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A ccessibility, Content Review and Telecom Competition

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Nick Cotton Feb 8, 2019
Websites need to be more accessible for disabled people
By s.e. smith from Vox
  • “Disabled people are about half as likely to be online overall, are less likely to have high-speed internet, and are more likely to have only one device for accessing the internet. The disability digital divide is stark, and it’s not surprising that in recent years, ADA lawsuits involving web access have been on the rise.”
  • “Imagine, if you will, shopping for something and being unable to click the ‘buy’ button or read the price. Or getting most of the way through a transaction, only to discover that the button for submitting your order is not actually clickable. Or trying to order something that’s only described in the form of text in photos that you can’t see, making it impossible to know anything about the size, shape, color, and other characteristics of the product you want.”
  • “There’s a lot at stake in conversations about accessibility lawsuits; we cannot overlook the problematic nature of some of these suits, but even as we question their motivations, we need to be mindful that the Americans With Disabilities Act and its accessibility mandates are the law, and full integration into society for the disability community is not just a legal right but a moral one.”
Facebook drafts a proposal describing how its new content review board will work
By Sarah Perez from Tech Crunch
  • “In November, Facebook announced a new plan that would revamp how the company makes content policy decisions on its social network — it will begin to pass off to an independent review board some of the more contested decisions.”
  • “While decisions around the board makeup haven’t been made, Facebook is today suggesting the board should have 40 members. These will be chosen by Facebook after it publicly announces the required qualifications for joining, and says it will offer special consideration to factors like ‘geographical and cultural background,’ and a ‘diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.’”
  • “The board’s decisions will be made public, though it will not compromise user privacy in its explanations. After a decision is issued, the board will have two weeks to publish its decision and explanation. In the case of non-unanimous decisions, a dissenting member may opt to publish their perspective along with the final decision.”
AG Nominee William Barr Is No Friend of Telecom Competition
By Susan Crawford From Wired
  • “If you want insights into how Barr will react to technology issues, it’s worth taking a look at his role as a very big fish in the warm pond of Washington telecom policy over the past 25 years.”
  • “Here’s what that lengthy stint amounted to: Barr assisted in the dramatic reconsolidation of the telecom industry through a tsunami of mergers, lobbying, and litigation following the breakup of AT&T in 1984. Basically, his employers did whatever they could to frustrate the aim of the 1996 Telecom Act to create competition for local phone service, while presiding over mergers that effectively reconstituted Ma Bell. Barr was being a good lawyer—that’s what his employers wanted, even as their corporate identities morphed over time.”
  • “For more than two decades, William Barr was one of the most talented lawyers around at undoing behavioral limitations attached to mergers and statutes. Now Barr is about to be Makan Delrahim’s new boss. Vertical integration is likely back in vogue again.”

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