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Re: No decision from the Appeals court


From: Hall, Kevin (K.M.)
Date: Sep 29, 2004 9:55AM

Jim's point about curb cuts being a benefit to all seems right on to me. They are the little ramps that are cut into sidewalks from the street that allow people in wheelchairs and other who have trouble with the step at the curb to get on and off of the sidewalk (also handy for shopping carts and bikes). However, it also highlights one of the fundamental differences between applying the ADA to a local place of business and to a web site that is available globally - that is that the U.S. government really has no control over the content of the web. Neither does any other government except through the use of national firewalls and similar measures as seen in Iran and Vietnam. The sidewalk is clearly under on U.S. soil, but is a web site that is accessed in the U.S. but created and hosted elsewhere? It's not clear even to those of us with a good understanding of the nature of the web, much less to a politician who can't find the power button on their computer.

You are also right that the ADA does not apply to private sector companies or individuals operating web sites. The recent NY settlement and the Southwest.com appeal do not set any legal precedent otherwise. Section 508 is part of the ADA, the question now is whether other sections, traditionally interpreted to refer only to brick-and-mortar locations, also apply to web sites in the private sector. I opt for no on that one though I can understand how others like Jim might argue that we need that to make progress.

I took Jim's comments on IBM to mean that IBM had embraced the federal standard as their own and may not have taken to accessibility as company policy as easily without the federal guidelines in place. I think this supports my earlier point that the government can set an example and provide guidelines and encouragement rather than the threat of lawsuits. It appears to have worked with IBM.

-Kevin Hall

P.S. Yahoo can be added to the list that is now designing with Web Standards in mind. See http://www.yahoo.com/beta

-----Original Message-----
From: michael.brockington [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 11:38 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] No decision from the Appeals court

I notice that you make no mention of the EU in this? Americans are in a
minority on this planet - and these days a minority on the Web. If the ADA
applies to Websites, which ones does it apply to?

You state here that the ADA already applies, but this is just as ill-informed
as the general media comment - the latest court case declined to make that
decision. The earlier New York cases that you refer to were (I believe)
settled out of court, so do not come close to confirming your contention that
computer code is analagous to bricks-and-mortar.

Your comments about IBM seem fairly obviously wrong to me. When any company
is forced to change its procedures for one part of its business, it is
perfectly normal for it to standardise those procedures across the company,
unless there is a pressing reason to do otherwise - as you said yourself,
this has nothing to do with the ADA which after fourteen years has yet to be

PS what are 'curb cuts'?



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