U.S. Proposes ADA Compliance for Public Websites

The US government is proposing that ADA compliance for websites (title IV under the ADA) be enacted with its own set of laws.

When Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, the public Internet did not exist. Over the past 23 years, making the Internet accessible to those with disabilities has been a low priority for both the federal government and Internet businesses, bolstered by the fact that court decisions refuted the idea that the ADA applied to the Internet. Now, the federal government, with prodding from groups representing the disabled, is acknowledging how much of daily life the Internet affects. This past July, the U.S. Department of Justice proposed rules mandating that all state and local government websites be accessible to those with disabilities. Later this year, the DOJ is expected to do the same for all public websites, defining them as places of “public accommodation.”

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In general there are some rules of thumb for website compliance, but once these laws pass, there will be both an increase in scrutiny of websites and a cottage lawsuit industry to do the same.

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