Bram Dov Abramson on Sat, 1 May 1999 23:31:47 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> New US law requires Web sites to become handicappedaccessible

> New U.S. law requires Web sites to become 'handicapped accessible'
> By Adam Clayton Powell III
> World Center
> 4.30.99
> Webmasters, Uncle Sam wants you to change your Web site to make it more
> accessible to those who are blind, deaf and otherwise disabled. And for
> some, it's not a suggestion: it's the law. 

Interesting how the article contradicts itself in several places. When
governments make internal organizational policy (eg look and feel for
their web sites), this often takes on the guise of law, cause that's just
who they are.  So, red flag (toro, not socialist) for cyberlibertarians
everywhere (ok, mostly usa). 

The law described in the article's body (not the lead), otoh, appears to
be the "model user" strand of the post-G7-GII (Brussels 1995) version of
state media policy. 


From: "Michael Sims" <>
Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 10:57:50 -0400

With all due respect, there's a lot of confusion here.  Maria 
Seminerio, Adam Powell and Declan McCullagh, the reporters who've 
been spreading this FUD, have willfully disregarded the actual law in 
question - this story is based solely on a single interview with two 
members of a government committee, who seem to be as confused as the 
reporters they were talking to.

The actual law, available at:

makes no mention of any standards regarding the general public's 
websites, or even government suppliers.  It says solely that Federal 
government agencies must ensure that their electronic services are 
equally available to disabled Federal employees and disabled 
citizens.  The implementation date is two years from August 1998, so 
it's not exactly right around the corner, either.  That's it; nothing 
else; there's no stealth plan to take over the internet and make 
people publish their websites in Braille.

Here's a basic FAQ on section 508:

It's sad that some reporters are totally incapable of using 
outside sources to verify that their stories are correct and 
truthful.  A simple reading of the actual government law would have 
shown any of the three reporters that the story is wildly inaccurate, 
and common sense would have told them that a law regulating the 
general public's websites in such a manner would also be wildly 

Michael Sims                            The Censorware Project

The Supreme Court has stated that the public interest served by FOIA is
the interest in letting citizens know 'what their government is up to.'
489 US. at 773. 


#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL:  contact: