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RE: New York Attorney General holds ADA applies to Web Businesses.

From: Jim Tobias <tobias@inclusive.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 2004 06:52:45 -0400
Message-Id: <200408211052.i7LAqdCV090476@cedant4.abac.com>
To: <jim@jimthatcher.com>, "'W3c-Wai-Ig'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "'Webaim-Forum-D'" <webaim-forum-d@list.webaim.org>
Cc: "'Andy Imparato'" <imparatoa@aol.com>

Hi,

I don't want to risk getting a Judygram for wandering off topic here, so
I'll be brief and non-partisan.  The snippets I quoted were from the 2
campaigns' responses to specific questions from AAPD.  The entire answers
can be found at http://www.aapd.com/campaign04/indexcampaign.html.  (BTW,
what do we think of the low-vision-friendliness of the left nav bar?).  Jim,
if you can find more detailed, not to say "nuanced", position papers, please
point us to them.

I don't see accessibility as a particularly partisan issue here in the US,
so I agree with you, Jim.  That's not to say that the candidates' positions
are indistinguishable.

*****
Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
tobias@inclusive.com
732.441.0831 v/tty
www.inclusive.com
  

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Thatcher [mailto:jim@jimthatcher.com] 
> Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 9:55 PM
> To: 'Jim Tobias'; 'W3c-Wai-Ig'; 'Webaim-Forum-D'
> Cc: 'Andy Imparato'
> Subject: RE: New York Attorney General holds ADA applies to 
> Web Businesses.
> 
> Jim: 
> 
> Is accessibility a political issue? Why, in response to the 
> NY AG action do
> you post political responses? Because Spitzer is a Democrat? 
> What do you
> conclude? 
> 
> Aren't all of us who advocate for accessibility glad to find 
> another force
> joining our cause?
> 
> The ADA was signed by George Bush 41. The campaign statements 
> you clipped
> from somewhere are innocuous at best. I think there are much 
> more detailed
> statements from both. What's your point?
> 
> Jim
>  
> Accessibility Consulting: http://jimthatcher.com/
> 512-306-0931
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
> Of Jim Tobias
> Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 6:56 PM
> To: 'W3c-Wai-Ig'; 'Webaim-Forum-D'
> Cc: 'Andy Imparato'
> Subject: RE: New York Attorney General holds ADA applies to 
> Web Businesses.
> 
> 
> BTW, venturing into the dangerous waters of partisan 
> politics, here are the
> relevant portions of both presidential campaigns regarding 
> the ADA.  Neither
> party mentions web accessibility specifically.
> 
> KERRY/EDWARDS
> The Americans with Disabilities Act is the most important 
> civil rights law
> for persons with disabilities. It is vital that we enforce 
> the law and that
> we fight recent judicial and legislative actions to weaken 
> it. First of all,
> I will nominate judges whom I believe will enforce and uphold 
> our civil
> rights laws to ensure the protections promised under its 
> enactment. I will
> work with Congress and the disability community to pass 
> legislation that
> restores civil rights protections to individuals with 
> disabilities who have
> been harmed by court decisions restricting the scope of the 
> protected class
> under ADA. I will also nominate an attorney general and an 
> EEOC chair who
> will make enforcement of the ADA a top priority.
> 
> BUSH/CHENEY
> It is the government's duty to enforce the laws that protect 
> the rights of
> Americans with disabilities and to invest in the projects 
> that will further
> expand their opportunities. In keeping with this philosophy, 
> the Justice
> Department is aggressively enforcing the ADA, which has been 
> critical in
> tearing down the barriers once faced by Americans with 
> disabilities.... And
> I will continue to work closely with the Department of 
> Justice to ensure
> full enforcement of the ADA. Since 2001, the Civil Rights Division has
> resolved over 1,000 disability-related complaints, over 500 
> of those through
> mediation.
> 
> *****
> Jim Tobias
> Inclusive Technologies
> tobias@inclusive.com
> 732.441.0831 v/tty
> www.inclusive.com
>   
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org 
> > [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Jim Thatcher
> > Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2004 11:54 AM
> > To: 'W3c-Wai-Ig'; 'Webaim-Forum-D'
> > Subject: New York Attorney General holds ADA applies to Web 
> > Businesses.
> > 
> > 
> > Here is the press release:
> > http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2004/aug/aug19a_04.html 
> > 
> > Jim
> >  
> > Accessibility Consulting: http://jimthatcher.com/
> > 512-306-0931
> > 
> > --- Text of press release ---
> > SPITZER AGREEMENT TO MAKE WEB SITES ACCESSIBLE TO THE BLIND 
> > AND VISUALLY
> > IMPAIRED 
> >  
> > 
> > Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced settlements 
> > with two major
> > travel web sites that will make the sites far more accessible 
> > to blind and
> > visually impaired users. 
> > 
> > The web sites, Ramada.com and Priceline.com, have agreed to 
> > implement a
> > variety of accessibility standards that will permit users 
> of assistive
> > technology, such as screen reader software, to more easily 
> > navigate these
> > web sites.
> > 
> > "Accessible web sites are the wave of the future and the 
> > right thing to do.
> > We applaud these companies for taking responsible and proper 
> > steps to make
> > their web sites accessible to the blind and visually 
> > impaired," Spitzer
> > said. "We urge all companies who have not done so to follow 
> > their lead."
> > 
> > The Attorney General opined that the Americans With Disabilities Act
> > requires that private web sites be accessible to blind and 
> > visually impaired
> > Internet users. The ADA generally dictates that all "places 
> of public
> > accommodation" and all "goods, services, facilities, 
> > privileges, advantages,
> > or accommodations" of places of public accommodation, must be made
> > accessible to disabled citizens, absent undue hardship. New York law
> > provides similar civil rights protections.
> > 
> > Many blind and visually impaired individuals use assistive 
> > technology, such
> > as "screen reader software," to operate computers and surf 
> > the Internet.
> > Screen reader software converts text into speech and reads 
> pages upon
> > display -- usually from top to bottom and left to right, as 
> > if reading a
> > book. To be accessible to the blind and visually impaired, a 
> > web site must
> > utilize a computer code that is comprehensible to screen 
> > reader software. 
> > 
> > During investigations conducted in 2003 and earlier this 
> > year, the Attorney
> > General found that portions of the Ramada.com and 
> > Priceline.com web sites
> > were not accessible to this type of assistive technology. 
> > Under the terms of
> > the agreements, the companies will implement a range of 
> accessibility
> > standards authored by the Web Accessibility Initiative 
> > ("WAI") of the World
> > Wide Web Consortium ("W3C"), an organization that 
> recommends Internet
> > standards. For instance, graphics and images must have 
> comprehensible
> > labels, tables must have appropriately placed row and column 
> > headers, and
> > edit fields (boxes where the Internet user inputs 
> > information) which must be
> > labeled to indicate which information is requested. The 
> > companies must also
> > implement a wide variety of other initiatives, based on 
> > guidelines authored
> > by the W3C. 
> > 
> > Advocates for the visually impaired applauded the settlements. 
> > 
> > "By implementing design standards that allow screen reader 
> > software and
> > other assistive technology to function effectively with 
> > interactive web
> > sites, companies will make tremendous strides in closing 
> the 'digital
> > divide' for visually impaired users," said Carl Augusto, 
> > president and CEO
> > of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). "As the 
> > Internet continues
> > to become an increasingly important tool for business, 
> > commerce, and leisure
> > activities, it is imperative that all companies ensure their 
> > web sites are
> > accessible for all users - including people who are blind 
> or have low
> > vision."
> > 
> > The Attorney General also extended his thanks to the American 
> > Foundation for
> > the Blind, for its invaluable assistance, as well as to the 
> > Baruch College
> > Computer Center for Visually Impaired People.
> > 
> > In addition to the steps outline above, Ramada.com and 
> > Priceline.com will
> > pay the State of New York $40,000 and $37,500, respectively, 
> > as costs of the
> > investigation. The Attorney General emphasized that once the 
> > companies were
> > notified of the accessibility issues by his office, they worked
> > cooperatively and creatively with his Internet Bureau to 
> > correct the issues.
> > 
> > 
> > Both cases were handled by Assistant Attorney General 
> > Elizabeth Nieliwocki
> > of the Attorney General's Internet Bureau, under the 
> > direction of Kenneth
> > Dreifach, Chief of that bureau, with assistance from the 
> Civil Rights
> > Bureau.
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
Received on Saturday, 21 August 2004 10:52:54 UTC

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