E-mail List Archives

Re: Relationship Between Accessibility, Screen Readers and Security Clarified

for

From: Hoffman, Allen
Date: Jan 27, 2011 3:27PM


I am curious to hear the examples this statement rides on also.
I'd hate to find a huge gap in my own IT knowledge, but one never knows.


-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Kirkpatrick [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 3:39 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Relationship Between Accessibility, Screen Readers
and Security Clarified

I didn't want to chime in on this but I just can't help myself. This
statement strikes me as the sort of quote that sounds really good and
people naturally want to assume helps justify work on accessibility, but
I don't think holds up under scrutiny.

Anna Shubina says "..if a screen reader can't extract text out of a file
then it's an indicator that there's a lot in that format and there's a
lot of stuff in that file that could do bad things...".

She may be thinking about PDF or Flash, but since screen readers can
read both she must not be.

Perhaps she's thinking about image files? Screen readers can't get text
out of an image file. Many images even have metadata that a screen
reader could read, but the screen reader and common image rendering
tools don't present that information to be read. So are image files
necessarily more of a security risk? Probably not.

Perhaps she's thinking about SVG? SVG can have text and has poor
support by screen readers, due to user agent and AT support, but this
doesn't translate into a greater security risk either.

Bottom line, I wish that there was some evidence to support this
statement, but I can't think of what that could possibly be.

Thanks,
AWK

Andrew Kirkpatrick
Group Product Manager, Accessibility
Adobe Systems

<EMAIL REMOVED>
http://twitter.com/awkawk
http://blogs.adobe.com/accessibility


-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED>
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Terrill
Bennett
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 11:49 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Relationship Between Accessibility, Screen Readers and
Security Clarified

For your enlightenment:

"Lack of accessibility usually indicates that there are potential
security problems. If a screen reader can't extract text out of a
file, then it's an indicator that there's a lot in that format and
there's a lot of stuff in that file that could do bad things to your
computer."

That statement came from a post-doctorate associate at the Department
of Computer Science at Dartmouth College named Anna Shubina, Ph.D.
You can read her remark in a story concerning online access at
Dartmoth University, here:

http://thedartmouth.com/2011/01/26/news/online

Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.

Enjoy!

-- terrill --