Thread Subject: Re: IdentifyiingSpecificHardwarethat Should beCovered
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From: Gregg Vanderheiden
Date: Wed, Nov 22 2006 1:35 PM
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Comments below marked GV:
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Jim Tobias
> Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 11:03 AM
> To: 'TEITAC self contained/closed products subcommittee'
> Subject: Re: [teitac-closed] [teitac-hardware]
> IdentifyiingSpecificHardwarethat Should beCovered
> I asked for examples of closed products in telecom and
> web/software and Gregg wrote:
> "Most phones are closed. Especially the phone end of them.
> We run into
> this all the time with phone companies (and they run into it
> internally). PDA functions are open but the phone functions
> are closed."
> JT: are you talking about wireless or wireline?
GV: I was thinking about wireless when I said it but it applies to most
older wireline phones and many new wireline phones as well. Some are
somewhat open but most do not want you reprogramming them.
This also brings up another interesting question. How do we treat products
that are "open" (that is, the mfgr doesn't prevent you from changing the
software) but either
1) there is no AT for the product or
2) the software changes often and there is no stable API - so any
modifications just break.
It isn't closed but it may as well be as far as a user is concened. Hmmmm.
> experience, in the product lines purchased by the federal
> government, neither is closed. In wireless, network-based
> software changes are almost endless, as carriers swap out
> their own network elements and have to make corresponding
> changes in the handsets. You can write a Flash application
> to run on a Nokia Series 60 phone that performs any phone
> function you want, not PDA or games. Wireline phone systems
> are administered by the PBX/server, which is always changing
> how the desk units work. The high-end functionality of
> running XML apps from desk units is now creeping down into
> average display sets.
GV: This is good. This is exactly why we need to think about what defines
If it is technically possible to change the programming but
1) you aren't allowed to
2) there isn't any AT software for the system (or only software for one
3) it gets wiped out with revisions
4) it gets wiped out each time the security setting are changed
is it open or closed?
Or is that the wrong terminology?
> It could be argued that a standard POTS line phone, wire or
> cordless, is closed, but the feds don't buy many of these.
> Gregg wrote: "Also network. Using the data channel for phone
> conversations is blocked by network policy and programmed
> into phones by mfgr at provider request."
> JT: To be clear, you're talking about doing VoIP over EVDO or
> something -- re-using what the carrier sold as a data service
> (email, browsing) and using it for a voice conversation. The
> carrier does that as a policy, not because it's not feasible.
> It certainly is feasible, and some carriers sell service
> that explicitly allows a user to roam from public to wifi as
> the user sees fit. So that's policy, not technology. As
> I've said elsewhere, I think we need to keep those cases
> separate, because "accessibility" is a policy driver as well,
> and doesn't automatically lose to any other policy that comes
> down the street. If I were a carrier selling to the feds,
> I'd try to write in all kinds of policy-driven revenue
> streams; if I were a federal procurement officer, I'd spike them.
GV: Again. Right on point. But most procurement officers don't know about
this stuff. If they do include those policy limitations, then they should
have to declare their product "closed" or "open but closed by policy" or
something. Otherwise the 'closed by policy' nature will never be detected
until too late.
> Gregg wrote: "Ebook reading software would be a software example."
> JT: Unless I misunderstand you, this is another example of
GV: You are correct
> the ebook
> company wants to protect its rights to the digital media
> content. That's fine. But in the federal case, most of the
> content will have been produced by the feds themselves, such
as training material. And even when the content is owned by
> others, should the feds not be able to require a policy,
> accompanied by the proper business practices, that permits
> access to the content?
GV: Agree. They should. But they won't if doing so is not part of our
accessibility guidelines. If we don't say that something like you suggest
needs to be done for a product to be considered accessible then there is no
reason to do it. We are saying it is accessible enough (to meet our
guidelines) without doing so.
By the way - I see lawyers who want to make their forms not digitally
accessible (can't cut or paste them) so that people can't easily create
versions that can be copied into another program and edited slightly - then
re-PDF'd or whatever. I'll bet there are gov lawyers who do that as well.
Non-Closed System Approach.
One way to approach this is to omit the topic of 'closed" and simply say
that products must be accessible and that this can be established by showing
that the product is accessible either without AT or with any AT that it can
be established that users will (reliably) have with them and will reliably
be permitted to use when they encounter the product.
Then we don't have to worry about open or closed (which are very problematic
definitions). We also don t have to worry about products that are
theoretically accessible but not AT exists or users won't have it.
We also don't have to worry about gray areas. There will still be gray
areas (always are) but it will be in very direct concrete terms. (e.g. is
there AT available or will users have it or be able to use it).
> Jim Tobias
> Inclusive Technologies
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> +1.732.441.0831 v/tty
> skype jimtobias
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