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Digital Divide and People with Disabilities

From: Lainey Feingold <LF@LFLegal.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 07:18:17 -0700
Message-Id: <752C641A-ED3C-4E21-825C-172DDEB40658@LFLegal.com>
To: w3c WAI List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Colleagues:  Today the New York Times published my letter about the digital divide and people with disabilities.  The paper did less editing than I anticipated - and they left in the Tim Berners Lee quote!  Letter pasted below, and available here:  http://nyti.ms/19BR6gj


Inequality and the Internet: Why Some Remain Offline

Published: August 22, 2013
	
Editor: 

Your otherwise excellent article about the digital divide (“Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren’t Plugged In,” Business Day, Aug. 19) missed an opportunity to discuss the significant digital divide between people with disabilities and those not (yet) disabled.

The Commerce Department report on which your article was based recognized the impact of disability. It found that Internet use among those with a disability is only 48 percent compared with 76 percent for those with no disability. In every metric used in the report, people with disabilities lagged behind. Your reporters rightly covered the digital divide based on race, age, education, class and geography. Disability deserved to be covered as well.

In my experience as a disability civil rights lawyer working with the blind community on technology and information access issues, the disability divide has two major components. First, disability cuts across and magnifies all other factors you mention.

Second, and equally important, there is a digital divide for people with disabilities because of a lack of accessible online content. Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, recognized that, saying: “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

LAINEY FEINGOLD
Berkeley, Calif., Aug. 19, 2013

Lainey Feingold
Law Office of Lainey Feingold
http://lflegal.com/
510.548.5062
LF@LFLegal.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LFLegal
Received on Friday, 23 August 2013 14:18:44 UTC

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