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Re: Automatic Detection of Screen Readers and Other Assistive Technology

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 07:32:15 -0700
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
To: "Jon Hanna" <jon@spin.ie>
Message-Id: <A9FA2020-9CE2-11D7-9760-000393D9E692@idyllmtn.com>


On Thursday, June 12, 2003, at 02:37 AM, Jon Hanna wrote:
> For example CC/PP would enable a company to prevent blind people from
> getting past the first stage of a job application process while giving 
> the
> company a plausible claim that they didn't know the applicant was 
> blind.

Sorry, hit "send" too early on the last post.

Do you agree that there's a similar "danger" in autodetection of
screenreaders via Flash or an IE ActiveX plug-in?  I can't see how this
potential problem is unique to CC/PP -- especially when we're talking
about existing systems that have a simple "yes/no" checkbox for
screenreader use.

Note that CC/PP doesn't actually send "this guy is using a 
screenreader,"
but rather a composite of his capabilities based on a number of
origins, including user abilities, hardware, software, assistive
technologies, network properties, and proxies.

If you wanted to use CC/PP profiles to exclude blind people you _can_,
but you'd have to explicitly be doing so via specialized programming,
and that will leave a non-plausibly-deniable electronic "paper trail"
that can be subpoenaed.  This is a level of active discrimination that
is much higher than the normal types of discrimination currently faced
by most blind people.

(What's more, it assumes that a company would even bother to do this.)

--Kynn

> --
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                     http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain                http://idyllmtn.com
Author, CSS in 24 Hours                       http://cssin24hours.com
Inland Anti-Empire Blog                      http://blog.kynn.com/iae
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Received on Thursday, 12 June 2003 10:27:10 GMT

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