DOJ Finds Section 508 Compliance Dismal

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DOJ Finds Section 508 Compliance Dismal

Sep 13 2012

Only 30% of Federal Agencies Ensure Access to Their Own Videos

From the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
September 12, 2012

The Justice Department announced the release of its “Section 508 report to the President and Congress: “Accessibility of Federal Electronic and Information Technology.” The report, authorized under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 508) provides findings based on a survey of federal agencies on the accessibility of their electronic and information technology (EIT) and the procedures used to implement the requirements of Section 508.

“Technology and technological innovations can improve everyone’s lives. However, if technology is not accessible, persons with disabilities can’t benefit from those improvements,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. “It is not terribly difficult or expensive to ensure that technology is accessible, but accessibility has often been an afterthought. Modifying existing technology to make it accessible is much more difficult and much more expensive than designing technology in an accessible manner in the first place.”

Section 508 requires federal agencies to ensure that their EIT is accessible to people with disabilities, unless certain exceptions apply. EIT includes telecommunications products (such as telephones), information kiosks and transaction machines, websites, multimedia and office equipment, such as copiers and fax machines, computers, software, firmware and similar products and services. Specifically, Section 508 requires federal agencies to ensure that EIT they develop, procure, maintain, or use allows employees with disabilities and members of the public seeking information or services to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that available to people who do not have disabilities. Section 508 also requires the attorney general to report and offer recommendations periodically on the state of federal agency compliance with Section 508, including actions regarding individual complaints.

The full report is available online.

A summary of the report can be found on the website for COAT (Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology).