Dems Debut Bill Updating Tech Accessibility Requirements for Streaming, AI, and Video Conferencing
Following the midterm elections, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate presented legislation to guarantee that developing technology meets the needs of individuals with disabilities. The proposal has received significant support from organizations such as the Blinded Veterans Association and the Communications Service for the Deaf, and MPs are pressing for quick approval during the lame duck session.
The Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act, or CVTA, would amend key portions of current federal accessibility law, requiring, among other things, the improvement and expansion of closed captioning and audio description standards for online streaming platforms (as well as television), according to the authors. It would also modernize rules to make closed captioning and audio descriptions more widely available.
The bill, co-authored by Senator Edward Markey, would help to improve access to video programming for people who are deaf and use sign language. It would also empower the Federal Communications Commission to ensure accessibility regulations keep pace with emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and augmented or virtual reality platforms.
With the fast evolution of technology over the previous two decades, much of our economic and day-to-day lives have shifted online. Unfortunately, accessibility requirements have remained unchanged, leaving individuals with disabilities behind.
More than two-thirds of those who were blind or had impaired vision experienced problems using job-related technology. Over 70% of deaf or hard of hearing children cited comparable difficulties in school settings.
Sen. Markey, a writer of the existing federal law, known as the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), stated that “technology has advanced significantly since the adoption of the CVAA.”
Meanwhile, the revised CVTA received the approval of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, reinforcing accessibility implies equal opportunity to create, participate, and communicate—and supporting accessible technology is a vital element of their agency’s mission.
This Act will assist us in doing so by guaranteeing that persons with disabilities have full access to communication goods and services required to engage equitably in today’s environment, while also laying the groundwork for accessibility in future technologies.
The National Federation of the Blind, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the United Spinal Association, among others, have all approved the measure.
If you require your website to be ADA compliant, we have many solutions for you. Call us for a consultation or check our section on Bridge Building to Accessibility and Compliance.
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