Guarded Optimism for New Rules

Guarded Optimism for New Rules

New rules published by the U.S. Access Board in December making technology accessible to the disabled have received a cautious endorsement from a key organization representing the information technology community.

Officials at the Information Technology Association of America in Arlington, Va., are cautiously optimistic about the new rules, saying they allow for appropriate technological innovation, but some questions remain.

Federal agencies will have to comply with the rules beginning June 21. The Access Board is an independent federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 requires that agencies buy, use and maintain electronic and information technologies that are accessible to people with disabilities, unless it would pose an undue burden to do so.

The new rules tell government agencies and companies that sell technology to government how to make their computers, software, networks, copy machines and Web sites compliant. The rules do not require agencies to retrofit technology.

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