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They don't recognise us as HUMAN: Disability groups want CAPTCHAs killed

Oz advocay group floats non-W3C-approved alternative

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The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), Blind Citizens Australia, Media Access Australia, Able Australia and the Australian Deafblind Council have banded together to campaign for the demise of the CAPTCHA.

CAPTCHAs, or Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, ask users to prove they are human by entering text that has deliberately been obscured. The resulting squiggles are often frustrating for able-bodied folks, never mind those with less-than-stellar hearing or sight.

So frustrating, in fact, that ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin thinks “CAPTCHAs fundamentally fail to properly recognise people with disability as human,” which obviously isn't on.

Kill Captchas

After some prodding from Vulture South on why the campaign does not offer guidance to developers on how best to provide strong verification without hampering accessibility (we dislike campaigns that don't offer solutions), ACANN suggested its preferred alternative is a “did you really just register for this?” email bearing an activation link.

Interestingly, that method is not one mentioned by the W3C's Inaccessibility of CAPTCHA: Alternatives to Visual Turing Tests on the Web document from 2005. But an ACANN spokesperson said such emails are “a very common and accessible alternative”.

Developers in the audience can feel free to argue otherwise by making a comment. ®

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