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RE: context?

From: Jim Rebman <James.Rebman@Colorado.EDU>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 16:27:07 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: <jfox@fenix2.dol-esa.gov>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

>Someone else mentioned it already but I think that government rules tend to
>send up warning flags with many people.  Also, government interference will
>likely stifle innovation.  Can you imagine what would happen to the web if
>it were regulated by the US Congress?  HTML 4.0 would be the official
>standard for the next 48 years.

Perhaps so, but I don't think that's what we should be talking about here.
The discussion should be focused on the role of government to produce
regulations that insure that basic rights of highly under-represented
minorities are considered in the setting of standards -- not the setting of
standards proper.  It all comes down to money and greed, and this is a
clear example of where effective legislation can serve to balance the
bottom-line mentality of the real powers that be.  I am not going to go off
on some political diatribe here (you can read Chomsky and others and get a
far better explanation than I can give), but there is a role for government
to play here.  If anyone out there thinks that Microsoft came to the
accessibility table willingly, or out of some gesture of benevolence, you
are kidding yourself.  They came simply because Mr. Gates favorite uncle
(Sam) said he would not buy any more software from him if it were not made
accessible (apologies to Judy and the people in Massachusetts for this
over-simplified explanation).  Furthermore, the stepped-up accessibility
effort from Microsoft seems to be conveniently timed with the stepping up
of government procurement policies (Department of Education, for example),
and the re-vamping and fortification of section 508.  Any critical thinker
has to ask themself if this is truly just a coincidence.

I am all for less (much less) government interference in my life, but I
don't want to leave my right to an education, or my ability to access the
information needed to participate in society, and earn a living, in the
hands of a corporate culture that sees me as economically insignificant, or
worse, a liability.

I also find it somewhat amusing that the original comment that spawned this
thread came from a company which is profitting handsomely from the
requirements set forth by the government.

-- Jim

James A. Rebman
University of Colorado, Boulder
College of Engineering and Applied Science
Technology - Enhanced Learning Laboratory

         "To accomplish great things we must first dream, then
          visualize, then plan... believe... act!"

          Alfred A. Montapert
Received on Monday, 16 November 1998 18:23:50 UTC

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