Internet Accessibility Regulations
Resolution 2016-05
Whereas, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted when the Internet was still in its infancy; and
Whereas, an array of court decisions continues to make application of the ADA to online-only places of public accommodation uncertain; and
Whereas, on the 20th anniversary of the ADA in 2010, the Obama Administration publically acknowledged the need for clarifying regulations in this area but has consistently thwarted efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to make progress on this critical regulatory agenda; and
Whereas, most recently, the Obama Administration scuttled plans to release a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the ADA’s application to state and local government Internet accessibility obligations; and
Whereas, while bringing some further attention to state and local governmental entities’ Internet accessibility obligations is always in order, organizations of and for people who are blind or visually impaired have rather been demanding action on the obligations of public accommodations operating exclusively online and not on state and local governments for which Internet accessibility obligations have never been in doubt; and
Whereas, in a vain attempt to portray regulatory progress regarding Internet accessibility, the DOJ has most recently issued a so-called supplemental advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (SANPRM) concerning state and local governments which asks many of the same insulting questions DOJ posed for public comment in previous proceedings demanding evidence of the relative costs and benefits of Internet accessibility; and
Whereas, no civil right — whether started at Seneca Falls, Selma or Stonewall, or sought in Silicon Valley or cyberspace — no civil right should ever be sold at auction;
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 8th day of July, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota, that this organization express its profound frustration and disappointment with the Obama Administration for its failure to be responsive to Americans with vision loss who, for more than a decade, have been calling for much-needed regulatory clarification of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s application to online-only places of public accommodation; and
Be it further resolved that this organization reach out to the major party candidates for President of the United States to communicate our demand that, within the first six months of the new presidency, issuance of regulations clarifying that online-only places of public accommodation are nevertheless ADA-covered entities with Internet accessibility obligations must be achieved.
Ray Campbell, Secretary