Feeds

Public IT must be accessible: EC

Reading frames it as a business issue

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The European Commission has called for all public IT procurement contracts to stipulate that the technology be made accessible to the elderly and disabled.

In its public consultation on the need for accessibility in IT, the EC surveyed 500 public agencies including universities, IT suppliers and user groups. It revealed that 90 per cent said accessibility should be a contractual requirement, 14 per cent said services needed to be fully interoperable, and 88 per cent said that EU institutions should take a lead in proposing these measures.

There was no real consensus on how these requirements should be enforced: respondents were evenly divided between voluntary, mandatory or self-certification checks on compliance, the EC says. However, almost three quarters were in favour of a product certification scheme.

Information Society commissioner Viviane Reading said that there were still 90 million people in the EU who could not properly benefit from technology because it was not accessible to them. She argued that bringing technology to everyone in Europe is more than a social or ethical issue: "Making the information society accessible for all is for me both a social necessity and an economic objective. The more accessible new technologies can be made, the bigger the potential markets for [vendors]."

Commission proposals will be set out in a Communication scheduled for September 2005. Its current policy is that harmonisation throughout the EU should be achieved voluntarily, but it reserves the right to get legislative if things don't improve in the next couple of years. ®

Related stories

BT automates talking book production
PLCs hit back at complaints on web accessibility
Web inaccessibility 'creates net underclass'

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.