The National Council on Disability (NCD) has issued a report on measures to ensure access to information and communication technologies for people with disabilities. The document provides recommendations to the President, Congress, and federal agencies, as well as to the technology industry, the private sector, and state and local governments. NCD provided a briefing on the report at the Capitol on October 7 with representatives from industry, disability groups, and federal agencies, including the Access Board.
"In today's world, technological equality for persons with disabilities is a social justice issue," stated NCD Chair Clyde Terry. "To be truly accessible, technological inclusion must be built in from the ground up with every user in mind. Anything else is a step backwards. Anything less creates second class citizens."
Each year, NCD submits a report to the President and Congress outlining recommendations on new and emerging issues affecting people with disabilities. NCD devoted this year's report to technology because of its dominant role in everyday life and its potential to transform society and opportunities for people with disabilities. The report explores how technology can contribute to the lives of people with disabilities in education, employment, health and well-being, and independent living. It also identifies common barriers to accessibility, as well as emerging technologies and innovations, and provides recommendations on policies and practices to promote inclusive technology.
The report urges Congress to establish a "Technology Bill of Rights for People with Disabilities" that sets forth principles for any future technology legislation and ensures fair and equal access to technology. It recommends steps that Congress and federal agencies can take to promote inclusive technology and urges the Access Board and the Department of Justice to finalize outstanding rules on technology accessibility. (The Access Board, as noted above, recently submitted for executive clearance a final rule updating its requirements for information and communication technology covered by Section 508 and the Communications Act). In addition, NCD calls upon industry to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines when designing websites and web-based technologies and to invest in research and development of accessible technology.
The report also outlines steps private and public sector entities can take to procure inclusive technology. The report and related information is available on NCD's website. NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities.SOURCE: U.S. Access Board