Edited by Axel Leblois, Executive Director, G3ict
The U.S. Access Board is responsible to oversee the implementation of U.S. legislation on accessibility. It conducted a review and update in 2006 and 2007 of its access standards for electronic and information technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. These standards, which were published in 2000, cover products and technologies procured by the Federal government, including computer hardware and software, websites, phone systems, fax machines, and copiers, among others. Section 508 requires Federal departments and agencies that develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology to ensure that Federal employees and members of the public with disabilities have access to and use of information and data, comparable to that of the employees and members of the public without disabilities. This effort also covers Board guidelines for telecommunications products and equipment covered by Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act.
The Board organized an advisory committee (Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee, TEITAC) to review its standards and guidelines and to recommend changes. The committee’s membership included representatives from industry, disability groups, standard-setting bodies in the U.S. and abroad, and government agencies, among others. Members were selected from applications received in response to a Board notice published in April of 2006. In the spirit of international cooperation, the Access Board also included representatives from the European Commission, Japan, Canada, and Australia.
TEITAC included the following international institutions, associations and standard organizations:
The participation in TEITAC deliberations of representatives from international organizations contributed to foster a dialogue between the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia on e-Accessibility standards for public procurement. It helped foster a global approach to policy making and public procurement as it relates to e-Accessibility standards. TEITAC report is available to read online. This report was presented to the Access Board in April 2008. The board is currently considering the report and drafting the updated Section 508/255 standards.