Oversight Hearing on Achieving the Promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the Digital Age – Current Issues, Challenges and Opportunities

April 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm Leave a comment

Obstruct image of earth and computer codeI attended the hearing with the above title yesterday.  There were a fair number of attendees from different parts of the disability community.  Notable attendees, just to name a few and I’m sure there were others, were Yoshiko Dart, John Kemp, Andy Imparato, and Kelly Buckland.  Unfortunately, members of the subcommittee weren’t quite as well represented.

The first to testify was Samuel Bagenstos, Principal Deputy Attorney General from the Department of Justice.  He was followed by a panel that included Mark Richert from American Foundation for the Blind, Judy Brewer from the World Wide Web Consortium, Dan Goldstein a lawyer from the National Federation of the Blind, and Steve Jacobs who is the president of IDEAL Group, Inc., an assistive technology company,

Although Bagenstos did admit, in his written testimony, that because the Internet was not “in general public use” when the ADA was enacted, it is not expressly mentioned but that the ADA created “general rules” to guarantee access.  Furthermore, he noted that the DOJ made clear in the original law that regulations should be interpreted to keep pace with existing technologies.

Each member of the panel gave brief remarks and then responded to questions.  In her testimony, Brewer said that the World Wide Web remains a “springboard” for innovation and we need to make sure that “people with disabilities are not excluded from its promise.”  Each of the other panel members gave significant testimony  as to why it is imperative to ensure access in the Digital Age. 

There was a good number of mentions of various e-reader-type technologies (e.g., KindleDX and iPad).  In a telling statistic, Goldstein said that more books are available on Amazon’s Kindle than are available in Braille.

By Tony Trott, ECNV Peer Mentor & Editor

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Entry filed under: Action Alerts, Advocacy. Tags: , , .

Attend House Hearing on ADA in the Digital Age 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

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