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NFB files complaint re US Small Bus Admin website inaccessibility


From: Jennison Mark Asuncion
Date: Jul 25, 2009 7:30AM


Haven't seen this passed along here.


Jennison Asuncion
Co-Director, Adaptech Research Network http://www.adaptech.org
LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jennison

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Freeh, Jessica <EMAIL REMOVED>


Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind and Blind Business Owner
File Complaint with Small Business Administration

SBA's Inaccessible Web Site Discriminates Against the Blind

Baltimore, Maryland (July 22, 2009): The National Federation of the
Blind, the nation's oldest and largest organization of blind people
and the leading advocate for equal access by the blind to information
technology, and Virgil Stinnett, a blind business owner from
Honolulu, Hawaii, filed an administrative complaint today with the
Small Business Administration (SBA). The complaint asserts that the
SBA's Web site violates Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act because
it is inaccessible to blind people who use text-to-speech screen
access technology or Braille displays to access information on the
Internet. Because of the inaccessibility of the SBA Web site, blind
people cannot fill out forms on the site or take online courses
offered by the SBA. Mr. Stinnett was unable to apply for
certification under Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act because of
the inaccessibility of the Web site. Section 8(a) certification
would provide Mr. Stinnett's business with access to federal and
private procurement markets.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind,
said: "Blind Americans have the same dreams, the same goals, and the
same entrepreneurial spirit as all other Americans. If we are to
have equal access to the tools and techniques needed to be effective
business owners and to compete on terms of equality with our sighted
peers, we must have equal access to the resources offered on the SBA
Web site and other government sites. The National Federation of the
Blind demands equality for blind business owners and will tolerate
nothing less."

Virgil Stinnett, owner of Good News HI, a business providing military
dining services, said: "As a blind entrepreneur, access to the SBA
Web site is critical in order for me to use its programs and services
and expand my business. The fact that I could not access the Web
site has cost me time and resources that I would not have needed to
expend if I had been able to use the site like everyone else. I hope
the action we are taking today will prompt the SBA to take immediate
steps so that all Americans, blind and sighted, have equal access to
the programs, training, and resources that it provides."

Complainants are represented by attorneys Daniel F. Goldstein and
Allison L. Harper of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, <?xml:namespace
prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />120
E. Baltimore Street, Suite 1700, Baltimore, MD 21202, (410) 962-1030,
fax: (410) 385-0869, <EMAIL REMOVED>