have a right to access these
services.  Access has to be provided when the service is provided in a
store or school or stadium or theatre so why shouldn’t it be provided on
the web.  How this is done is the responsibility of those designing the
web sites but the why is the responsibility of the provider of the
services.  The means are there just as they are to make physical access
better. If the provider makes the choice to make the service only
available to those possessing certain physical characteristics he or she
is discriminating against the person wishing to access them.  When a
person is discriminated against they have the right to protest and
protest strongly and to use all legal means to do so if they have to.
It isn't a case of trying to get sympathy it is a call for our rights.

Harry Woodrow

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Shashank Tripathi
Sent: Monday, 7 October 2002 10:23 PM
To: 'Graham Oliver'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Media - Suit Over Airlines' Web Sites Tests Bounds of ADA

    | http://www.law.com/jsp/printerfriendly.jsp?c=LawArticle&t=
    | PrinterFriendlyArticle&cid=1032128683422

It's funny what is possible in the US. 

Wonder why no one has ever sued NYT or IHT for the small print in their
newspapers though. Suddenly, the Internet and all the usability and
accessibility jazz that is bandied about has encouraged every Joe with a
handicap and his dog to scrounge for some sympathy. But suing is

Thanks for the link. 


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