Sixth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum
27 -30 September 2011
United Nations Office in Naiorbi, Nairobi, Kenya
September 28, 2011 - 09:00AM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Good morning. Will the panel speakers please seat themselves at the podium.
For those in the audience, you are at the workshop number 137, Mainstreaming the Disability Perspective for an Inclusive Society. My name is Cynthia Waddell and I will be monitoring, moderator for this workshop. The panel speakers look ready to begin.
I thank everyone for being here in the session. This morning there was a communication problem. The display was announcing in another room. I asked that a sign be posted in the other room to direct everyone to this. There may be people coming in late, no fault of their own.
Our topic is mainstreaming the disability perspective for an inclusive society. The speakers today are diverse. We will be having Gerry Ellis speaking on cloud computing, the silver lining or impending storm for people with disabilities.
Peter Major will be speaking on implementation of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, the role of the United Nations and other international organisations.
Jorge Plano will be speaking on an update on Web accessibility regulations.
After that, Abdoulaye Dembele will be doing a presentation of the accessible cyber cafe in Mali. His presentation will be in French and translated by our own Peter Major in English.
Arun Mehta will be speaking on ICTs for those with multiple or cognitive disabilities. And if there is any time, I will be speaking on an update on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, and the U.S. 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which is a significant legislation regarding the, affecting the Internet.
I would invite Gerry to begin his presentation.
>> GERRY ELLIS: Thank you, Cynthia. Good morning, everybody. And everyone is welcome here, particularly those joining us by remote participation around the world. Everyone is welcome. My presentation is about cloud computing, and the importance of cloud computing to people with disabilities; is it going to be a silver lining, or will it be a further stone for people with disabilities. Thanks, Arun, for operating the slides. Next slide, please.
>> The slides are not up yet.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Let's hold for a minute. We do not have the slides up on the screen. Now it's posted. We have the opening slide title.
>> GERRY ELLIS: Okay. Arun, the next one, please. What is cloud computing? Let's get down to basics. The term was coined as recently as February, 2007. The idea of cloud computing itself is very new. The idea of distributive computing and related stuff is not that new, but this idea of cloud computing itself is quite new. What is it? How do we define it? First the research say it's a standardized IT capability such as software, a platform or infrastructure, delivered by an Internet technology in a pay-for-use and self-service way. And those two last things are the most important, pay for use and self-service way.
You choose what you want to use and you pay for it as you use it. You don't buy it up front, and use it up. You just pay for what you use.
Such the difference between cloud computing and maybe other types of computing.
People recognize something like using gMail or through Facebook, where all the information and all the software is not on your computer, but held somewhere else, but you have access to it; that would be called social media or Web 2.0. But cloud computing goes way beyond Web 2.0. It is becoming part of every day computing and technology. I threw out terms here around which will be included in cloud computing, infrastructure as a service. That is using other people's infrastructure instead of having to buy it yourself.
Software as a service, so maybe the software is running somewhere else, so even though you are using it on your computer, it is not resident on your computer, but you have access to use it.
Platform as a service. Maybe you are running Windows, but you run on Linux for a short term, so you don't have to buy all the equipment. You can have access to it. As a service is there too at the moment. That is what cloud computing is. Next slide, please.
One of the big issues around cloud computing is what is called interoperability, how do things work together basically. If you think about it, if I'm living in Ireland, and my data is in the Philippines, and software that I'm running is in China, whatever it might be, if it's in different countries, obviously if they don't work together, nothing works. You have to get everything working together. That throws up major issues being addressed in the area of cloud computing. International standards and agreements are crucial if cloud computing, stuff working in different countries are to work. They are going to be legislation conflicts to be sorted out.
Privacy is a big issue. Whose privacy law do you work in? In the example I gave, do you work under the Irish privacy law, Philippines privacy law, whatever it might be.
Data security is a big issue. If I'm in Ireland and my data is abroad, I'm scared. Is it going to be secured? That sort of stuff. Reliability and disaster recovery is a, is it going to be reliable. For instance, if I use the same example, if I'm at a time critical phase of 12 or 1:00 in the day in Ireland, that might be 11 or 12:00 at night in the Philippines where my data is. If there is a problem, is somebody going to be there to fix it?
Those sort of issues, and across language barriers, they are all big burning issues around interoperability and cloud computing. But if we bring that back to -- next slide, please -- back to people with disabilities, the question of interoperability is just as important, maybe for different reasons.
If you want cheap and accessible technologies, we have to encourage people who produce assistive technologies to use the same components as mainstream products. Use the same software and same protocols as mainstream products, and that would bring down the cost dramatically. So that is a question of interoperability. It doesn't mean you can connect assistive technologies to mainstream technologies easier rather than if they are using different software types and different protocols and so on.
The other way we can ensure that we are interoperable is to encourage everyone to use the UN Convention on rights of people with disabilities. If I have time at the end, I'll mention a little bit more why I think that is so important.
Again if we promote universal design, that promotes the use that everyone can use all kinds of software. We can promote the use of internationally recognized standards and guidelines, such as the World Wide Web Consortium guidelines which Shadi mentioned earlier. What this effect does is make assistive technologies, which I might use like the device I have on the table here, seem to the rest of the world over the Internet just like good or mobile devices. I want to give an example how cloud computing is supporting the needs of people with disabilities in general, but it's not just for people with disabilities. Global public inclusive structure, sorry, global public inclusive infrastructure is an initiative which is running on now which has many collaborators for all over the world; many people are working on this.
The Web site I have there is WWW.GPII.org.
The purpose of GPII is to ensure that everyone that faces accessibility barriers due to disability, literacy, or aging, regardless of economic resources, can access and use the Internet and all its information, communities, and services for education, employment, daily living, civic participation, health and safety.
So it's not just talking about people with disabilities, it's talking about everyone. But it's also including people with disabilities, and that is the important thing.
What it tries to do is build infrastructure and not services. It's not trying to build apps and that sort of -- it is trying to make sure Internet is accessible, and the analogy is they are trying to build roads, not cars.
That is a good way of putting it, I think.
A quote from the Web site says that they want to build any time, anywhere, any computer, access. So in other words, access for everyone from anywhere. The obvious way of doing that from our point of view is by using the cloud, because our assistive devices often aren't powerful enough to do many of the things we want to do. If all our information is on the cloud, we will have great access. GPII is going to be a great tool for us I hope in the future.
Next slide, please.
I want to talk about briefly, ITU, FG cloud. There is a nice mouthful. ITU, International Telecommunications Union, is part of the United Nations, and it deals with standards around access to telecommunications. It has many focus groups, and one of the focus groups is on cloud computing.
It's called FG cloud; that is just the name that they gave to that focus group.
I've given the Web site here, but it's too complicated to read out. I'll leave that.
This was, the focus group was set up in May, 20120, under the ITU.
>> ARUN MEHTA: You need to talk a little slower.
>> GERRY ELLIS: It was set up in May in 2010. There has been six meetings of this group so far. So it is well in progress. It is, the 7th meeting of this cloud group is currently this week in progress in Seoul, in South Korea.
I want to mention two quotes from the Web site of FG cloud. One quote says that it operates from the standardization viewpoints, and within competences of ITU. So that is where it sees itself working.
And the other thing, one of its main aims is analyze which component would benefit most from interoperability and standardization.
There is that word again, interoperability, and the word standardization.
Okay. Next slide, please.
What is required? What do we need to do? What do we need to do, we need to make sure that people with disabilities are included in this cloud revolution. We need to make sure that we promote the UN standards, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, because I think that is going to be our main tool for the next 20 or 30 years. We need to promote that in everything that we do around access and the rights of people with disabilities.
We need to coordinate that there are many different people working on different aspects of UN works, such as the WIPO treaty on copyright, World Summit on the Information Society, Millennium Development Goals. We need to make sure that we as advocates get together and make sure that we are talking to each other, so we are putting forward the same messages and putting forward the same priorities.
I already mentioned the ITU focus group on cloud computing. I think we need to be in there now, influencing that before it's too late. They are working on the standards now, which will be in operation for the next 20, 30 years. We need to get in there now and influence that.
Standards in general, we need to implement, we need to influence. We are doing that. But we need to do more of it. In universal design, once you convince them it's a good idea, universal design is in my view the best way of saying, here is how you do it. Once you decide that you want to do it, here is how you do it.
I mention GPII, which is one of the things that is working now to put forward our ideas and to make it, bring it to reality.
If you were to bring one single thing away from us here today, all those things sound great, but people say it will cost a fortune. There are loads of research out there, and loads of things to show that it costs more to exclude than to include. We need to show that the benefits that we are putting forward benefits society in general, and not just us. Last slide there.
Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for your attention. I'll hand you back to our chairperson, Cynthia. Thank you.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you very much, Gerry. Before we move to the next speaker, I'd like to give, provide a point of information.
The Power Points for this workshop, 137, and the Power Point for the previous workshop, 136, are on the Web site at the courtesy of ITU, for the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability.
Because that is a long URL, you are very welcome to just simply Google ITU, and the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability, and you will reach our home page, where all these Power Points are posted.
Next, I would like to also inform you that what we are going to be doing is give our presentations, and hopefully we will have a 20-minute, 30-minute interactive period for questions and discussion. I'd like you to hold your questions as we move through the presentations, thank you.
Now I would like to introduce Peter Major. He will be speaking on the implementation of the convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, and the role of the UN and other international organisations. Thank you, Peter.
>> PETER MAJOR: Thank you, Cynthia. I'm Peter Major. I'm a member of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability. And I am a special advisor to the Hungarian mission to the UN in Geneva.
In fact, I'm also co-coordinator of this Dynamic Coalition. I got in touch with the coalition just about three, four years ago. There was a very nice workshop organised by Cynthia and Andrea Saks at the ITU. At that time I used to work for the ITU. I realized the gravity of the problem of particularly building accessible Web sites.
I was myself a developer, as I told you. And during the workshop, I rushed back to my office and found that my Web site was everything but accessible.
So it gave me quite a job to retrofit the Web site to comply with the beautiful standards that the World Wide Web consortium provided us.
In this presentation, I would like to talk about some more general issues. Coming from my background and my present position as well, I am very much involved in U.N. meetings and UN organisation meetings. And probably for some of you, these buzz words, as WIPO, or ITU, or eventually UNESCO, don't really mean much. I try to be clear on these issues.
Let me start by again with something which was very recent. I attended a meeting in the UN. It was a meeting of the committee of the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. It was I think they have two annual meetings, and they provide reports, country reports.
And apart from that, there was a presentation from W.H.O., which gave us a figure, an updated figure about the disability perspective of the world. Up to now, we had the figure which was 650 million. Now they corrected it and they say it's one billion people, and if you think about that, it's 1/7th of the whole world population.
It's something which is, which should be recognized, even more by all the stakeholders.
Talking about the stakeholders, who are they? Well, first of all, as we have heard from, in the previous workshop, most of all these are the governments. They have ratified the treaty of the convention, the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which is in fact a success story.
This is the treaty which, of the 21st century, which has been signed by up to now I think 103 countries, and ratified by close to 90 countries.
So there are more and more countries which adhere to this treaty, and they are supposed to be national framework, which means they have to bring up the legislation to include aspects of this treaty, and they should provide financing.
The other stakeholder is the private sector, which provides the industrial framework, which means they provide tools and products. And probably the private sector is aware that there is a market out there for them. The third stakeholder are the academia and technical communities, where they provide the technical framework. They do research, build tools, and of course, they do the capacity-building, which is extremely important. It is not only I believe the capacity building in itself, but also to raise awareness.
The civil society has a big role in raising awareness. They provide the social framework. People should be made aware of this huge number of people with disabilities, so civil societies should do the capacity building, raising awareness, and monitoring the Government.
And finally, the international organisations are providing the international framework. Well, as I told you, this committee, I will be talking about a bit later, is monitoring. But there are other organisations which are also monitoring or taking surveys, or just following up to the implementation. They are setting standards and giving guidelines, and some of them give assistance as well.
Let's see, in more detail, the specific role of the international organisations.
The specific role is, number one, is to help the signatory countries, or the states parties as it is said in official languages to align national legislations to the CRPD.
They should also monitor Government services. We know that there are a lot of them, which are setting standards, and they create framework for the standardization process.
International organisations also play a role in raising awareness, they organise workshops, they have publications. And they have guidelines. They also initiate or participate in projects. And finally, they give assistance and training.
In the next two slides, I give a list of some of the international organisations. They are mostly UN organisations, but we know that there are many more. So probably this list is far from being exhaustive.
First of all, just to mention the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the UN High Commission, Office of the High Commissioner for human rights.
Well, basically, these are the two bodies of the UN, which are the custodians of the treaty itself, and they provide Secretariat for the convention. They are monitoring states parties. They provide coordination, write reports, and they have a very good Web site. If you go to the UN enable Web site, you will find very interesting information.
There is a special agency support group for the CRPD, in which there are many UN organisation participating. They support the state parties, and they also help in planning and devising programmes, and capacity building.
Okay. In the previous session, you had a very nice presentation from the global initiative for inclusive ICTs. If you go to their Web site, you will find tons of surveys, the results of their research, workshops, tool kits and so on. ILO, International Labour Organisation, specializing mainly on labour standards, and ITU is very active in each of its sectors in accessibility issues from standards to workshops to raising awareness, and even ITU is coorganiser of this workshop itself.
And I could follow up with the other organisation, as UNESCO, W.H.O., the World Bank, UNCTAD. The World Intellectual Property Organisation has already been mentioned. They are working on a treaty about exception on the international property rights for blind people. It's an ongoing thing. They are an international standard organisation; and finally, the European Union.
As a conclusion, the international organisations are relatively, are really active in contributing to the implementation of the CRPD. Their main activities is monitoring standards, workshops, guidelines.
They are involved in those activities, which are indicated in their mandate. They are bilateral and multilateral corporation, and Gerry has mentioned that these corporation should be enlarged. There are very good examples. ITU in its three sectors, there is a cooperation between the ITU and the WIPO, W.H.O. And the World Bank, ITU and the G3ict and the UNESCO G3ict, and so on.
But it should be mentioned that the role of the interagency support group should be strengthened.
Finally, last but not least, the UN and its specialized agencies organise meetings which are not always accessible. It's extremely difficult. And I would like to call on the UN and UN organisations to pay more attention to this aspect. Thank you for your attention. I'm ready to take your questions after the following presentation. Thank you.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you, Peter.
Now I would like to introduce Jorge Plano, who will be speaking on the update on Web accessibility regulations.
>> JORGE PLANO: Thank you, Cynthia. I am a member of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disabilities, representing ISOC, Internet society, Argentina chapter. I am also with the university in Buenos Aires working with accessibility issues. And today, I'm going to present the last regulations in the last years, the regulations related to Web accessibility in different countries.
For the next slide, we have about the Argentina, we have got accessibility law in last November. This law covers the very wide area of organisations, because make Web accessibility mandatory for the Federal Government, the independent agencies, public NonGovernmental bodies, state-owned companies, also privatized utilities, suppliers or contractors of goods and service for the Government, and civil society organisations, beneficiary of grants, donations or debt discharges. It has been issued. The regulatory regulation is in process, the regulatory regulation in the technical aspects and legal aspects related to define exactly how will be implemented in the different areas covering that obligation. This is the third incarnation of the law that finally was approved.
In the next slide, we have other countries. In Brazil, recently, have been established the electronic Government accessibility model, in version 3.0. It did have the name eMag 3.0, that regulates accessibility in electronic Government area. That was put on public consultation in last November. And by in the middle of September, it was presented, the final version, and put in effect.
This covers a technical regulation with 43 guidelines. Those are inspired by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines of the Web 2.0 World Wide Web Consortium. This is now what is going to regulate the Government Web site in Brazil. In Mexico it was established this year, regulation called Reactivos, 2011, that establishes the covered point that specifies on the mandatory Web accessibility, and asking Governments to Web content accessibility 2.0 level AA.
In the next slide, we have the New Zealand regulations have been established in March, 2009. It was established the Web standard recommendations 2.0, that establishes that the technical standard will be the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, and make this mandatory for the public service departments, the police, the defense forces, the parliamentary counsel, and security and intelligence services.
In the next slide, changing the continent, we are going to Korea, where in 2009 there was general legislation called Disability Discrimination Act that included Web accessibility as mandatory, that establishes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as a standard, and establishes step by step implementation of accessibility, in 2009, for the Government agencies, in '11 for university, college and major hospitals, in '13 for the private corporations, in '15 for the cultural and art corporations.
In the next slide we have India. In India, in this moment, there is a draft, the right of persons with disabilities bill, that included Web accessibility. This bill is present under in the process of consultation, is in nine or ten version. And it mention that the last version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines must be used as a critical standard.
In Australia, we have now Web accessibility national transition strategy, that establishes the steps for migrating from the old accessibility, Web accessibility regulation based in Web content accessibility 2.0, to the new Web content accessibility 2.0. They call this Web accessibility national transition strategy.
In the next slide, we change the continents again, and we see in the United States, first we have two recent, develop recent news about accessibility. There is the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act in 2010, that include, in my opinion, this includes multi-media Web contents. Perhaps Cynthia will have more detailed knowledge of this, and perhaps have initiated some lawsuits related to this. (Chuckles).
And the second one is the Department of Justice, in July, last year, established an advance notice of proposed rulemaking. This process is for public comments on accessibility Web information and service provided by entities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is a process that I think will be superseding the famous Section 508. It is expected that by 2013, we will have a new regulation in effect.
In the next slide, we change -- thank you -- in the next slide, we have in the European Union. The European Union, we have in 2009, the Transport, Telecommunication and Energy Council meeting, proposed a recommendation on measures to promote eAccessibility, and particularly to implement the Web content accessibility 2.0. But I don't found that this have a practical consequences after this proposal.
But there is I think a very important, the second law is very important, because there is a standardization mandate 376, phase 2, that this is regulation that establishes accessibility requirements for public procurement in the ICT domain. The objective of this is harmonize and facilitate the public procurement of ICT products and services. And recently, it has been tender for development of online tool kit for public procurement. So the products and service in the ICT domain will be procured, that the European Governments will be obtaining, will have accessibility.
And the next slide, we have got in 2009 accessibility order from the Government of France that establishes general reference on accessibility for the administration, that is based on Web content accessibility 2.0.
In Germany, currently, the BITV, that are the Web accessibility standards are currently in the process of revision, to adapt them to the Web content accessibility 2.0 expected to be ended by end of this year. And this slide, finally, we have another two countries. Switzerland updated its guidelines for accessibility Web sites in January, 2010, establishing that federal Web sites must meet the Web content accessibility 2.0 level, AA. In United Kingdom, it was established British standard, that is in alignment with Web content accessibility 2.0. And it was established the eAccessibility action plan, that have the purpose of promote the accessibility of the Government Web sites.
Well, I am on time.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you very much, Jorge.
We are trying to be as efficient as we can to get the information out, so that we can have our interactive dialogue. I'd like to now introduce Abdoulaye Dembele, who will be speaking on cyber cafe, accessible cyber cafe in Mali.
Thank you. The Power Point is posted.
>> ABDOULAYE DEMBELE: I'm Abdoulaye Dembele, presenter of accessibility. I will do a presentation of accessible cyber cafe in Mali.
The Internet is now used to the best of their ability by a wide variety of people, including children, persons with disabilities and senior citizens. What solutions can be envisaged for broad access to the Internet? Access is taken into account for access to any give Web service. Think of a person wishing to do their shopping over the Internet, or a person wanting to subscribe to their favorite newspaper on line, because they can no longer read prepared copy, how persons with disabilities to able to access for Web.
Whatever, a person with a disability should be able to access the same content and access as same persons; not only are consumers like everyone else, but Internet constitutes a strong tool for access.
Solution. Persons with disabilities and senior citizens are potential visitor and consumers for any commercial site. Therefore, Web professionals need to reassess their content and service offering.
We must encourage establishment of national agencies and multipurpose centres or cyber cafes.
Solution 2, national agencies. All countries should establish to progressive reform national Web site, to make them accessible for everyone.
Multiple purpose centre or cyber cafe. Following the lead of the ITU, all nonGovernment organisations should encourage development countries to equip themselves with multipurpose centres/cyber cafes.
Mali is one of the countries in which ITU has financed multipurpose centre, where we witness broad access to the Internet. Such centre can service as veritable testing ground. Africa is particular, there is a large potential pool of Internet consumer or eCommerce consumers.
However, it is true that these population are generally poor, and may be illiterate, young or disabled due to war or illness.
Presenter for multipurpose centre in Mali. The centre comprise ten computer, one Fax, two printers, cyber cam, etcetera.
Thank you for your attention.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you very much, Abdoulaye. I now would like to introduce our next speaker, which is Arun Mehta. He is going to be speaking on ICTs for those with multiple or cognitive disabilities.
>> ARUN MEHTA: Thank you, Cynthia.
Can we please have my slides on the screen? Thank you.
Again, I'm looking at that screen. So I cannot work without that.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to draw particular attention to the problems of persons with multiple disabilities; for example, the deaf-blind.
Now, in India, we do not even separately count them in the census. And I suspect that that is true of many countries. We estimate there are almost a million deaf-blind children in India, perhaps a population of a million who are both deaf and blind.
There is a lot of technology that persons who are blind are using, and we had some excellent presentations on this from Fernando and Gerry and others.
We have a lot of very good technology for persons who are deaf, and Cynthia is a major expert in the area.
However, neither of these sets of technologies work for people who are both deaf and blind. Technology for a deaf person assumes that the person can see. Technology for the blind person assumes that the person can hear.
So far, the only way a person who is deaf-blind was able to use the computer was to use a refreshable Braille device, the kind that Gerry is using. Gerry, would you mind holding it up for a second?
A device like this has pins that stick out and go back in, so as you run your fingers over it, you can get the text as through the pins via your sense of touch.
However, this costs thousands of dollars, and my understanding is that its reliability is also suspect because there is a lot of mechanical components in there.
Then again, of course, people who are deaf-blind could take advantage of Braille, but there is relatively little material compared to what is available in the world today that is printed in Braille.
And this is even more true for countries where languages other than English are spoken and in rural areas.
Then there is another point that when we make technology for a disabled person, we try to match it to what are the limited abilities of the person, so if you have limited vision, or limited hearing, we can do something about it.
And both in blindness and deafness, there are varieties and grades, of course. And when you are looking at a deaf-blind person, you have to multiply these two fairly large numbers, so you have a very large variety of persons who are deaf-blind, and if you are trying to match the technology to their needs, that is a huge, huge problem.
I had an NGO called Bapsi, Bidirectional Access Promotional Society. We seek to bring access to the people who have most difficulty getting access, so the deaf-blind became for us a priority. So recently, what we have developed is a free app for the Android phones, that allows a deaf-blind person to receive and send text messages.
The student who designed this chose the name PocketSMS, because he liked the thought of being able to send and receive text messages in class with the phone hidden in his pocket.
So maybe, you know, people who aren't disabled might find use for the software too. The way that this works is that when messages come in, they are communicated to the user in Morse code, via vibration. All phones have of course the vibrate mode. This technology Morse code is 170 years old. It was the first technology to be used in electronic communications, so we are very proud to bring it back into circulation for communications.
As far as replying is concerned, if the deaf-blind user has a choice of what phone to buy, then we recommend one which has a separate hardware, QWERTY keyboard. But if you have a pure, what shall I say, touch screen phone with no keypad, then you can work with a, you get gesture recognition software such as graffiti. I'd be very happy to demonstrate that to anyone on my phone afterwards, should you be interested.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Can we stop for a moment? The captioning has stopped. It is not being displayed here or on the screen.
>> ARUN MEHTA: Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, the captioning has stopped, so we will pause for a second.
I can go ahead now. Thank you. Now, of course, what this software, what a person needs in order to be able to use the software is of course knowledge of Morse code. And these days, you know, people don't -- sorry, I'm talking too fast?
>> It is still frozen.
>> ARUN MEHTA: Sir, could you please tell the people doing the, Roy or someone, that we have a problem here?
We should have Roy on fast dial, speed dial somewhere.
Maybe I should keep talking in order to see if the text is scrolling, or can you -- does your headphones tell you anything about this?
It's coming? But very slow. Can we work with that?
Because as I said, the deaf-blind person may not know Morse code, it is not routinely taught these days, we developed a, another app which serves the purpose of training a user in Morse, and I'd be happy to show you that as well.
What we are planning for the future in the next months is of course access to E-mail, and then we would like to make wikipedia accessible to a deaf-blind person, with, without, the normal wikipedia page is extremely busy, but and to so reduce that to the essentials, we have been doing that for persons who are mentally challenged already so we can use that.
Now, of course, we want a deaf-blind person to be able to produce content for the rest of the world too. Now, of course, a deaf-blind person has a lot of difficulty with that, and is going to be very slow.
So a platform such as Twitter, we thought, would be very well suited, because you communicate in Twitter using short messages, and this is something that we would also like to make accessible to a deaf-blind person.
Then it would be great if we could make speech to text accessible, so that a deaf-blind person could find out what is happening in her environment.
And of course, since many people who don't hear well also have difficulty in speaking clearly, then we would also like to make text to speech accessible should that be necessary. This was done by Anmol Anand in summer training, and if you go to the BAPSI Web site, you can find more information on this.
Let me try to very quickly address problems relating to cognitive disabilities, which is quite a challenge with one slide.
Now, we have of course a lot of variety as I mentioned in every kind of disability, but in cognitive disabilities each person is unique. You have combination of disabilities, you have different severities, and when there are mental challenges, there are special problems. Not only would we need different hardware and software, but also, different content, depending upon what it is that, the goal that the child is trying to reach.
Then of course, a mental challenge begins in the first year or two of life, and stays with you all your life. So the software needs to be able to grow with the child. And it's hard enough for us to be learning multiple languages. For a mentally challenged person, that is almost impossible, so we need to be able to work in multiple languages.
And really, a person like this should be able to do everything that other people do with computers, so the challenges are quite huge.
So, we have a cloud-based platform called Skid, for Special Kid, where we have software which basically does little more than scratch the surface here; I mean, this problem is quite huge. But the way that we seek to do this is that we work with individual kids, individual schools, and when there is a problem that, where they have a difficulty in the educational system, we try to see if some special software can be developed for that. And the Skid platform is well designed to make it easy to add tiny little modules like this, to handle the individual needs of a person.
There is of course a problem that not all people can afford computers, and even those who can are sometimes reluctant to give them to a mentally challenged child.
So we are exploring a lot of other approaches besides the use of computers, trying to develop artistic skills, singing and so on, working with one sense at a time, because very often the brain has difficulty when different parts have to work together. So there is a lot of very very interesting work that we are, we have a large group of people from different special schools, and experts from all over the world helping us. We try to organise a workshop a week with students in Delhi.
This is my last slide.
I hope that there are people here from technology companies listening to this, because mental challenges and cognitive disabilities is a very special problem for them. It has been found that the levels of autism and dyslexia in tech companies is far higher than in the general public.
The reason is that people like this find it easier to communicate through computers than face-to-face often, and because there is a genetic component in some mental challenges, the problem is even more severe in the next generation. There is an excellent article called The Geek Syndrome, which appeared in Wired Magazine in 2003, talking about how in Silicon Valley, this is such a big problem.
Recently there was a study done in Holland, where they compared autism spectrum disorder levels in Eindhoven, the headquarters of Phillips, and where there are a lot of tech people, with other towns in Holland with comparable levels of literacy and so on. They found that the levels in Eindhoven were substantially higher, more than two or sometimes, three times higher than in other towns.
People with cognitive disabilities as I mentioned find it easier to communicate through computers than directly. So for the tech industry, we have to deal with this problem at three levels. Their employees, many of them, are mentally challenged. In fact, the definition of a geek is fairly similar to how you would detect autism.
Then of course, a problem for the company is that the employee's children are far more likely to have these problems. And then, of course, the third is that since these are companies that make tools for people to communicate, they are making the tools that are the primary means of communication for persons with mental challenges, and so they have three levels at which to deal with this problem.
Unfortunately though, most companies pay little to no attention to these problems, and this is something that needs to change.
I have one more slide which talks about the Internet access as a basic human right, but perhaps we will be doing that in the form of a statement together, all of us. So I think I can let the slide go. Thank you very much.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you.
Now I need to put up my presentation. We now come to the last presentation by Cynthia Waddell, myself. I'm going to give you a brief update on the UN Convention activity, and on the new legislation on the U.S. 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.
I am a founding member of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability, and all biographies of all the speakers for both workshops and the Power Point presentations are posted at the ITU Web site, which contained the Dynamic Coalition activities
My experiences in cross disability accessibility. Next slide.
>> ARUN MEHTA: Your slides are not showing.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Where it says overview. Now they are showing. Arun was telling me the slides are not showing and they are now.
My overview will be update on the convention, and to highlight this new legislation, but at this point, I do want to draw to your attention rulemaking that has occurred at the U.S., that is initiated just last month. This past month the Department of Transportation in the U.S. has begun rulemaking on the accessibility of Web sites of foreign air carriers. These are airlines that operate in the U.S. or land in the U.S., as well as regulations for the accessibility of U.S. airport kiosk. That is rulemaking under way that has been initiated.
The second type of rulemaking that has also begun is from the Food and Drug Administration. They have initiated guidance discussion on mobile medical applications. This is a very critical field for persons with disabilities. I wanted to highlight those new regulations.
Next slide. As of September 23, the Conventions on Rights of Persons With Disabilities has 153 signatories and 104 ratifications. There has been one more, Peter. Every day there is something new happening. The optional protocol to the convention remains at 90 signatory and 62 ratifications.
Last month there was held in New York the fourth session of the conference of states parties of the convention, and all states that had ratified the convention have come in to the meeting to discuss monitoring other convention and other activities.
I need to highlight for you a significant report that has come out that is published by the World Health Organization and the World Bank. It is called the world report on disability, and it's relevant to us because chapter 6 references the state of affairs of accessible ICT around the world.
Lastly, I want to talk about the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, and how it applies to the Internet and its relevance to IGF.
This legislation is considered to be the most significant piece of accessibility legislation since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It has modernized existing communication laws, to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to share fully in the economic, social and civic benefits of broadband and other 21st Century communication technologies.
The recently enacted legislation preserves accessibility features for the Internet. For example, Internet browsers and mobile must support Web accessibility. Televisions, telephones used over the Internet must be hearing aid compatible, and a captioned television programme must also be captioned when delivered over the Internet. The legislation also requires video description on television for persons with vision loss, and the bill allocates $10 million per year for communications equipment used by people who are deaf-blind, and ensures emergency information is accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision.
You would think in 2011, emergency information would be accessible, but it is not.
So this month, the final regulations will be published for section 716 of this act. And these final regulations govern voice over Internet Protocol, nonInternet interconnected voice over Internet Protocol, electronic messaging and interoperable videoconferencing.
The new law requires these communications and their forms to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
Last slide. If you want to know more about it, you certainly can contact me by E-mail, is on this slide, and the Web site following this is that WWW.ICDRI.org. And that concludes my presentation and the panel presentation.
We can now open up for questions. I'm going to ask Arun to assist me. Even though I am aural, I have a significant hearing loss. I had 18 years of speech and lipreading lessons, so I require captioning, and my captioning is still stuck on Arun's presentation. We are now going to accept questions from the floor, and I'll ask Arun to assist me. Thank you. Let's open it up for questions.
That includes remote participants as well. Hiroshi.
>> HIROSHI KAWAMURA: Thank you, Cynthia. My question is to Arun. You mentioned about the autism spectrum is significantly high ratio in Eindhoven. My question is how is the situation of so-called learning disability or dyslexia in India? And what kind of support you are considering to meet the specific needs of dyslexic people in India.
>> ARUN MEHTA: Thank you, that is an excellent question.
In India, as Jorge was mentioning, we are in the process of revamping our persons with disabilities act.
The old act from I think 1996 or something does not even include dyslexia and autism as disabilities.
So there is a serious problem in terms of the complete absence of any support to special schools and so on. Recently, there have been some very progressive court decisions which make it mandatory for the school to accept people with any kind of disability.
And so now this problem which earlier was only restricted to special schools now has become more of a problem for the general educational system.
But as yet there is really very little that is happening in this field and very sad to say. We are only just beginning to understand these problems and so on. We have had a lot of attention drawn to dyslexia in particular, because of Bollywood film which was a big hit. So there is a lot of sensitivity to this problem. But in terms of what has actually been done on the ground, except for sterling efforts by individuals, and there are some remarkable teachers, there are some remarkable parents who have done amazing work with their children, apart from that, as a systematic nationwide effort, I'm very sorry to say that there is almost nothing.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you, Arun. I have moved to the captioner screen. Any other questions from the audience?
>> My name is Dimlos from South Africa Telecentre Network. My question is directed to the ITU. How easy is it for civil society organisations to work with the ITU?
I found it quite challenging to work, to help programmes implemented together with ITU, or form a strategic partnership. As I see on your Web site, the Governments is the prime stakeholder in the programming of your programmes.
So, was there any process for civil society organisation to get involved in ITU programmes? Thank you.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: This is Cynthia. Even though we spoke as members of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability, we are not ITU. If there is a member of ITU here who can respond to that question, I would very much appreciate that. And as we wait for that response, I do want to comment that there is a UNESCO report that is called the accessibility guidelines for multi-media centre, that includes instructions and a checklist on accessibility of telecentre for both the build environment and also for accessibility of the technology inside it. If you want more information about that, I'll be glad to provide that.
Now, did I see someone from ITU? I see a hand raised. Soya.
>> So, this is Soya Young from ITU, and I'm glad to respond to this question, because ITU is actually providing the secretary service for this Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability.
I would like to mention briefly two approaches for civil society to participate in our activity.
First and foremost is of course this Dynamic Coalition. Also ITU is providing secretary. We are just one of the organisations, as other organisations who are represented by our panelist in the workshops this morning, so any civil society at even any individuals can participate in this Dynamic Coalition. And ITU is happy to provide a secretary service to facilitate your participation.
This is one approach. The second one, about accessibility, I would like to mention that there will be a workshop tomorrow afternoon at 4:15 to 6:00. It's a joint workshop organised by ITU and EBU.
We are talking about our new initiative of our focus group on audiovisual media accessibility. This is our ITU-T focus group which is open to anyone from ITU Member States. So any individual or any civil society, any organisation can participate in the focus group, and contribute to the work, and which is very important. And I believe that is doing some technical work on standards for accessibility for broadcasting, especially broadcasting service, whether it's keyboard, network or Internet. Thank you very much.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you, Soya. This is Cynthia Waddell again. On that note, I do want to invite anybody from civil society or anyone who would like to participate in the fourth session of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability. This is our business meeting. We are meeting today in room 4. This is how you may become involved. We are meeting today in room 4, from 1:15 to 2:30. And you are very much invited to attend.
Any other questions?
>> Question from remote participation. A question goes to Arun. Could you develop the mum rule for autistic kids? It's written M-U-M R-O-L-E.
>> ARUN MEHTA: But I have no idea what that means.
>> It was from Alexandra. I'm also waiting for clarification. Thank you.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Any other questions? I see Peter Major's hand wave.
>> PETER MAJOR: I have just a comment. Coming back to the participation in the ITU, what Soya said, I think it was absolutely correct. But it only touches upon the T sector, ITU-T, which has a specificity of having the focus groups and sponsoring the Dynamic Coalitions.
As for the other two sectors, probably those who are interested in participating in the radio sector or in the development sector's activities should add their questions to the appropriate focal points in these sectors, or rather they should come to the Dynamic Coalition and you could provide through the focal point some answer to these questions. Thank you.
>> ARUN MEHTA: Judy, could you perhaps ask the questioner if she meant, mom, the mother. She does mean that?
>> ARUN MEHTA: That I can, Cynthia, may I talk about that for a second?
When we look at a child with mental challenges, actually we are not looking at one person's life. We are looking at two people's lives, because very often, there is a caregiver, typically the mom, who devotes all her time and attention to this child.
So when we try to improve the life and the productivity and the education of a mentally challenged child, we are also tremendously helping the mother, or the other caregivers of that person.
And in our workshops, and all our programmes, we take complete care to bring the parents and the caregivers in. So for example, when we do a singing workshop, where we make sure that it's not just the child that is learning, but also the caregiver together with them. So it's a very serious problem for the parents, of course. And this problem stays with the parent right up to the moment of her death, because her very last concern and worry is what is going to happen to my child after I am gone?
So these are huge, huge problems. And unfortunately, we don't have the time here to deal with them in any detail. But Fernando has a question back there, Cynthia. You might -- go ahead, Fernando.
>> FERNANDO BOTELHO: You mentioned the traditional solutions are expensive. How many dollars does your Morse code based solution cost?
>> ARUN MEHTA: Thank you for asking. The app is free, and a Android phone is available these days for as little, a little over $100. So we have managed to bring the price point down from thousand of dollars to about $100. We ourselves don't earn anything in that. We even provide free training.
>> Good afternoon. My name is Alan Baus, independent consultant. I have a question for Jorge Plano about the Web accessibility regulations.
You have made an overview of all the new regulations around the world. And I was wondering if you have any information about the actual compliance to such regulations, if you see governments indeed prioritizing this when they develop Web services, etcetera. But also, for example, when we look at Korea, and you mention that there will be a deadline for even cultural institutes to update their Web services. I was wondering if you have examples around the world of how Governments enforce compliance in such matters. Thank you.
>> JORGE PLANO: Well, I don't have a very profound knowledge of this, different countries. For example, Korea is one of the, that I know less, because there is, I have a fundamental difficulty with the language.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Jorge, I can augment your response.
Regarding, yes, it's one thing to have a law, and a policy, and recommended practice and techniques.
But if they are not implemented, the user will not have accessibility.
So, what is this about implementation and how do we monitor the implementation? I can tell you that for those countries that have policies and regulations, and law, and it varies across the world, my second publication on Web accessibility regulation provided a survey on that, Web accessibility regulations. And I can refer you to it later.
But the main point that I would like to make at this juncture is now that so many countries have signed and ratified the UN Convention, there is a requirement in the convention that there be accessible Web. And if those countries, if a consumer or user of the Web is not able through their local laws and compliance process, be able to have access, then they, and they have exhausted all litigation in the country, they have a right to go to the international tribunal and file a complaint against that country or that Government or that private service, for failure to have an accessible Web site.
And who is that tribunal? The tribunal is the committee of persons with disabilities, that has been formed as a result of the convention going into legal effect.
Now, we will watch what happens when we arrive at that point, where a person has exhausted their legal right at the local level, and that country has ratified the convention. That individual will have a right to file a complaint with the committee.
Now, for those countries, as these treaties are complicated, you will get a lawyer-like answer from a lawyer, those countries that have also signed the optional protocol, it's much more serious, because then the committee can interject, intervene, investigate the country regarding the compliance effort.
So we can talk more later about what that monitoring requirement is. Every country that has signed is submitting monitoring reports to the committee on the extent they are implementing the convention.
But your question dealt with what happens too, and I'm sharing with you that if an individual in a country that has ratified the convention is, exhaust all their legal rights, they will have the right to file a complaint in the international court of the committee of persons with disabilities.
You can talk to me later about it, and the process. Of course, being a new law, a new treaty, our procedures will become more straightforward, as those processes are initiated. Thank you.
>> JORGE PLANO: I think, I don't know you have the answer, all the answer. But Cynthia is a lawyer involved in policies. Of course, a lawyer will give you advice to sue. (Chuckles).
Really, the situation related to policies in this field is very different across the world. And furthermore, this is a transition situation, as Cynthia explained, determined by the convention. But at present, the regulations are being adopted to the convention, but the convention is in effect in many countries, and may be enforced by the determiners.
>> ARUN MEHTA: Do we have any other questions, please? Yes, we have one.
>> Yes. We in Qatar are about to launch an eAccessibility policy. It's in the final drafting stages now. My question would be, what are the best ways to monitor the application of the policy, and what are the best ways to communicate to the private sector companies or to -- the governmental organisations we can deal with, but what about the private sector companies? How can we communicate the message clearly to them? And how can we monitor their application of the policy?
>> Who would like to take that?
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Jorge, I see you waving your hand.
>> JORGE PLANO: Okay. This is a very interesting question. This is both an issue related to policies, to Government, and to technical issues, because there is, because it's not an easy way to monitor the accessibility of Web sites massively. At present, there are tools that many of them are free, or they are private ones. There are governments that are developing tools to monitor the accessibility of Web sites.
Particularly I know a project from the Government of Portugal, that they are developing a tool to monitor their accessibility of the Web site, that took massively Web sites, samples of pages of Web sites, and do a technical evaluation of the accessibility, and establish a rate accessibility, and establish the statistics, and also establish the rank of the sites and so on.
This is at present, I think that this is a new field, that is in development.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Jorge, I would like to interject, and I see that Shadi of the World Wide Web Consortium would like to intervene, and also provide a comment, contribution to this discussion. Shadi?
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Thank you. Yeah. Just very quickly, great question. It's very tough to monitor. A couple years ago the European Commission conducted a survey to, it's called the MEAC study, measuring eAccessibility in the European Union.
One of the things that it showed, it's one of the many studies, but it was particularly interesting, there was a correlation the survey seem to show between the strength, quote-unquote, "strength" of the policy and the actual implementation.
That is maybe one of the best bets to actually get things implemented, is to have a policy that actually has teeth. That is, unfortunately, one of the drivers of accessibility is policies, also speaking on behalf of engineers. I don't think we like to have been told what to do, but that is unfortunately what it means to take.
Regarding now the technical side of monitoring, there are many different approaches, many different examples. The issue with tools of course is that it only tests a very small subset of the things that are automatically testable, which is a very small subset, and the picture can be skewed, actually. There are examples, for instance, in the Netherlands, when Web masters start to trick this automated tool with time and so on.
So, we have just launched a W3C new work on top of WCAG 2. It's called the evaluation methodology, task force. Basically, it's to create a methodology, a consistent way of evaluating entire Web sites according to WCAG 2. So it includes sampling and also aggregation of those results, of those evaluation results. So this work has started, just started up, and we would be delighted to have more participation from you maybe.
>> ARUN MEHTA: Cynthia, Gerry wants to add to this and then Satish.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Before Gerry and we have another speaker, we have a remote participant question that I'd like to open it for that.
>> This is not a question as such, it is a contribution from Anja. He mentions that the policymakers handbook from the BDT, of the ITU Web site, that you should check the G3ict and ITU policymakers handbook, which is available on the Web.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: He is referring to the online accessibility tool kit, which many people contributed to, I was a coeditor and author of, on the implementation of the Convention of Rights of Persons With Disabilities. It was jointly produced by ITU and G3ict. Gerry, you have a comment?
>> GERRY ELLIS: Thank you, yes. One of the things that I think is very important is, evaluation tends to come at the end of when you are doing something. If you create a policy, then particularly the public sector or particularly private sector goes out and develops something, and you try to evaluate it at the end, you are already hitting a difficulty, because if you do find a problem, it's very difficult to fix. It costs an awful lot more to retrofit accessibility than it does to build it in at the design phase.
So the two things that you need to keep in mind is rather than waiting to the end and evaluate, try to include people with disabilities and organisations of people with disabilities and others who are interested in this area, right from the very beginning. And there are very good methodologies out there for actually doing this, and to include, ensure that accessibility is included from the beginning, particularly universal design principles. So I'd recommend that you look at this idea of, don't wait until the end. Do it all the way through starting right at the very beginning at the design phase. Thank you.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you, Gerry. We have one last question or comment from Satish? Someone else? Arun?
>> Sorry, we also have one question at the back. Perhaps we can take two, Cynthia? Two questions?
>> Thank you, Cynthia. I have two comments, actually. One is to follow up on the question about the private sector. It's complaints vis-a-vis some of these regulations. It's good to know about the policy initiatives that are happening in different parts of the world. But in the developing countries, we have a problem of the private sector not completely happy to comply with the recommendations so far.
This is what we see, especially when it comes to providing jobs for the differently abled people. No matter what training we do, and I don't want to take example of IT industry, that is one extreme, it's an outlier basically. But the, all the other industries and other job opportunities, we are having that, having a problem that no matter what training we provide, the private sector is not very happy, or they are reluctant to take people into employment. I wonder whether there is any kind of good practices, because this is about good practices for inclusive development, I wonder if there is any recommendations or practices for this problem.
And the second brief comment is about cloud computing.
As far as cloud computing permits fractional ownership of computers, like can I buy half a computer from the market? I cannot. But can I buy half a computer on the cloud? I can. That brings down the whole accessibility cost, access cost especially when it comes to infrastructure required on global basis on the Internet. I wanted to mention that aspect about the cost being brought down significantly, as a positive to all the positives and negatives.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: Thank you. There is a comment from another remote participant.
>> It's a closing one.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: It's a closing comment? The remote participant is Andrea Saks, and she has a closing comment. Before we do that are there any other comments or questions on the floor? There is one in the back.
>> I'm sorry for keeping you all waiting in the lunchtime. It's a quick comment and a question related to Mr. Satish which is the factor of cost for global countries. I'm representing this year one of the programmes taken by the Government for the last three years, and eAccessibility is one of the issues to look into. But are there any, and I'm not looking for any miracle here, but are there any good sexy stories, not pilot, but for large scale implementation to see whether there are public/private partnership, to evaluate. So Qatar was asking a question, so that's one part of the spectrum.
The other, where money really matters. How can we implement and then monitor and evaluate the eAccessibility? So that's one of the things that with resources would be great to see. Thanks.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: I'll briefly comment. I know that when I was commissioned to write best practices papers, several of them over several years on global accessibility, ICT, one of the areas of best practice I looked at was public-private partnerships, because I think that is the only way through this.
So I would recommend that you take a look at those best practices papers, as well as the, as a way of beginning that dialogue, so that we can have that public-private discussion.
So, are there any other comments? Should we go to the closing? Okay, I'd like to invite Andrea Saks, who is the Joint Convener on Accessibility and Human Factors, at ITU.
>> Thank you, Cynthia. And thank you, everyone. You all did a terrific job, and our work is still not done.
As we need to help people to learn about what is technically necessary and for them to maintain accessibility features of live meetings and Web access for remote participation. Deca will write guidelines for the next IGF meeting and there will be work done, guidelines for accessible meetings for persons with disability at ITU, in both study group level, and at the joint coordination activity level. That is from Andrea Saks.
>> CYNTHIA WADDELL: That concludes the meeting. Thank you for coming, both those people here, and those who are remotely participating. I'd like to thank the panel of speakers and also, Judy, for being our remote moderator. Thank you.
(session ends at 12:33)