[Nfbnet-members-list] FW: National Federation of the Blind Files Complaint Against State Department

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Wed Jun 27 19:49:32 UTC 2012

>Chris Danielsen
>Director of Public Relations
>National Federation of the Blind
>(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
>(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
><mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org
>National Federation of the Blind Files Complaint
>Against State Department
>Seeks to Stop Distribution of Inaccessible Kindles Abroad
>Baltimore, Maryland (June 27, 2012): 
><http://www.nfb.org>The National Federation of 
>the Blind, the oldest and 
>organization of the blind in the United States 
>and a leader in the struggle for civil and human 
>rights for blind people all over the world, 
>today filed a complaint with the Office of Civil 
>Rights for the United States Department of 
>State, alleging that the State Department’s plan 
>to purchase and deploy 35,000 Amazon Kindles 
>throughout the world violates federal law 
>because blind people cannot independently access 
>and use the devices or their content.  Four 
>international organizations representing the 
>blind and dedicated to equal access to books and 
>digital information­<http://www.wbu.org>the 
>World Blind Union, <http://www.sancb.org.za/>the 
>South African National Council for the Blind, 
><http://www.daisy.org>the DAISY Consortium, and 
><http://www.daisyindia.org/>the DAISY Forum of 
>India­are also named complainants.  The State 
>Department has announced plans to purchase 
>35,000 of Amazon’s dedicated e-reading devices 
>under a sole-source contract, at a cost of $16.5 
>million, as part of an international learning 
>program being referred to as the Kindle Mobile 
>Learning Initiative.  The aim of this program is 
>to create a global e-reader program that 
>introduces aspects of U.S. society and culture 
>directly to young people, students, and 
>international audiences and to expand English- 
>language learning opportunities abroad.  The 
>plan will involve deploying the Kindles to 
>embassies, libraries, and other entities around 
>the world.  The complaint also alleges that a 
>previous deployment of six thousand Kindles to 
>State Department facilities throughout the world violates the law.
>Of the Kindles currently available, not all are 
>capable of speaking the content of books.  While 
>the State Department proposal specifically calls 
>for the inclusion of this feature, the contract 
>makes no reference to the department’s 
>obligation to purchase accessible technology 
>under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act or 
>otherwise require that the devices procured be 
>accessible to the blind.  Blind readers cannot 
>independently access the text-to-speech reading 
>and voice-guided menu features of the Kindle, 
>and cannot independently navigate within a book 
>once it is opened, meaning that they must simply read it from beginning to end.
><http://www.nfb.org/marc-maurer-bio>Dr. Marc 
>Maurer, President of the 
>Federation of the Blind, said: “Access to 
>information is a fundamental human right, and 
>blind Americans, as well as our brothers and 
>sisters throughout the world, insist that this 
>right be upheld.  The State Department wants the 
>international community to learn about United 
>States society and culture; people with 
>disabilities are a part of that society and 
>culture, and the protection of our rights is a 
>national priority as clearly expressed in the 
>Rehabilitation Act and other laws. All federal 
>agencies, including the State Department, are 
>bound by these laws.  We intend to see that the 
>State Department meets its legal and moral 
>obligations to the blind people of this country and the world.”
>Marianne Diamond, president of the World Blind 
>Union (WBU), said: “The WBU represents over 285 
>million blind people throughout the world and 
>believes strongly that the blind and others who 
>cannot read print must have access to published 
>materials on the same terms as the sighted.  It 
>is critical that the United States demonstrate 
>leadership in this area by procuring and 
>providing reading technology that everyone can use independently.”
>The complainants are represented in this matter 
>by Scott C. LaBarre of the Denver firm LaBarre Law Offices.
>About the National Federation of the Blind
>With more than 50,000 members, the National 
>Federation of the Blind is the largest and most 
>influential membership organization of blind 
>people in the United States.  The NFB improves 
>blind people's lives through advocacy, 
>education, research, technology, and programs 
>encouraging independence and 
>self-confidence.  It is the leading force in the 
>blindness field today and the voice of the 
>nation's blind.  In January 2004 the NFB opened 
>the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan 
>Institute, the first research and training 
>center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://nfbnet.org/pipermail/nfbnet-members-list_nfbnet.org/attachments/20120627/a8563539/attachment.html>

More information about the NFBNet-Members-List mailing list