Thursday, May 30, 2013

A White House Petition to Make It Easier for Blind People to Access Creative Works is Practically Impossible for Blind People to Sign

Posted By on Thu, May 30, 2013 at 1:25 PM

We've covered the White House's Internet petition site, We the People, fairly extensively, practically promising to never touch the damn thing ever again — but this one is too good to pass up.

A treaty created last week, asking the Obama administration to support the World Intellectual Property Organization treaty for the blind, which would relax copyright restrictions for material that has been made accessible for blind individuals.

Well, it's come out that the Captcha system the White House is currently using to prove that the signer is human (rather than an automated program stuffing the system) makes it damn near impossible for blind people to use it:

On the White House web site, blind users can select an audio version of the test, but the audio is incomprehensible, according to [National Federation for the Blind] spokesman Chris Danielsen.

And if users want to send email notifying the White House about the problem, well, that also requires a computer-human test with garbled audio, too, he said.

"We had asked people to sign the petition and we're getting these emails saying that people can't," Danielsen told POLITICO.

"The Constitution allows all of us to petition our government for a redress of grievance. It says nothing about needing to be able to see in order to do so."

Zing!

Not sure how the White House plans on addressing this issue, but there's a really sad irony in learning that an outlet that the blind are trying to use to raise their voice to the government is insanely difficult for blind people to use.

If you'd like to sign the petition yourself, you can find it here.

[h/t: TechDirt]

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