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Disability organizations call on DOJ to finalize digital accessibility regulations

Blind person using audio book player listening to audio book on his computer.

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), along with our colleagues at the American Council of the Blind (ACB), the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), urges the Department of Justice to finalize a rule on web and application accessibility before the end of the current administration.

The need for digital accessibility regulations has never been more apparent. As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, all of us increasingly live and work through digital tools and online spaces. When websites and applications are inaccessible, people with disabilities cannot apply for jobs, work efficiently, attend school, access healthcare, schedule a ride, shop, find public health information, apply for public benefits, gather socially, and more.

The absence of regulations has resulted in persistent exclusion of people with disabilities from digital spaces covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The US Department of Justice has long held that the ADA includes websites and other technologies that are critical to accessing a business’s or agency’s services or facilities but has failed to define when and how they should be accessible. Meanwhile, the business community has requested clarity on how to create accessible websites and meet its obligations under the ADA. It is time to issue these rules, allowing the millions of Americans with disabilities the same rights as their non-disabled peers.

AFB, along with our partner organizations ACB, NFB, and NDRN, sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke on February 28, 2022, underscoring this request. The letter was signed by 181 organizations from across the disability and civil rights community.

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