On E-Readers & Accessibility Laws

Laura Hazard Owen writes for GigaOm that Amazon, Kobo, and Sony want exemptions:

Amazon, Kobo and Sony are petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to permanently exempt e-readers from certain federal accessibility laws for the disabled, arguing that e-readers are barebones devices designed for a single purpose: reading text.

The petition is interesting because it argues that e-readers’ value lies in the fact that they are inherently limited devices and that any non-reading functions they include, like experimental web browsers, are “rudimentary” and not very useful. Amazon, Kobo and Sony say that if they were forced to comply with FCC regulations and make e-readers fully accessible to people with disabilities, the essential nature of the devices would change, making them more like tablets, more expensive and, overall, less useful for their express purpose.

Shameful.

The stance here seems to be: we don’t want people with low or no vision to have access with our devices, because accommodating them would be way too much fucking work for our software engineers. Thus, Kindles and the like are only made useful to everyone but the visually impaired.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a such a big load of bullshit.

(via Jim Dalrymple)