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re:Accessibility is a Right

From: William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 07:06:26 -0700
Message-ID: <35DADBE2.456C0A93@gorge.net>
To: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Kynn: "Where do rights come from, and who makes the decision, "this is a

WL:: The "slogan" is without any "a" but includes it by implication so
that the idea of accessibility being "the right thing" as well as being
"a right" is included.

The idea of "rights", at least in the U.S. is drilled into most of us
humans about when we are infected with the insidious virus called
"language" and in general these are taken, guarded, and maintained
through the force of arms, i.e. we wage revolutions to secure them and
have armed forces of various kinds to assure their application - which
seems weird since one of them is to be free of such means!  Anyway,
there are rights given by Nature (Gaia, God, etc.) that account for our
continuing through life: oxygen, water, sunlight and its products, etc.
There are rights by language as in "Bill of Rights", Civil Rights,
Common Law Rights, and customs.  Some come from adjudication and others
from power ("possession is nine points...").  The main one we deal with
in our context, the right to an accessible World Wide Web is less
tenuous than a web but, in certain places, "guaranteed" by such
legislative language as found in Title II of the ADA and parts of the
Telecommunications Act.  The "guarantee" is about like the one given at
weddings since a lot more "parting" happens before it is done by death
than it is done by decree.  The "right to access" is a lot more
"intuitive" than the idea that a circle with a slash across it means
"no" to whatever the symbol contained in the circle means (which is also
a bit less than "intuitive" in the case of arrows, etc.).  I mean by
that that since we are all in this together, all members of one another,
and almost by definition cannot allow sociopathy to prevail, it's clear
that "everything, everyone connected" means what Tim Berners-Lee et al
say it means.  If you speak Spanish at the poker table during a hand in
most public games you are asked to stop; if you publish inaccessible
materials on the Web you will be ultimately stopped - our task is to
clarify "inaccessible" so that the offenders will know they are
"speaking Spanish".

I am entitled to ramble on this since my signature started it and my
creeping senility entitles me to the forbearance of my younger
Received on Wednesday, 19 August 1998 10:06:44 UTC

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