Thursday, January 28, 2010

Illinois Representative introduces Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind

From PRNewswire:

WASHINGTON -- Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) Jan. 27 introduced the Technology Bill of Rights for the Blind (H.R. 4533), which will mandate that all consumer electronics, home appliances, kiosks, and electronic office technology provide user interfaces that are accessible to the blind.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The National Federation of the Blind appreciates the wise and decisive action taken today by Representative Schakowsky. In recent years, advances in microchip and digital technology have led to the proliferation of everyday products -- such as dishwashers or copy machines -- that have visual displays and other user interfaces that are inaccessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision.

Inaccessibility of these devices is a major barrier to a blind person's independence and productivity. The Technology Bill of Rights will ensure that manufacturers make their products accessible to all consumers, and that blind people will not be left behind as technology continues to advance."

"The importance of access to technology in today's society cannot be overstated. In many cases, a person's livelihood depends upon the ability to use technology," said Representative Schakowsky. "This bill will allow people who are blind or have low vision to compete on a level playing field with their sighted peers and remain productive members of society."