WHEREAS, today access to the Internet is critical for successful participation in employment, economic activity, education, social interaction, and other pursuits, and this is no less true for the blind than for our sighted peers; and
WHEREAS, in recognition of this reality the United States Department of Justice issued an advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 26, 2010, the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), proposing to issue regulations applying the ADA to public accommodations, as defined by that law, that have a presence on the internet and specifically on the World Wide Web; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Justice has taken no further action on this rulemaking since it was issued and has now announced that no proposed rule will be issued until March of 2015: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization demand that the Obama administration put forward a proposed regulation without further delay; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind demand a robust regulation ensuring blind Americans’ full and equal access to the products and services of all public accommodations, as defined by the ADA, that are made available using the Internet.
WHEREAS, on July 31, 2013, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), S. 1356, was reported favorably by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, with language in Title V, Section 511 that would have allowed any individual with a disability, regardless of age, to be placed in a subminimum wage work environment by a vocational rehabilitation counselor; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind adamantly opposes the payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities because we know that, with the proper training and support, people with disabilities can be productive employees, worthy of at least the minimum wage; and
WHEREAS, members of the Federation aggressively advocated for the removal of Section 511, by calling, tweeting, emailing, and meeting with members of Congress; and
WHEREAS, as a result of our advocacy the language regarding sheltered subminimum wage employment was substantially changed so that it will reduce the number of youth with disabilities being tracked into subminimum wage employment, and other objectionable provisions of the WIA were removed, including the transfer of the Rehabilitation Services Administration to the Department of Labor and programs for the older blind to the Department of Health and Human Services; and
WHEREAS, these changes resulted in new bipartisan, bicameral legislation known as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA); and
WHEREAS, while we are disappointed in some provisions of the WIOA, such as the lowering of standards for rehabilitation counselors and the reduction in membership of the National Council on Disability, the National Federation of the Blind supports this legislation because we believe that it represents a significant improvement in policies designed to create and enhance employment opportunities for American workers with disabilities: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that we urge the United States Congress to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we applaud Congressman George Miller, ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, for consulting with the National Federation of the Blind and for being a strong advocate for people with disabilities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, upon the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, we urge the Department of Education to work with the National Federation of the Blind to ensure that the regulations enforcing this legislation increase the quality of rehabilitation services and employment opportunities provided to blind Americans and provide safeguards that prohibit youth with disabilities from being tracked into subminimum wage employment.
WHEREAS, on January 14, 2014, GW Micro Inc., the maker of the well-known Window-Eyes screen-access program, issued a press release announcing that GW Micro Inc. and Microsoft Corporation had "partnered to make Window-Eyes available to users of Microsoft Office at no cost”; and according to the press release, this "global initiative," available in over fifteen languages, will "enable anyone using Microsoft Office 2010 or later also to use Window-Eyes free"; and
WHEREAS, the sophisticated screen-access technology used by the blind to compete in school and at work has typically cost around a thousand dollars per copy; and
WHEREAS, for blind vocational rehabilitation clients this high cost has usually been covered by the state vocational rehabilitation agency serving the blind in the state where the client resides; and
WHEREAS, although it is true that Window-Eyes is a powerful screen-access program that has enabled thousands of blind people to use Windows and Windows programs independently, and although GW Micro Inc. is a well-established company with a positive reputation among the blind, it is equally true that other screen-access programs (including JAWS for Windows, System Access, and Guide), which are not offered free of charge and which cost several hundred dollars, offer the best solution in specific cases and for specific individuals; and
WHEREAS, for governmental organizations struggling to obtain adequate funding, the ability to acquire Window-Eyes at no cost is a powerful incentive for them to compel individual clients to accept the free Window-Eyes even though, in specific situations, a costlier screen access program would result in greater productivity, success, and independence; and
WHEREAS, another factor to consider is that users of the free version of Window-Eyes must pay for technical support from GW Micro Inc. while users of more expensive screen-access programs (including users of the full-priced version of Window-Eyes) receive technical support at no extra charge: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization urge all vocational rehabilitation agencies serving the blind in the United States to incorporate the following principles in their policies for determining which screen access software counselors and supervisors purchase on behalf of specific clients: (1) decisions must be based on which software most effectively meets the access requirements of each individual client; (2) decisions must not be based solely on cost; (3) each client’s knowledge and experience with specific software must govern the decision, avoiding the need for the client to learn a completely new program; and (4) the decision must incorporate the principle of informed choice, a key principle in the federal Rehabilitation Act.
WHEREAS, SharePoint unites content management, document management, and intranet management, as well as offering business intelligence and business solutions functionality; and
WHEREAS, SharePoint is both unique in its scope and widely used in business and government; and
WHEREAS, most SharePoint features are not accessible, hampering its blind users: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization urge Microsoft Corporation to make SharePoint fully accessible to its blind users.
WHEREAS, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) established a federal minimum wage to be paid to all American workers; and
WHEREAS, although there are exceptions to the mandatory minimum wage based on type of work performed, only workers with disabilities as a class are excluded from this federal wage protection; and
WHEREAS, over the years workers without disabilities have received periodic increases to the federal minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25 per hour, but workers with disabilities have seen the statutory floor for their subminimum wages fall and then disappear completely, with the result that some are now paid pennies per hour; and
WHEREAS, the practice of paying workers with disabilities subminimum wages stems from the public misconception that people with disabilities cannot be productive employees; and
WHEREAS, at the beginning of 2014 President Obama proposed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal service contract workers to $10.10 per hour, but did not initially include increasing the wages of service contract workers with disabilities employed under Special Wage Certificates in the order; and
WHEREAS, members of the National Federation of the Blind, along with partner organizations of people with disabilities, actively advocated through phone calls, social media, and written correspondence that workers with disabilities be included in the executive order wage increase; and
WHEREAS, as a result of our advocacy, on February 12, 2014, President Obama exhibited fairness and courage by signing a historic executive order that provided the same wage protections to service contract workers both with and without disabilities, stating: federal agencies must "ensure that new contracts include a clause, specifying that the minimum wage to be paid to workers, including workers whose wages are calculated pursuant to special certificates issued under [Section 14(c)], in the performance of the contract or any subcontract thereunder, shall be at least $10.10 per hour beginning January 1, 2015"; and
WHEREAS, Section 14(c) of the FLSA remains a discriminatory, immoral, and antiquated law that should be phased out and eventually repealed as outlined by the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization highly commend President Barack Obama for including people with disabilities in his executive order, ensuring that federal contract workers with disabilities will be paid $10.10 an hour just like their nondisabled peers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge all 14(c) certificate-holding entities to follow the lead of the federal government and stop using 14(c) certificates; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge Congress to finish the remaining work of repealing the discriminatory policy found in Section 14(c) of the FLSA by passing HR 831, the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act.
WHEREAS, the Internet of Things is a scenario in which objects, animals, or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data automatically over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction; and
WHEREAS, this technology is rapidly gaining traction and may dramatically affect how society collects information and how people interface with devices; and
WHEREAS, companies such as General Electric Corporation, Cisco Systems Inc., Amazon Web Services Inc., Google Inc., the International Business Machines Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Logitech Inc., Honeywell International Inc., and Smart Things (Physical Graph Corporation) are laying the foundation of the Internet of Things; and
WHEREAS, devices, animals, and people can be connected to the Internet using accessories that provide an Internet connection; and
WHEREAS, data collected by devices can be reviewed by websites and apps; and
WHEREAS, these devices can be controlled via those same apps and websites; and
WHEREAS, most of these apps and websites are not currently accessible with screen-access software; and
WHEREAS, most of the accessories provide no audible or tactile verification of connection status, battery status, or any other critical functions: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon the developers of connected and connecting devices for the Internet of Things to extend their groundbreaking work to all users by providing speech and tactile feedback to put all users, including the blind, on an equal footing.
WHEREAS, Many advances in diabetes and diabetes-related technologies, such as insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring devices, and home dialysis systems offer great benefits, including more effective diabetes self-management, independence, and an enhanced quality of life; and
WHEREAS, blind and low-vision people also have the right to benefit from these advancements in diabetes technologies but are deprived of the health benefits that they offer because manufacturers consistently fail to integrate nonvisual and low-vision access features into them, even though blind consumers have been requesting this access for nearly thirty years; and
WHEREAS, federal regulators and policymakers perpetuate this blatant discrimination and fail to protect the rights and needs of blind and low-vision consumers who have diabetes by failing to develop accessibility standards and by failing to require developers receiving federal funds to add nonvisual and low-vision access to their diabetes-related products; and
WHEREAS, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves all medical devices before they can be marketed in the United States, but lacks the authority to ensure the accessibility of diabetes technologies; and
WHEREAS, organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, the JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the American Medical Association fail to advocate for nonvisual and low-vision access to these lifesaving technologies: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call for the end of discrimination against blind and low-vision diabetics by insisting that Congress give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to mandate full accessibility in diabetes-related devices, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the Food and Drug Administration to work with the National Federation of the Blind to create nonvisual and low-vision accessibility standards for all diabetes-related devices, and then require manufacturers to include nonvisual and low-vision accessibility in all new diabetes technology before receiving FDA approval; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization calls upon national associations that advocate for people with diabetes to join with the National Federation of the Blind to advocate for nonvisual and low-vision accessibility in all future diabetes technologies so that all people with diabetes, including those who are blind or have low vision, may benefit from these technologies.
WHEREAS, much of the business world is driven by large enterprise systems that manage human resources, accounting, collaboration, and business-to-business transactions; and
WHEREAS, many such enterprise products from companies such as SAP AG, Salesforce.com Inc., Paychex Inc., and ADP Inc. are not accessible to or usable by the blind; and
WHEREAS, it has been demonstrated by companies such as Oracle Corporation that, even on a very large scale, it is possible to have and follow an accessibility policy for a very diverse portfolio of enterprise products; and
WHEREAS, many of these inaccessible enterprise solutions are deployed in government and educational settings where access is mandated by law under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Sections 504 and/or 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other applicable federal and state laws: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization strongly urge the companies that develop and support enterprise software to make their software accessible to the blind and thereby level the playing field for blind professionals; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demands that public entities that procure enterprise solutions comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws by procuring and deploying only enterprise solutions that are accessible to their blind employees.
WHEREAS, interpersonal communication is one of the greatest barriers to full participation in community life faced by deaf-blind people; and
WHEREAS, with the expansion of electronic communications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media, barriers to interpersonal communications are increasing for deaf-blind people; and
WHEREAS, to promote access to telecommunications for people with disabilities, the twenty-first century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) was enacted into law in 2010; and
WHEREAS, the CVAA “directs the allocation of up to $10 million per year from the Interstate Telecommunication Relay Service Fund for the distribution of specialized equipment to low-income people who are deaf-blind to enable them to access telecommunications service, internet access service, and advanced communications”; and
WHEREAS, in response to the CVAA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) as a three-year pilot program, scheduled to end on June 30, 2015, to “ensure that every person with combined hearing and vision loss has access to modern telecommunication tools and the training necessary to use them”; and
WHEREAS, while the pilot program has been successful in providing much-needed equipment, there have been lengthy delays in the delivery of these devices; and
WHEREAS, there have been even lengthier delays in receiving the training on using these devices, because qualified NDBEDP trainers are in extremely short supply due to the specialized knowledge they must have of assistive telecommunications technology, as well as knowledge of Tactile American Sign Language and other communications methods used by deaf-blind individuals: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization strongly urge the FCC to make the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program permanent and to do so before the June 30, 2015, deadline so that there is no interruption of service; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insists that the FCC eliminate the delays in purchasing and distributing equipment to deaf-blind persons and adopt measures to ensure the availability of an adequate pool of qualified trainers who can evaluate the needs of deaf-blind individuals and train them in the use of appropriate equipment.
WHEREAS, the transition from print-based medical records to electronic health records (EHR) offers the opportunity to expand the circle of participation in the healthcare industry by giving blind providers mainstream access to systems and material that they need in order to do their jobs without the need for alternative formats, specialized services, and customized supports, and by giving blind patients private and equal access to their health records; and
WHEREAS, most current EHR technology is inaccessible to blind people working in or pursuing work in the healthcare industry, creating new barriers that may ultimately drive blind people out of the industry altogether; and
WHEREAS, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health and Information Technology (ONC), which is housed in the Department of Health and Human Services, drives the market for EHR technology by developing Certification Criteria, allowing developers to know what specifications their EHR technology must meet in order for providers to use it; and
WHEREAS, in order to update the Certification Criteria, improve its regulatory timeline, and more effectively respond to stakeholder feedback, ONC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking unveiling the voluntary 2015 Edition of EHR in March of 2014; and
WHEREAS, ONC’s EHR Certification Criteria are a vehicle by which ONC can break the systemic discrimination within the healthcare industry caused by inaccessible EHR; and
WHEREAS, ONC missed this remarkable opportunity and failed to integrate accessibility into the Certification Criteria properly, calling only for increased accessibility for blind patients and not requiring any accessibility for blind workers who use the technology; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind submitted comments in response to the NPRM urging ONC to amend the Voluntary 2015 Certification Criteria to include compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA; and
WHEREAS, in our filing the Federation noted that compliance must not only include access for patients but must also meet the needs of blind people who currently work or who wish to work in the healthcare industry; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind supported our comments by submitting letters on behalf of sixteen blind doctors, nurses, assistants, therapists, and students who currently work in the healthcare industry or are pursuing careers in the healthcare industry and who are facing extreme discrimination as a result of inaccessible EHR technology: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that we strongly urge ONC to amend the Voluntary 2015 Certification Criteria for EHR technology to include accessibility for all users of the technology; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we commend the sixteen blind healthcare professionals for telling their stories, because the talents and careers of many individuals are in jeopardy if those currently facing needless discrimination because of inaccessible EHR technology do not make their voices heard; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, and any healthcare provider that deploys EHR technology proactively to demand accessibility from developers, since all of these entities are stakeholders in this matter and will never fully realize the benefits of EHR technology unless that technology is accessible to users with disabilities.
WHEREAS, science is considered an essential component of every student’s education; and
WHEREAS, for many years blind science students have been unable to participate fully in laboratory research because of a lack of nonvisual accessible equipment that performs such basic functions as weighing, measuring, and obtaining test results; and
WHEREAS, these limitations have made it almost impossible for blind people to pursue careers in the laboratory sciences; and
WHEREAS, Vernier Software & Technology LLC, the world's leading manufacturer of school laboratory equipment, has recently introduced speech capability to its LabQuest hardware, giving blind students access to information from various types of sensors; and
WHEREAS, Vernier further opened the doors of opportunity to blind scientists and students by modifying its LoggerPro software to provide data analysis in accessible formats: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization commend Vernier Software & Technology LLC for its willingness to listen to the advice of blind people and for its innovation in providing access to the full laboratory experience for blind students and scientists; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization strongly urge Vernier to incorporate accessibility in all of its products by working in cooperation with interested companies and the National Federation of the Blind; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the appropriate federal agencies, such as the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Education, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Science Foundation, to cooperate in funding further research and development so that the study of laboratory sciences is possible for all students and scientists, including the blind.
WHEREAS, Apple Inc. has made VoiceOver, a free and powerful screen-access program, an integral part of many of its products, including the Apple Inc. Macintosh, iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Inc. TV, and iPad; and
WHEREAS, although VoiceOver has the ability to enable nonvisual access to hundreds of thousands of applications that are available today through these platforms, such access cannot be achieved unless the applications are written to provide VoiceOver with the information it needs to tell the blind user what he or she needs to know; and
WHEREAS, through presentations at developer conferences, specific guidance issued in programming guides, and application programming interfaces that are simple to implement, Apple Inc. has made it easy for application developers to incorporate accessibility features for VoiceOver users into their programs; and
WHEREAS, despite Apple Inc.'s efforts to encourage accessibility, too many applications are still not accessible to VoiceOver users because buttons are not properly labeled, images of text cannot be interpreted, and other display elements cannot even be detected by VoiceOver; and
WHEREAS, although Apple Inc. has given VoiceOver users the tools to assign labels to unlabeled elements on their own, a growing number of applications that have been released cannot be made accessible using these tools; and
WHEREAS, even if the current version of an application is accessible to a blind VoiceOver user, Apple Inc. has no policy, procedure, or mechanism in place to ensure that this accessibility will be maintained when a subsequent version is released; and
WHEREAS, not only are inaccessible applications inconvenient for the blind VoiceOver user, but they can also prevent a blind person from independently performing the duties of his/her job; and
WHEREAS, Apple Inc. is not reluctant to place requirements and prohibitions on application developers, but has not seen fit to require that applications be accessible to VoiceOver users; and
WHEREAS, making products accessible to users of VoiceOver should be as important as any other requirement imposed on application developers: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon Apple Inc. to work with the National Federation of the Blind to create and enforce policies, standards, and procedures to ensure the accessibility of all apps, including core apps distributed by Apple in the base iOS distribution, and to ensure that accessibility is not lost when an app is updated.
WHEREAS, storing files in the cloud is increasingly the norm for file storage, collaboration, and backup purposes; and
WHEREAS, cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Box, SugarSync and Google Drive provide users with an easy-to-use, free, or inexpensive way to keep files; and
WHEREAS, services like these are actively being promoted in educational and professional settings; and
WHEREAS, these large services have a checkered history with accessibility and currently have many inaccessible features; and
WHEREAS, sharing files, file management, file viewing, and folder management are critical functions in cloud services: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization strongly urge cloud storage services to commit to making at a minimum folder management, file sharing, file viewing, and file management accessible to blind consumers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insists on a commitment from such cloud storage providers to robust and reliable, rather than incidental, partial, and intermittent accessibility.
WHEREAS, home security systems afford protection to homes and places of business; and
WHEREAS, the increased reliance on digital, web, and mobile tools for monitoring home and business security means that home security companies have simpler, cheaper, and more powerful options for making their products accessible; and
WHEREAS, accessible wall panels, websites, and apps have been produced, tested, and used in the market in other areas of home automation, the Kelvin and Talking thermostats being examples; and
WHEREAS, the available home security systems have deployed largely inaccessible wall units, apps, and websites; and
WHEREAS, security companies such as Honeywell International Inc., Comcast (Xfinity) Corporation, the ADT Corporation, Vivint Inc., and the LifeShield Inc., as well as DIY (do it yourself) services such as SimpliSafe Inc. and Protect America Inc. could make their offerings usable by blind consumers without undue burden: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization strongly urges security system companies to make their wall panels, apps, and websites fully and equally accessible to all consumers so that having a secure home or business is not reserved only for the sighted.
WHEREAS, for many years Freedom Scientific Inc.'s JAWS screen-reading software, which provides access to computers using speech or refreshable Braille output, has dominated the global market and has upheld a standard of excellence in assistive technology; and
WHEREAS, Freedom Scientific Inc. has further demonstrated its commitment to Braille access by developing and producing several feature-rich refreshable Braille displays, creating more opportunities for Braille to be an integral part of computer use in the classroom, the workplace, and elsewhere; and
WHEREAS, JAWS boasts the capability of Braille output and input in Unified English Braille (UEB), the Braille standard which was recently adopted for use in the United States and which is used in many other countries where JAWS is used; and
WHEREAS, unfortunately, the UEB that is displayed by JAWS currently contains numerous errors, including incorrect use or nonuse of some contractions, incorrect dot representation of some symbols, and inclusion of some extraneous characters, as well as errors in backward translation from Braille to print; and
WHEREAS, not only do these translation errors create ambiguity and difficulty with reading the displayed Braille, but they are especially detrimental because they propagate confusion and misinformation about UEB while people are beginning to learn it; and
WHEREAS, well before the decision was made to adopt UEB in the United States, details of these errors were brought to the attention of Freedom Scientific Inc. personnel; and
WHEREAS, all updates to JAWS that have been released in the intervening time show no improvements in Braille translation; and
WHEREAS, to date, Freedom Scientific Inc. has not taken advantage of offers by the National Federation of the Blind to provide technical assistance in correcting these errors; and
WHEREAS, the UEB translators in other screen-reading programs, such as Window-Eyes and VoiceOver, are much more accurate: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization urge Freedom Scientific Inc. to uphold its commitment to quality assistive technology for Braille users by immediately correcting the errors in the UEB translation tables for JAWS; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization calls upon Freedom Scientific Inc. to work with us to ensure that users have access to Braille that follows all of the rules in the UEB code.
WHEREAS, the Twenty-First Century Video and Communications Accessibility Act (CVAA), which became law in 2010, requires all developers of consumer products with advanced communications services (ACS) to make those services accessible to users with disabilities when achievable; and
WHEREAS, the CVAA authorizes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant waivers of the ACS accessibility requirements to classes of multipurpose equipment or services that are indeed capable of accessing ACS, but are nonetheless designed primarily for purposes other than using ACS, meaning that products with incidental ACS that is not the primary or co-primary purpose of the device can be exempt from CVAA accessibility requirements, if the FCC believes the product meets this general standard for a waiver; and
WHEREAS, on May 16, 2013, the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers, which is comprised of Amazon.com Inc., Sony Corporation, and Kobo Inc. filed a petition with the FCC requesting a waiver for a narrow class of basic e-readers, claiming that basic e-readers meet the general standard for a waiver because the advanced communications services in e-readers are rudimentary and stripped down, that most e-reader users do not employ the available advanced communications services, that Coalition members do not advertise the ACS features of e-readers, and that making the ACS accessible on e-readers would not provide benefit to people with disabilities or the public interest because it would ultimately call for a transformation of e-readers into tablets; and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind and twenty-two other organizations of and for people with disabilities filed joint comments in opposition to the waiver, explaining that, not only is the ACS in e-readers far from rudimentary or stripped down, but the ability to communicate is the very function that sets e-readers apart from print books and enhances the experience of the user, making ACS a co-primary purpose of the devices; and
WHEREAS, 125 members of the National Federation of the Blind sent letters to the FCC urging it to reject the waiver petition and protect blind people's right to access digital books; and
WHEREAS, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, has expressed an intent to weave support for people with disabilities into his agenda as leader of a federal agency and has shown a commitment to improving access for users with disabilities by regularly engaging disability advocates; and
WHEREAS, upon Chairman Wheeler's urging and, as a result of the advocacy efforts of the National Federation of the Blind in partnership with other disability organizations, the FCC decided to deny the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers’ request for a permanent waiver for a narrow class of basic e-readers and granted only a one-year waiver; and
WHEREAS, since their request for an indefinite waiver was denied, the members of the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers have a strong incentive to incorporate readily available accessibility solutions in their e-readers rather than seeking another waiver: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that we commend the FCC for listening to the National Federation of the Blind and other stakeholders who have been denied access to e-readers, digital books, and consumer electronics and rejecting the Coalition's request for an indefinite waiver; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we strongly urge Amazon.com Inc., Sony Corporation, and Kobo Inc. to take advantage of this temporary reprieve from accessibility requirements to incorporate readily available accessibility solutions in their products so that the advanced communications services and all other functions can be accessed by blind people who want to buy their products to access digital books.
WHEREAS, the right to cast a secret and anonymous ballot is a cornerstone of our democracy that enables citizens to vote their conscience without fear; and
WHEREAS, the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) has enabled the majority of blind voters and many others with disabilities to exercise their right to vote privately and independently at polling places; and
WHEREAS, the accessible voting machines typically found in polling places do not have the capability to allow some voters with disabilities, such as the deaf-blind, to exercise their right to vote privately and independently as guaranteed by HAVA; and
WHEREAS, accessible online ballot-marking systems will enable many voters who cannot currently cast a secret ballot, such as the deaf-blind, to vote privately and independently using their own personal access technology; and
WHEREAS, seventeen states (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) and counties in California and Florida have implemented online ballot-marking systems that enable voters to access and mark their ballot online and then email or print and mail the ballot to their local board of elections, demonstrating that these systems can be made secure; and
WHEREAS, only Alaska, Delaware, Utah, and Washington extend the use of their online ballot-marking systems to voters with disabilities; Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization strongly urge the thirteen states that have online ballot-marking systems, but do not make them available to voters with disabilities, to make their systems accessible and to extend their use to voters with disabilities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Federation of the Blind strongly urges all remaining states and territories to implement accessible online ballot-marking systems and to make these systems available to voters with disabilities so that all citizens can exercise their right to cast a secret ballot.
WHEREAS, public transportation is extremely important to blind people because we cannot yet independently operate our own motor vehicles; and
WHEREAS, technology is changing the way that the public requests and pays for transportation from taxicabs and newly emerging transportation providers; and
WHEREAS, fewer traditional taxicabs are taking cash, opting instead to require passengers to pay electronically using systems that often do not include nonvisual feedback; and
WHEREAS, newer service providers employ smartphone applications that can be used to request rides, with the rider being notified when pickup is expected and what car will be providing the transportation; and
WHEREAS, too many of these smartphone applications do not work with the software that speaks the contents of the smartphone screen for blind people, though standards for coding apps to provide this accessibility are readily available and have been implemented by several companies throughout the country; and
WHEREAS, there is both circumstantial and direct evidence that blind people who use guide dogs have been denied service by drivers for emerging transportation services: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization insist upon equal access to the systems used to request, track, and pay for transportation, relying on existing law when we can and working for additional laws and regulations when required to ensure that all systems be as usable for the blind as they are for the sighted; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insists upon the enforcement of laws ensuring that blind people who use guide dogs are not denied the benefits of these transportation services.
WHEREAS, remote access to computers is often a professional necessity; and
WHEREAS, software such as Freedom Scientific's Tandem demonstrates that remote access can be made accessible on the desktop; and
WHEREAS, screen-reading software access to apps and mobile websites is routinely achieved by a variety of web and app development companies such as Microsoft Corporation, which uses Outlook Web App (OWA); and
WHEREAS, despite the fact that accessibility is achievable, other commonly used remote access tools from companies such as Citrix Systems; LogMeIn Inc.; TeamViewer, Inc.; and Microsoft Corporation are inaccessible to screen-access software in desktop, mobile site, and app versions: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization demand that makers of remote-access tools provide equal access for blind users to all of the tools that they offer.
WHEREAS, airlines are working to improve services provided to their consumers through the development of mobile applications; and
WHEREAS, such mobile applications are designed to enhance the ease with which consumers can access airline services; and
WHEREAS, mobile applications allow airline consumers to access a range of features and services, including the ability to book flights, check the status of flights, acquire gate locations, obtain boarding passes, research lower fare rates, manage frequent flyer account information, access trip related features such as seat selection and itineraries, and procure other travel-related services provided by airline partners such as car rentals and hotel accommodations; and
WHEREAS, blind and low-vision people are among the millions of Americans who use air travel for business and personal travel; and
WHEREAS, while some features on mobile applications are accessible, many remain unreadable or unresponsive to screen-reading technologies, thereby excluding blind and low-vision people from using a variety of services; and
WHEREAS, in 1986 Congress enacted the Air Carrier Access Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability; and
WHEREAS, companies such as Apple, Inc. have provided mobile application developers with guidelines for creating accessible applications; and
WHEREAS, travel-related applications can be made fully accessible by following accessibility guidelines: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the City of Orlando, Florida, that this organization call upon all airline carriers to ensure that all features of their mobile applications are accessible to blind air travelers.
WHEREAS, the threat of malicious software attacks on computers is constant and the tactics of malefactors are increasingly sophisticated; and
WHEREAS, antivirus software has become a standard precaution against threats to the computing environment; and
WHEREAS, specific design guidelines for creating accessible software exist for the various operating systems; and
WHEREAS, a plethora of software products, including Microsoft Security Essentials, demonstrate clearly that software accessibility is achievable without significant additional investment; and
WHEREAS, some of the most popular companies in virus protection, such as Symantec Corporation, Kaspersky Lab, McAfee Inc., Malware Bytes Corporation, and Trend Micro Inc. all manufacture inaccessible antivirus software: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2014, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization strongly urges the makers of antivirus software to make their products accessible to blind users.