Tag Archives: #ADA

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Issuance of “508 Refresh” Regulations

The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s leading advocate for blind Americans to gain equal access to information and technology, today applauded the publication of new technical standards to bring information and communication technology (ICT) into compliance with section 508 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973, which requires government agencies and contractors to make their electronic information and technology accessible to the blind and others with disabilities.

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said:

Information and communication Technology has changed a great deal since the last Section 508 regulations were issued, and has become an even more integral part of everyday life. Yet blind people, particularly blind federal employees, continue to struggle with access barriers when interacting with electronic and information technology used or procured by federal agencies.

For these reasons, we are extremely pleased that the new Section 508 standards have finally been published. Government agencies and contractors should now understand how to make information and services accessible to the blind, allowing federal employees to perform their job functions effectively and other blind Americans to exercise our rights and responsibilities as citizens.

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their ICT accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology.

Title II SANPRM from the National Federation of the Blind →

Ensuring access to digital information is a high priority of the NFB and the nation’s blind. For many years, the federal government has considered proposing a regulation that would clarify the requirements for accessibility of websites and online services provided by public entities. Such entities include state and local government websites, as well as those of public schools and colleges. In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice published a Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities (SANPRM) in the Federal Register.

LinkNYC Discriminates Against Blind New Yorkers and Visitors→

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “By treating accessibility as an afterthought, New York City is discriminating against its blind citizens and relegating them to second-class status. The blind cannot even use this new technology in an emergency. This is shameful conduct on the part of the most populous and high-profile city in the United States, and the National Federation of the Blind will not tolerate this artificial limit on our participation.

It’s time for the Obama Administration to £UploadTheRegs

On July 26, 2010, the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) addressing the obligation of public accommodations to provide websites that are accessible to individuals with disabilities was issued by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). At the time, President Obama correctly observed that these proposed rules would be “the most important updates to the ADA since its original enactment.” Yet the release date of the actual rule proposal for revising the Title III regulations of the ADA, originally scheduled for January of 2012, has been extended until sometime in 2018, eight years beyond the issuance of the original ANPRM and at least a year after the end of his administration. Having originally taken a strong stance on the importance of these regulations, it now seems like the Obama administration is wishing to wash its hands of them entirely. 

As blind Americans, we know first-hand that equal access to the internet is paramount for education, to obtain and retain employment, and for everyday tasks such as paying bills, online shopping, booking travel, etc. We will not sit idly by as the administration attempts to sideline this critical access issue, so we have launched a petition demanding, in the strongest terms possible, that the administration issue these regulations immediately.

 

Upon reaching 100,000 signatures, the Obama administration is required to respond, so in addition to sharing our we the people petition via Email and your social media outlets, please personally ask 10 family members, friends, and colleagues to sign it and share it as well. A little personal contact goes a long way!

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me; with your help, we will bring this critical issue for blind Americans to the forefront of the Obama administration’s list of priorities. Let’s go build the Federation!

 

…Gabe

 

Gabe Cazares

Government Affairs Specialist

National Federation of the Blind

200 East Wells Street

At Jernigan Place

Baltimore, MD 21230

E: gcazares@nfb.org

P: 410-659-9314 Ext. 2206

T: @gmcazares