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Re: No decision from the Appeals court


From: Hall, Kevin (K.M.)
Date: Sep 28, 2004 1:58PM

Section 508 has a very limited scope and I'd say it should stay that way. If you don't do business with the government you are not included. I do think that it is great that the U.S. government requires all governmental sites to be accessible, though interestingly they are not required to be usable. Note the recent posting on webaim.org about the IRS site. Accessible, but not necessarily usable.

Requiring the government to make its websites accessible is a reasonable stance (though it could be internal policy as easily as law). Disabled taxpayers support those sites, in a sense they 'own' about 1/290,000,000th of the site ('that byte on the bottom left is yours'). And particularly for sites such as IRS.gov they should absolutely be able to access and use the sites they paid for.

Privately owned sites belonging to individuals and businesses should not be required, though they should be encouraged, to meet the requirements of Section 508 or the WCAG. Those that do business with the government are the exception, and the above argument about taxpayer funds applies once again. If you take tax money it is fair to have strings attached.

I didn't mean to go off on a long diatribe here, I just don't like the results when the government places legislative restrictions on how we build or use web sites or software. I prefer voluntary compliance with internationally tested standards and lots of educational efforts on our part. It can be a slow and frustrating process, but I think that the end result is better when people are convinced to do the right thing rather than forced to.

-Kevin Hall

-----Original Message-----
From: sllists [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 3:38 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] No decision from the Appeals court

I have just two words to say to your concerns about Congress legislating web

Section 508

Sandy Clark
CF Pretty Accessible at http://www.shayna.com/blog
Now offering 4 days Hands on CSS training October 11-14th. Rockville, MD.
For more information go to:
-----Original Message-----
From: khall51 [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 3:05 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] No decision from the Appeals court

Perhaps I should have chosen my words more carefully, but my broader point
is that I place little trust in the abilities of the U.S. Congress to
understand or correctly legislate technology issues such as web
accessibility. If they do decide to try to spell out in any concrete way
what web accessibility should and should not entail it will likely stifle
further innovation in hardware and software that could be of use to those
with disabilities but may conflict with poorly written legal language.
Additionally, I think that most of the issues relate more to educating
designers on how to code to web standards and keep accessibility and
usability in mind. There is a growing body of anecdotal and quantitative
evidence that designing with web standards reduces costs in initial
development and maintenance of web sites. We can keep working to create
better moral and business cases for our side to make people want to embrace
accessibility, to want to do more than the minimum required by law.

Based on Congress' recent laws like the DMCA and the Induce Act do you
really think that our Senators and Representatives would do a good job of
guiding web development? Or would they create a poorly written, ill advised
piece of legislation that is useful only for scaring people and creating
junk lawsuits. I tend to think that the government has little to no place in
software and web development.

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