[Accessibility] I have a conflict today

Janina Sajka janina at rednote.net
Wed Jun 16 10:21:24 PDT 2004

It would be helpful, I think, for us have a discussion on this ITIA effort at an upcoming telecon.

John Goldthwaite writes:
> Sorry folks, our PI got back from her Mediterranean cruise and is getting us
> organized at 2.
> The Information Technology Industry Council is starting an initiative on
> harmonizing accessibility standards.  Here is the announcement from Ken
> Salaets.
> Global Strategy on the Development of Accessibility Standards and
> Regulations
> ITI:  The Information Technology Industry Council, ITI, represents the
> leading providers of information and communications technology (ICT)
> products and services.  ITI is the voice of the high tech community,
> advocating policies that foster U.S. economic growth and job creation by
> advancing U.S. leadership in technology and innovation; expanding market
> access for ICT products; protecting consumer privacy and choice; promoting
> e-commerce; and enhancing the global competitiveness of its member
> companies.
> ITI member companies include Accenture, Agilent Technologies, Apple, Canon
> U.S.A., Cisco, Corning, Dell, Eastman Kodak, eBay, EMC, Hewlett-Packard,
> Honeywell, IBM, Intel, Lexmark, Microsoft, National Semiconductor, NCR,
> Oracle, Panasonic, SAP, Sony Electronics, Sun Microsystems, Symbol
> Technologies, Tektronix, Time Warner, and Unisys.
> The Global Accessibility Context:  The need for accessible information
> technology is acute across the globe.  According to a 2001 United Nations
> report, there are approximately 600 million people with disabilities
> worldwide.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people with disabilities
> are the largest minority in the United States, accounting for approximately
> one-fifth of the entire U.S. population.  The global number of people with
> disabilities is destined to grow as the population ages.  In response to
> this reality, governments around the world are currently exploring or
> actually establishing unique, national, ICT accessibility policies.  Some of
> these policies are similar to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the
> U.S., but many more represent entirely new, divergent, and conflicting
> accessibility guidelines for public procurement.
> The ICT Industry and Standards:  Standards are at the foundation of the
> global ICT economy.  They create value and aggregate markets.  They
> facilitate technology diffusion, promote production efficiency, product
> compatibility, interoperability, and enhanced competition.  Standards help
> to drive down costs for consumers.  They allow for the communication among
> buyers and sellers of important commercial information and they advance the
> public welfare (e.g. product safety).  These benefits from standards are
> particularly relevant to the accessibility marketplace thereby justifying
> ITI's advocacy for policies supporting global, harmonized, market-led,
> voluntary accessibility standards that increase the availability of
> accessible technology and the development of ICT markets.
> The ITI Global Accessibility Objective:  ITI believes that collaboration on
> the international harmonization of ICT accessibility policies and standards
> will unite governments, industry, and people with disabilities and prevent
> the creation of unnecessary national technology barriers to divide them.
> Such barriers would only reduce the overall amount of accessible ICT
> available in the commercial marketplace.  ITI is working towards the
> international harmonization of procurement practices and technology
> standards for accessibility in order to create a reasonably uniform global
> playing field for technology companies and to ensure the availability of
> increasingly high quality accessible ICT for all people.
> ITI's global accessibility standardization objective is to achieve the
> expedited development of consensus, voluntary, global standards for ICT
> accessibility based on existing Section 508 technical specifications and
> covering hardware, software, telecommunications and the web.  ITI is working
> aggressively to avoid the development and adoption of redundant or
> conflicting ICT accessibility standards across multiple standards
> development organizations and markets.  A fundamental principle of ITI's
> standardization strategy is the distinction between implementable technical
> specifications and the more general user requirements that are helpful in
> guiding the development of those specifications.
> To achieve its objective, ITI will undertake the following actions:
> §	Prioritize key areas for standardization and determine where there is work
> currently underway and where gaps exist.
> §	Identify appropriate standards development organizations, including
> ISO/IEC JTC1 Subcommittees (existing or new) to target for development work.
> §	Propose a comprehensive body of accessibility standardization to ISO/IEC
> JTC1 along with a management strategy to coordinate various ISO, IEC, ITU-T,
> and regional or consortia activities.
> §	Provide industry technical expertise as needed to support standards
> development work.
> §	Support the development of WCAG 2.0 as a global Web content accessibility
> standard that is testable and technologically achievable in the marketplace
> today and builds on Section 508 Web requirements.
> §	Expand industry participation on WAI committees to balance the
> responsibilities of all stakeholders and to drive toward consensus in
> support of standards that promote accessibility while enabling technological
> innovation.
> §	Continue to support relevant standards development activity in other
> venues where appropriate.
> §	Coordinate with TIA and other relevant entities on telecommunications
> accessibility standardization work.
> §	Enable companies to provide government officials with information about
> the accessible features of their EIT products, e.g. through the Voluntary
> Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) system and other potential online
> resources.
> ITI's global accessibility regulatory objective is to promote equal
> opportunities for people with disabilities by supporting existing, general,
> non-discrimination legislation and regulation in markets across the globe.
> To this end, ITI does not support the development of inconsistent
> accessibility regulations and policies that would fragment the market for
> ICT accessibility solutions to the detriment of the end-user.  ITI does not
> support mandated certification or third party testing for conformance to
> accessibility standards and ITI does not support accessibility labelling or
> an accessibility mark on products.   Where technical regulations for
> accessibility are deemed necessary, ITI supports 1-1SDOC, that is, one
> globally applied standard tested once and globally accepted supplier's
> declaration of conformity with the appropriate level of post-market
> surveillance by governments.
> To achieve its objective, ITI will undertake the following actions:
> §	Encourage the EC to adopt technical guidelines consistent with Section 508
> that would be applicable across Europe and supersede the fragmented legal
> framework that is already emerging as various member states take different
> approaches in implementing accessibility technical requirements and
> guidelines.
> §	Educate regulators in key markets (e.g. through US-EU ICT Dialogue) about
> the international voluntary, consensus standardization work being
> undertaken.
> §	Educate regulators in key markets (e.g. through US-EU ICT Dialogue) about
> the benefits of 1-1SDoC.
> §	Encourage regulators in key markets to adopt technical guidelines
> consistent with section 508.
> §	Support a WCAG version 2.0 that is consistent with Section 508 Web
> requirements.
> §	Encourage regulators to consider adopting guidelines that promote but not
> mandate the use of the other WAI guidelines, including the ATAG and the
> Ken J. Salaets
> Information Technology Industry Council
> Director, Government Relations
> 1250 I Street, NW, Suite 200
> Washington, DC 20005
> 202-626-5752
> Mobile 301-437-3349
> www.itic.org
> John Goldthwaite
> Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access, Georgia Tech
> john.goldthwaite at catea.org
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> Accessibility at mail.freestandards.org
> http://mail.freestandards.org/mailman/listinfo/accessibility

				Janina Sajka, Director
				Technology Research and Development
				Governmental Relations Group
				American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

		Chair, Accessibility Workgroup
	Free Standards Group (FSG)

Email: janina at afb.net		Phone: (202) 408-8175

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