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2015 11 13 WS 253 Empowering the next billion by improving accessibility Workshop Room 6 FINISHED

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in João Pessoa, Brazil, from 10 to 13 November 2015. 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 event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Good morning, everyone. I think we are ready to start. May name is Francesca Bianchi with Institutional Relations, G3ict, which is a global initiative for inclusive technologies. And I've been asked by Andrea Saks, who is the chair of the Dynamic Coalition for Accessibility and Disability, to moderate this session because she has to speak in the main session for Dynamic Coalitions this morning.

Yesterday we presented the output of the Dynamic Coalition on accessibility and disability, which is a document called the Accessibility Guidelines, 2015, and which is an updated version of previous guidelines completed at the IGT to make ‑‑ as a suggestion to make IGF meetings accessible in all parts.

So she brings her regards, and excuses herself, but so I will take over from here.

So I would like to welcome all of you, and welcome our presenters this morning, as well as our remote participants wherever they are in the world. Thank you for being with us this morning.

This is Workshop No. 253. The title is Empowering the Next Billion Users by Removing Barriers to Accessibility.

This session we'll examine the technological and programmatic solutions available today for an effective removal of barriers to Web accessibility and potentially bringing a considerable number of new users to the Internet soon.

An example will be presented in education, in emergency services, assistive technologies for independent living, and a variety of economic environments.

We will also have a little benchmark overview on the progress made by countries around the world that have implemented solutions in ICT accessibility and Web accessibility.

So I would like to greet our speakers.

Carlos Lauria, who is director of government relations with Microsoft Brazil.

Then we have Sunil Abraham, who is executive director of the Center for the Internet and Society in India.

Derrick Cogburn, executive director for the Institute on Disability and Public Policy for the Southeast Asian Nations, American University.

Fernando Botelho is the founder of F123 Consulting, and he comes from Brazil.

And Gunela Astbrink with GSA InfoComm and Internet Australia.

I will introduce the speakers as we go on with the presentations and will give you some information about the presentation in particular and some background information.

I just would like to say very briefly, I was supposed to be one of the speakers, so I had prepared a small presentation, and I just would like to review that with you. And before passing the words to our speakers who are actually experts and very good friends of G3ict, G3ict is with Dynamic Coalition, the co‑organizer of these seminar workshop today.

One moment. I switch to my presentation.

I just want to give you a very brief background on what is G3ict global impact. It was formed in December 2006 at the time of the adoption of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities by the United Nations General Assembly. And the mission of G3ict is to promote the accessibility of Information Communication Technologies as per the convention requirements.

And our approach is really collaborative with society, with government and industry. That's why we rely on a number of experts from all sorts of walks of life.

And we actually contribute to publications. We work with a number of agencies, and I will give a short overview on the policy that we have published both with the UNESCO and ITU. We do some direct work with government as well with benchmark, the convention implementation in terms of ICT accessibility in different countries. We organize once a year a global conference and showcase on mobile accessibility in collaboration with the ITU in Washington D.C. And we bring exhibiters and industry and solutions on mobile accessibility. Next year will be actually June 13 and 14 in Washington. We will be focusing in particular on those cities and Internet of Things and mobile solutions for persons of disabilities.

Then we do a number of other things like daily policy tracking worldwide and we also use online tools and technical reports. And we do some capacity building for organizations of persons with disabilities in different countries.

I just would like to give you some demographic realities, actually. We have 1 billion people living with some form of disability in the world, and also the world population is very much aging, so we need to have the aging‑related specific needs. As we know everything is nowadays run through the Web.

The Web is really an imperative, Web accessibilities imperative because as you know it can remove barriers to communication and interactions that many people face in every day life, healthcare and reaching out that. It's also an equalizer. There is ‑‑ the Web is used not only for receiving information, but also providing information interactive with society. Web accessibility is very important in that aspect.

Web accessibility is a convention obligation, Article 9, per Article 9, in fact, and recognizes a basic human right. And the organization as well if we are looking at the business case for Web accessibility, organization with accessible website benefit from a number of factors. So they demonstrate and reduce the ‑‑ demonstrate good corporate responsibility and help bridging digital divide on the social aspect.

In terms of marketing organization that makes accessible website benefit for example, from a search engine optimization and they improve the traffic on their website, as well as the increased customer satisfaction. Therefore, there is a better usability and customer loyalty as well.

And also organization that with accessible Web sites reduce legal risks because there are some legal implication, of course, of based on compliance and standards.

And finally organization I would say that have accessible Web sites really improve their technical performance. This is between browsers, devices, and so on.

These are a number of issues that we need to consider to make the business case for Web accessibility.

And obviously the Web accessibility benefit a number of different type of disability, physical, hearing, and here I'm listing some. Sight, physical, hearing, cognitive, speech, neurological, learning. People who speak different language or have low bandwidth users, and even older users with age‑related accessibility needs as I was saying before.

And as I said, the areas where Web accessibility is essential is from everywhere in life, from education, employment, entertainment, banking, healthcare, government services, and many more.

So each year at G3ict we publish a report which we're actually starting a new data collection in a few weeks, and this is actually the report that we published in 2013. But we analyze. It's a global survey we conduct in cooperation with disabled people international, and we survey 76 countries which represent the 72 percent of the world population, and 81 percent in this case of the 139 countries which have ratified the convention as of 2013. Now there are 159. So we have actually 20 countries more to survey in a few weeks.

So we have 57 data points per country and we make sure the country commitments in terms of ICT accessibility policies and regulations, the capacity of implement of countries and the actual ICT accessibility outcomes.

And in terms of country commitments, there is a impact that we have analyzed so far.

For example, I just give you some example, but I want to be brief. So I would say that in terms of ICT accessibility, we see some improvement. For example, 85 percent of the countries that we survey have nowadays a institutional article or a law or regulation that define the rights of person with disability. And 69 percent of these countries surveyed have, for example, a focal point in the government for matters related to CRPD and the framework for implementing and monitoring the CRPD. And we have other ‑‑ we found legal foundation for ICT accessibility that continues to improve, and I would say that 50 percent of the countries that we surveyed have a definition of accessibility which includes ICT or electronic media in the country laws and regulation.

However, there is a continual need of ‑‑ for ICT accessibility advocacy which is required globally. In terms of Web accessibility in particular we still see policies are lagging behind in comparison with other media like television. And if you are looking at policy covering specifically ITC products and services like Web sites, countries that don't have policy are 51% compared to 28% for television. So there is still a gap and the bottom line is Web accessibility policy and implementation are severely lagging globally.

So for that reason in our work, we ‑‑ well, I can give you an example. One of the barriers we found to Web accessibility that I want to mention is the language diversity, which is a key challenge to the globalization of solutions in terms of ICT in general and in also for Web accessibility, the availability of localized solution among the surveyed countries. It's 63% mentioned that for example, screen readers are available in the country language only and 13% only mentioned screen readers are available in a country minority language. So there is still a lot of work to do in terms of localization.

And just to finish, I just want to mention a couple of publications that we have done with the ITU and with UNESCO. We publish with UNESCO ICT model policy. And with ICT in particular we published model policy for ICT accessibility which is designed to facilitate implementation of the convention as it applies to different type of media, including mobile TV, public access points, and also Web accessibility. I just wanted to mention that.

And we have modules in the publication and modules are very flexible to allow each country, for example, to adopt dispositions to their specific environments. So all these publications are available on our website at G3ict. And I would ‑‑ with that, I would like to pass the words to our expert and here is my contact information.

And so I think now I would like to introduce some of our speakers here.

So I would like to start and continue this conversation with Carlos Lauria who is director of government relations of Microsoft Brazil. And Mr. Lauria is a Brazilian telecommunications engineer with a postgraduate in assistance and regulation of Telecom services and has more than 30 year experience in IT and Telecom market and he has worked as a Telecom operator to Anatel which is the Brazilian Telecom marketer and now to Microsoft where he's the corporate affairs director and responsible for accessibility issues on devices, software, and services.

And Carlos will review some of the key associate benefits of administering web accessibility across ICT platform and the most recent development in the field of public procurement which constitutes a unique opportunity to accelerate global accessibility and lower costs.

Please, Carlos, you have about seven, ten minutes.

>> CARLOS LAURIA: Thanks for the introduction.

And good morning, everybody.

First of all, I would like to show you the broad meaning that accessibility has to Microsoft.

Every one of us in a way has problems with accessibility at least in part of the day. For example, if I start speaking Chinese here, maybe nobody else would understand and that is a disability for everybody that's not understanding. So we are not talking about just for physical or mental or any other disability but also for learning and even cultural differences.

Microsoft has ‑‑ as you know, works on 109 countries. So we have to localize our products and we have to serve our customers in the best way.

And we believe that giving technology to our customers and organizations we will empower everybody and give them a way to reach their living and then that will be a contribution for the human kind, not only for, of course, companies have to make money, but we have more than that in our intentions.

So we have a global and diverse cultural for our products and services. Our aim is to have those products and services available for anyone maybe with age or disability problems, but everyone has to have access to our products.

As I said, we believe that our disabilities may be different. Maybe our languages or sometimes you are walking under the bright sun and you try to look at your cell phone and you cannot see it because of the bright light on it. So every one of us has a potential to have a disability throughout part of the day. And we estimate that the classical way to define a disability, it's present on 15 percent of the people. But our technologies are aimed to benefit the other 85 percent as well.

I would like to show you, as you see I don't have a presentation. I have two videos to show you. I would like to show you the first video. We may have heard about our brand‑new products. It's called ‑‑ everybody here knows about Skype, but we have a product called Skype Translator. Skype Translator is something that looks like a science fiction movie, but you can have a realtime translation during a call, a video or audio call. The translation is automatic and it can work for ‑‑ on text in Skype or in talking.

I show you first a video where a Microsoft employee who is deaf and he realized that he can use the Skype Translator to benefit people with hearing disabilities. And I show the video. Unfortunately it's not captioned, but if someone could not understand because of the lack of captions, talk later and I can try to provide you with a captioned video.

So, please, could you press the video one, please?

(music playing)

>> Last fall he came to my office for translator. With Skype Translator because it produces transcripts he could actually read the response back from someone. So he sat down and talked about it. There were some pieces missing in Skype Translator. So we needed to do something to make it more appropriate for that scenario.

>> It doesn't replace an ASL interpreter.

>> The realization that it was a big impact on his personal life.

>> I could call my wife. Relay services to initiate the call.

>> So I was sitting back thinking about this and looking at it and realizing the impact that this could have for me, for people here at Microsoft, and for our customers. For people with deafness, with hard of hearing all over the world, technology has that power. It can empower people to do things and make things easier. It's available now. Download it. Give it a try, and help us to make this a better and better product.

(music playing)

>> CARLOS LAURIA: As you can see, this is how to use a technology that was developed with one intention, to help with another intention and to help people with disabilities.

One of the problems with captioning this video is, you know, my colleague that's deaf, the way he speaks is different from the user way than the automatic translations.

This is just a very small part for what Microsoft does for disability access problems people may have. And of course many companies have solutions as well, some are partners, some are competitors, but in this area everybody's working together to help people.

So one of the key points for the development of those tools, the key tool is government procurement. When governments include accessibility on their procurement of processes, this will expand the market for the companies that are developing these solutions. And as you may know, at least part of these solutions are very specific, and if you don't have markets to dilute the costs, that product will never happen.

So what we defend is that the government should include accessibility tools in the procurement.

We have help with many governments to do that by Microsoft or by supporting G3ict and other bodies that are developing regulations for that.

And these technologies will have a lower cost so that will benefit the consumers, benefit the industry, benefit the government itself because the inclusion, just the inclusion is something that helps everybody. There's no doubt about that.

So there are examples in the words, like U.S. and European Union where they are including obligations for accessibility in their procurement processes, like the procurement directives from the European Union sat down in 2014. Central governments and universities, private sector organizations.

The European telecommunications use supports these policies and developed some accessibility requirements for procurements and it's called EN 301 549.

And this is a reference for European countries but also for all the other countries doesn't have specific rules for them. This is the most updated accessibility standard available. So we at Microsoft defend that should be an international standard for the whole world so you know when we have a standard that applies for the whole world that we will increase the effectiveness of the solutions. We don't have to manufacture or produce something for one country. You can produce once and use anywhere.

>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Carlos, so sorry to interrupt. You have a few minutes.

>> CARLOS LAURIA: I'm just finishing just a couple of bullets and the second short video.

So we understand that the accessibility should be treated independently for something that government will buy, if it's something free or something developed by the government, all the projects and services should align with accessibility issues.

And we believe that if the governments have just one aid in monitor assist and aid in the government that would be better that would be better, you just have one central organization to do that. This organization have to have trained officials to analyze and develop the procurements procedures.

And the governments could also collaborate in the industry and accept declarations of conformance because if you include something that have to test their products to see if it's complying or not with the regulations that will increase the costs and to be more complicated for procedure. And we understand that the standards should be international standard.

Besides that, as I told you, we are not talking only about accessibility solutions for deaf, blind, or any other disabled people, but we have solutions to include people in other ways. So this is the second video, and it relates to education.

Could you please? The second video.

(music playing)

>> Yes. Do you live in central Mexico.

>> Si (No English interpretation).

>> We are very close to Seattle.

Are you in Mexico City?

>> Si (No English interpretation).

>> Very good guess.

>> Gracias.

>> Thank you.

>> Do you like living in Mexico City?

>> (No English interpretation).

>> I'm going to the beach in Mexico.

>> (No English interpretation).

>> Me too.

>> Where in the world do you wish to travel?

>> (No English interpretation).

>> To Russia.

>> (No English interpretation).

>> It would be amazing to see you some day in Mexico.

>> I would really like to visit you.

>> (No English interpretation).

>> Me too.

>> CARLOS LAURIA: Wow, this is amazing and you should have seen that on science fiction movies and like a Star Trek and you just speak with everybody whether or not you know the language or not. But this is real. This is working, and I invite you to try it. It's amazing.

And you see the last video, you don't see any people with disability. Like people used to classify. Disability there was just simple, different languages. So this is something that we believe that can be sold not only classical definitions, think outside of the box.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much Carlos, and I would like to pass to the next speaker who will give us another scenario and Sunil, executive director for the Internet Society in India will discuss inclusive disaster management and will speak about a joint report of ITU and the Center for Internet Society which has examined in detail the role that traditional Indian forms of ICT can be used for making disaster management cycle for inclusive.

So please.

>> SUNIL ABRAHAM: Thank you so much. Just a correction before I start. I'm not an expert on accessibility. The real expert on my team is Dr. Narasimhan. Unfortunately she couldn't be here with us and I'm what you might call a very poor substitute.

The research report that you are referring to that you have also credited the collaborators in your introduction with is action guide titled inclusive disaster management for groups, and the action guide goes into other groups, not just for disabled persons but for this presentation I will focus on disabled persons.

Roger with the G3ict and also Labaw, I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly. It covers all sorts of disasters and emergency situations, natural environmental disasters, technological and human induced disasters, manmade security‑related disasters, and emergencies situations in crowds and panics. It also does a little bit of coverage of personal emergencies and talks about both stages of emergencies. The pre‑event stage and post‑event stage. In the pre‑event stage it discusses prevention, mitigation risk reduction, decrease severity and impact on population, and finally preparedness. In the post event stage it discusses response and relief operation, reconstruction and rebuilding, rehabilitation and capacity building.

I'll now briefly cover some of the barriers faced by persons with disability when it comes to disasters. I'll first go over sensory disability, and beginning with visual disability, either total or partial, and the barriers of reading print warnings, evacuation and other instructions, and documents on emergency preparedness, relief, and other information.

The second is not being able to receive emergency warnings, updates, and other critical information that is provided only in a text format or on television.

And the third challenge, this is not a comprehensive list but an indicative list is navigating new surroundings in shelters and temporary housing.

The second group is persons with total deafness or hearing disability, and hearing warnings, weather information, and being able to follow evacuation instructions and guidelines or updates on radio, television, especially if there is no captioning or sign language interpretation.

And the final which this group shares with those with speech impairment is communicating with first responders, emergency management personnel, and providers involved in relief operations.

I'll move on now to physical disability and the barriers here are the loss of essential assistive devices, such as wheelchair or durable medical equipment during a rapid response and evacuation situation, the lack of transportation for evacuation, evacuation from high buildings when elevators stop working, being unable to enter or use shelters or temporary housing, including challenges with restrooms and toilets due to accessibility barriers. And being able to access welfare, commuting between other places, such as the home, I'd camp due to debris in the road.

Here the barriers are difficulty in understanding, remembering or following instructions. The second challenge is they may not remember contact information for emergency ‑‑ during an emergency, especially information about their family members.

The last group is those with psychosocial disability. And the barriers here are the inability to react and make appropriate decisions, the inability to follow instructions, the need for screening and counseling, especially when the disaster causes onset of psychosocial disabilities, lack of awareness, empathy about the needs of persons with psychosocial disabilities on the part of those responding, and the disruption of established relationships with care providers.

There are two case studies that I will go into before I go through a more generic list. The first case study is the evacuation training manual for persons with psychosocial disability. The Daisy consortium is the organization that is behind the Daisy format. Key accessibility format for those who have visual impairment. In collaboration with the national rehabilitation center for persons with disability research institute. This is NRCD in Japan.

And also autism researchers in the United States.

They have developed an accessible ICT‑based evacuation training manual, and they've used a very interesting format. They have used comics and a whole character set developed by Mr. Takashi Unasi, and they have human voices and text highlights, and it demonstrates evacuation routes with details of rooms, stairs, doors, roads, and landmarks, and this manual has been successfully tested with persons with psychosocial disability, followed by evacuation drills so participants in the training were able to implement what they have learned, and that is one successful example of how the special needs could be addressed.

And the second case study, there's a whole range of case studies and I'm only doing two, is apps used to transcend access barriers. And this is the United Nations development program in Kazakhstan that has developed a new app that can be used by persons with hearing disabilities. The app has a registry of persons with disabilities that includes their contact information and other relevant information. And when the person needs assistance, they press the SOS button on the app that highlights their location and details for emergency authorities.

Do I have anymore time or am I completely out of time?

>> MODERATOR: You have three or four minutes.

>> SUNIL ABRAHAM: So the measures that we need to focus on is one given that ICT's becoming so pervasive, the lack of compliance of existing ICT infrastructure with well‑established accessibility standards is a huge challenge. It's been seven years since my organization has been working in this area, and even today when we audit government Web sites, we are still really disappointed with the really slow progress that is made in complying with well‑established accessibility standards, and this, as you know, interferes with preparedness.

The second is having policymakers appreciate the special needs is that regular populations have, and it comes to ICT policy. And for them to develop a social and technological policies and laws and regulations. And here I will add perhaps a personal note. While we do have a national electronic accessible policy in India, the policy has no teeth. Nobody pays the price for noncompliance with the policy and therefore we have very poor compliance. Another option also is perhaps to provide some incentives, not just punitive measures.

Not only do we have to work on developing new policies, we also have to review and adapt existing telecommunication broadcasting and ICT regulations and legislation to address accessibility. People have already discussed the Web content Accessibility Guidelines. We need greater adherence to this.

For other infrastructures such as Internet cafes, pay phone booths, kiosks and ATMs, a strategy that includes licensing terms, guidelines and checklists could be used to promote accessibility even in the private sector.

And finally, given that mobile apps are getting more and more important, it is important for us to measure and understand the lack of accessibility on the app ecosystem and address that urgently.

Thank you so much.

>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Thank you so much for this comprehensive overview.

And I would like now to give the floor to Derrick Cogburn who is an associate professor of international relations in the international communication program at the American University School of International Service. He also serves as executive director of the Institute on Disability in Public Policy.

And I just want to mention that Derrick has been involved in Internet government since 1998 and has participated in nearly to all the preparatory process for both phases of the world summit on the information society and nearly all AIGS since the initial meeting.

Thank you. The floor is yours.

>> DERRICK COGBURN: Thank you very much.

I'm really delighted to be here. For me this is a real milestone to see so much attention being paid to accessibility here at IGF. I'm so happy to see so many people here in the room and so many people participating remotely. So I'm just delighted that we have made so much progress. And thanks to all of you that have been a part of that through the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability and all of you.

So as Francesca said, I'm executive director of the Institute on Disability and Public Policy, and I really want to talk about the work that we've done over the last seven years in promoting accessibility and accessible cyber learning in Southeast Asia and how these technologies with a focus on accessibility from the beginning really enable the empowerment of the next billion, really enable people with disabilities to be able to participate actively in education, and as you'll see in our work in master degree processes, master degree education.

So IDPP prepares transformative disability policy leaders. So just a quick snapshot of what we do. We focus on master's degree education for persons with disabilities and serve as a collaborative think tank policy on for the ASEAN Region. We do this through what we see as an unparalleled network through 20 universities and partners, one of which we're delighted to count as a partner is G3ict.

We do this in response to a very crowded policy environment. The World Bank, World Health Organization report that tells us there's a billion people living in the world with some form of disability, the strategy report as well as the strategies in Southeast Asia. So that's what we are responding to, as well as the tremendous number of persons in southeast Asia with disability, with estimates being about 16 percent of the population of southeast Asia living with some form of disability.

So I want to do three things with my time this morning. I want to talk a little bit about this global policy framework, and this sets the context for our work. Because with IDPP, we're trying to prepare persons with disabilities to be able to engage in that policy framework. To be able to advocate and put pressure on that environment. And then I'll close by talking a little bit by talking about what we're doing in Southeast Asia going forward by embedding these structures in Southeast Asia and now we're starting to look at other opportunities around the world.

So first, the first part of the context is the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which really sets the context for all of the work that many of us are doing around the world for persons with disabilities. Just one update to what Francesca said, there are now 160 countries that have signed the CRPD and 159 countries that have ratified. The UN says it's 160 countries that have ratified but that's not true because my country has signed the CRDP and not yet ratified it and it's very disturbing to me that that's still the case.

A comprehensive treaty. Within the CRPD many things people here are interested in you will be able to find, such as women with disabilities, children with disabilities, access to justice, freedom of expression and opinion, work and employment, participation in political and public life. So the convention is designed to level the playing field for persons with disabilities.

Some of these articles are perhaps more important than others for us in the work that we do. So Article 8 focuses on awareness raising. So countries that have signed and ratified the convention have committed themselves to raising awareness about persons with disabilities.

Article 9 focuses on accessibility, both physical accessibility, being able to get into and out of buildings and government facilities, but also electronic accessibility. So governments have committed themselves to accessible Web sites and information.

Article 24 focuses on education and ensuring that there's a lifelong accessible education system for persons with disabilities.

So coming out of the negotiation of the convention was the phrase nothing about us without us. Which means that any disability‑related discussions, development should be done with persons with disabilities at the table and ensuring that they are physically there to participate in the process, not just because it's a nice thing to do, but because they have experience and expertise that should inform the development and implementation of these policies.

Also at a global level, we now have the sustainable development goals, the SDGs that replace the millennium development goals and now we're pleased that there are about eleven different references to persons with disabilities in the SDGs that were adopted just in September.

Also, for the Asia‑Pacific region, we have the strategy to make the right reel for persons with disabilities in the Asia‑Pacific. The Incheon strategy has ten goals focused on how do we implement the CRPD and enhance the life of persons with disabilities in Southeast Asia. All ten countries in ASEAN have signed the CRPD and nine out of ten, Brunei is the last country that needs to ratify in the region.

That policy environment is extremely complex. If we think about this add age of nothing without how do we ensure people with disabilities in Southeast Asia are able to understand this complex, global, regional and national policy environment and be able to implement and monitor the implementation of this environment. And that was the dream that we had in the formation of the IDPP.

The foundation of Japan realized there was a role that information communication technologies could play and ensuring the development for persons with disabilities. We were able to launch IDPP in April 2011 at Mahidol University.

The National University of Singapore and Mahidol University. The Rochester Institute of Technology and American University serving as the secretariate for IDTT. We had two outreach partners, the Asia center on disability based in Bangkok and national center for impairment. IDPP was formed as a network model and we were based on the model of PEN international which was the Postsecondary Education Network, which focused on identifying best practices in deaf education around the world. They had one university in each of their PEN countries that served to organize activities in that country. With IDPP our goal is to have at least one university in each of the ten countries of ASEAN, and those universities working within a network but also within their country.

IDPP has four key objectives. The first is to develop master's degrees in disability and public policy, to focus on more open education, such as continuing education, programs and capacity building, and also to focus on outreach and awareness raising.

Finally to serve as a collaborative think tank on disability policies and be able to develop and monitor the implementation of disability policy.

To do this we have developed an accessible cyber infrastructure built on some commercial tools and some open sourced tools. Our virtual classroom is based on blackboard collaborate, which is one of the most accessible Web conferencing platforms on the market. Blackboard acquired illuminate and WMBA and absorbed the task force that I was honored to serve on and to focus on integrating these two platforms in the most accessible way possible. We used blackboard learn for our master's learning management system and we used Moodle for our open courses learning management system and we used Skype, Microsoft, for our virtual office hours.

Blackboard Collaborate allows us to be able to have realtime courses around the world. We are able to have integrated closed captioning and sign language interpretation in the Web conferencing tools. It also has mobile applications. So people who are using mobile devices are also able to participate in all of our classes and open courses from around the world.

Our alumni have done amazing things. So the first part of our program focused on a completely online master's degree at American University called a master's of comparative in international disability policy. It was the first fully online master's degree at American University. Now we have several online programs and our current focus has been the focus on the master's degree programs of our partners.

We also have annual meetings. So we've had five annual meetings first in ‑‑ the first three in Bangkok in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2014 we moved to Malaysia and just finished our fifth annual meeting in Cyberjaya Malaysia hosted by Media University.

To close I will just talk about where we are now and going forward.

The goal for us to embed what we're doing within the regional structures in Southeast Asia. We're working with the Association of Southeast Asian University Network, or AUN, ASEAN University Network. There are over 3,000 colleges in ASEAN, these are 30 hand‑selected universities. It has a series of networks and we've gotten the board of trustees to agree to a new network of disability and public policy. What we as IDPP are doing is providing fellowships for up to 15 students per year who are either blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or mobility impaired to be able to attend these master's degree programs in Southeast Asia.

So I look forward to any questions or comments that you may have. As I mentioned, this global policy environment is a complex one, and our students are learning how to develop and formulate and implement these public policies so they can sit at the table and develop public policies for themselves and look forward to our questions and our comments.

>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Thank you very much, Derrick.

Now I would like to give the floor to Fernando and he will speak about accessibility.

He leads the F123 initiative which provides Web accessibility software and consulting services to foundations and organizations helping the blind around the world.

The floor is yours.


Hello everyone. Good morning.

So what I want to talk about is a little bit about a strategy with developing and testing to improve Web accessibility. Not just improve it, but scale it up.

So what's the current situation? As some of the speakers have mentioned, there is certainly progress. We have observed progress in the last 10, 15 years. However, there's a long way to go. And there's a significant amount of frustration with governments, the speed at which governments have implemented their policies, the speed at which the private sector and even nonprofits have implemented ‑‑ have improved or not the accessibility of their online resources.

Now, I want to make it clear that even though I'm going to talk about a complementary strategy to making the world a more accessible place, I am very much in support and have been part of the process of activism and legislation, which is so essential for us to really have medium and long‑term progress in this area.

Now, the problem with legislation and activism is that these are inherently a slow process, not so much slow for us human beings, but slow relative to the speed at which technology changes.

It is also slow, incredibly slow, if you are someone with a disability and you want a job today or you want to get an education today.

The process of a company improve the Web site traditionally has not been a terribly fast process.


Basically you have to first go in and make the sale.

So accessibility consultants of which I am one of them so I know well the process, or activists or just a wide variety of people have to somehow convince a corporation of the ethical, legal, and moral obligations that they may have, and the profits potential that exists when you serve persons with disabilities.

Now, this selling process can take months.

Then you have the situation where internally if the company decides to go ahead and make their services and content available, or accessible, this there is a process of identifying the budget that is going to fund this change and the internal processes.

Then you have the training that has to take place and the orientation and, if you're lucky, there will be an integration of these sort of quality control so that next time there is a design update or a new campaign on the website, all those improvements in accessibility are not going to be written over or forgotten or destroyed by the new changes.

So whenever you do accessibility, you have to make sure that it's not just the current team that learns about Web accessibility, but you have to make sure that the processes that exist inside the corporation, they take into account accessibility, just like they take into account the correct spelling of the language, the correct colors being used, the correct message being given.

And finally in addition to the long time and consequently expense, you also have a concentration where you have a single point of failure. Those of you who enjoy talking about strategy you don't want to have a single point of failure.

What do I mean by that? What I mean is you depend entirely on the Goodwill, wisdom, or market savvy of that organization that owns the content and is producing the service or the online material. If they decide to be wise, yes, you are lucky. If they don't, that's the end of that. So you really ‑‑ whenever you want to scale up a social change, you don't want to depend on any single point of failure. You want to have a backup line. That in essence is what I want to talk you to today.

Let's all have a backup line.

The blind members of the audience, either here or remotely, are going to recognize the name Web vision. They may also recognize other forms of crowdsourced accessibility. And what is that?

Basically, you have two options. Usually people think only about the server side, making the accessibility corrections on the computer, on the Web page where the information lies.

Now, the other option is to make those accessibility corrections on the client side, on the browser of the end user. So web vision was a pioneer in this respect. It's unfortunately now a little bit ‑‑ it has not been maintained. It's not doing so well.

There are other efforts out there. There was a thesis of a student recently where she was promoting a crowdsourced strategy to label images on Web sites, volunteers being the ones doing the labeling.

There is also F123 access, and just in terms of full disclosure as Francesca mentioned earlier, I'm responsible for F123 Consulting. And what we are trying to do is to bring the best ideas that are no longer being maintained, such as the Web vision initiative, some of these other student‑led initiatives that often do not last a year or two after graduation, and make them into something sustainable and scale it up.

So what's the essence of the project?

As you all know, just about everybody here probably already knows about the issue of labeling images, labeling buttons, for those who are blind, if you do not have the label on the HTML code, you're just going to hear the word "image" or hear the word "button" and not going to be able to use the system. We have been talking to a bunch of people and there are many situations where somebody blind does not get a job because 90 percent of the page is accessible but then there are two or three crucial buttons on the screen that are not labeled.

This situation repeats itself in education and in many other areas.

Now, if you are able to make those corrections on the client side, in other words, you're making accessibility corrections on the browser of the blind or person with disability that is trying to access the content, it means that, first of all, you do not depend on the publisher of that information. So you don't have the single point of failure.

Secondly, for the funding you also do not depend on that single point of failure.

And thirdly, because you're not facing a very lengthy bureaucratic commercial process of selling and training and implementing changes, you are not going to have to wait for a year or more to get the changes done.

Now, I'm not talking about some nice, fancy, interesting fantasy that might be implemented if we all join together and incorporate. Yes, I want us all to join together and incorporate, but this is already working. So the corporation for scaling is not to make it happen. Let me give you an example.

First an example of what happens today and then an example what we have implemented, referring to free access.

Facebook, one of the most important locations on the Internet today started ‑‑ I believe it was earlier this year, early 2015, late 2014, they started with a very interesting, very positive effort to make their online service accessible. That is wonderful. I welcome that and I praise that, except I wish that could have happened about ten years ago or so when Facebook got started.

Now, this is not a criticism per se, or maybe it is a little bit of a criticism, but the point I want to raise is that a traditional excuse is being used that companies are not doing accessibility because of lack of time or lack of expertise or lack of funds. This is usually used not only by companies of all sizes really. Those are not applicable. Facebook is not ten years late in its concern of accessibility because they don't have smart people in there or because they don't have funds to take care of this issue.

>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Sorry to interrupt. You have maybe one to two minutes.

>> Wonderful.

This is not their main focus to worry about accessibility. When you move that responsibility to the client side, at least the side of the process that concerns itself with implementation of the corrections, then we are talking about a much faster process. When we started to access, we said let's choose a page that a very large number of people use or wants to use and make it accessible. We decided to make what's App. They have an online Webpage that allows you to access that service instead of using your cell phone. In less than one week we made it fully accessible for blind people.

Just to conclude, we are available for partnerships, we are interested in implementing these at a policy level, because I think fines can be a way of funding initiatives such as F123 access to make corrections on the client side. So that requires government initiative. But we are also interested in private sector partnerships to scale this up.

If anybody wants to get in touch with me, pleas write to F123 access at

Thank you very much.


And now we are giving the floor to last but not least, to Gunela, from GCA InfoComm Internet Australia. Gunela will be speaking with people with disability challenges in the Pacific. She is from the Oceania region.

>> GUNELA ASTBRINK: Thank you very much.

So I listen with interest to all of these presentations, and I can identify with a number of issues that I've worked with, certainly with public procurement and Fernando's discussion about advocacy and the challenges with that, and certainly today I'll be talking about meeting the accessibility challenges for people with disability in the Pacific.

And this map is a map of Pacific Island areas. It's a very vast area. We're talking about 20 different countries. There's Australia right on the bottom left‑hand corner, there's Papua New Guinea and then some other 20 countries for the people who can't see the map is Paola, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Kirivas, and extends to a very large area of Pacific Ocean. New Kaladonya Fiji and so it goes on.

There are a large number of these small Pacific Island countries, small populations, and if we look at some of these challenges, the geography, for example, Kirivas is probably fairly well‑known as potentially being one of the first countries that might disappear through global warming. There a lot of challenges to population size, a number of countries might only have 10,000 in population and that's Tuvalu, for example. Papua New Guinea is the largest with 7 million people but living in some very remote mountainous areas.

Demographics, mainly rural, subsistence farming, expensive access to the Internet. More countries now are getting submarine cables. Some are available through satellite. Again, very expensive options. And there's huge lack of assistive technology for people with disability, and lack of awareness as well.

So let's move from some of these challenges to finding how policy can drive these changes.

So currently there's no Pacific‑wide policy for people with disability. There's no evidence base and there are limited resources.

However, a number of Pacific Island countries have signed and ratified the UN convention on the rights of persons with disability.

When you go to any disability session, there's always talk about the CRPD. It's a foundation stone for all the work we do.

There was a need expressed through the Pacific Islands chapter of the Internet Society. I'm a member of a Pacific Island chapter and a director of the Australian chapter. And have been invited over the eight our nine years to present about disability and accessibility. People always came up from me both from government and NGO saying we need to do something. There is such a gap here.

I should also point out that a very effective umbrella organization doing policy work for the forum, and they are a really great ally in the current work.

So the current work is a pilot project to move forward.

This has been auspiced by ITUD, the development arm of the International Telecommunications Union and specifically with support from Australian government. The pilot project is in Vanuatu and the reason for having that there is that Vanuatu has signed and ratified the CRPD. It has a strong government focus with universal access policy, stating, for example, that over 90 percent of the population by 2018 should have access to broadband. That doesn't necessarily mean to people's homes. That could be to schools, health facilities, early childhood centers and so forth. Vanuatu has a comprehensive regulatory system and so there are two mobile providers, there's satellite providers and so forth. And that regulatory process has a number of various programs, including consumer champions around the many islands in Vanautu. We're talking about a couple thousand kilometers of islands, about 60 islands are inhabited in Vanautu. The uptake of mobile telephony has been tremendous. Maybe 80 percent of the population has been have a mobile phone and various submarine cable providing broadband. And the project has a number of partners and that includes the government regularity.

The project objectives are to promote accessibility in the Pacific but starting with Vanautu as a case study. And obviously to build both organizational and human capacity for the ICT accessibility.

And very importantly we need to establish baseline data of ICT usage for persons with disabilities. If we don't have the data and we saw that in the Incheon is that the importance of having data, if we don't have that it's very difficult to develop policy.

So once we have done that we are looking at Pacific appropriate disability awareness to our kits. It's so important to have training that is done in a way that is relevant for people in the Pacific.

And this training is for both policy makers and communities and the public at large working with governments to find solutions for Internet accessibility, and we're starting that work now, training for people with disability to use ICT, to understand about cybersecurity, safety, privacy, as well as being able to access the various technologies.

And we're looking at a model of project implementation that can be replicated in other Pacific Island countries in future. We're already learning a huge amount as we go forward.

So the first thing is the survey of ICT usage and here we're working closely with Vanautu disability organization called the Vanautu disability and advocacy promotion organization, association, and the Pacific disability forum is a key partner working as well with us.

The survey design is to international loans using terminology that can be used as a comparison factor. But we need language, again, that is relevant for Vanautu. And the survey has been translated into Bislama, which is the language everyone speaks. It's actually trilingual because Vanautu in colony times was both administered by Great Britain and France. So we have a language issue to deal with as well.

We field tested the survey with disability organizations and it's been revised accordingly.

Now, we can't do this survey online saying please fill it out or send it out because people might have ‑‑ literacy levels. We have to do personal interviews. We're using Peace Corps volunteers, we're using volunteers from the disability organization. That's a challenge with that as well.

The other thing that we're working on is Web accessibility. Here's a page showing the ministry of justice and community services and looking at the accessibility of that page and readability too. We're looking at checking the accessibility for 27 government Web sites and also doing some manual testing of that. And obviously that is based on the Web content Accessibility Guidelines motion too.

So the policy analysis is really the third part of this, and that's looking at the existing policy regulation and legislation, looking at disability policy, ICT policy, and where there are intersections. Now, I know that there are very, very few intersections, and that's what we need to work on. So that's for disability inclusive policy and implementation that we hope would happen in future.

And this will lay the foundation, all of this work, for extension into other Pacific Island countries. There's obviously a lot to be done and that's what we're working on.

So thank you very much.

>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Now I would like to open the floor to any question you may have.

And we do have about five minutes, but we may want to get ‑‑ if there are questions from our remote participants, and I would like to thank Flavio for being the moderator on that.

No questions there.

So do we have questions here instead on site? Yes, we do have a couple of questions.

So please go ahead and introduce yourself, please, for the captioners.

Thank you.

>> GINGER POCK: Thank you very much. I'm Ginger Pock from Diplo Foundation, and I'm a very strong ally of your work and I thank you all for your presentations.

My focus is on the alliance that we have with remote participation tools because there's so much overlap and your work has done so much good for remote participation.

On that note, remote participation is very important for the IGF and I would ask both Derrick and ‑‑ I'm going to pronounce your name wrong. So I'll say Microsoft. If you could explain ‑‑ if you need to give the short answer here and let me know how I can ‑‑ we can continue to contact and find out more, I understand time is short, but how can we ‑‑ is there an application for your tools for large meeting online participation, such as the IDF that would improve accessibility for both remote participants in general and persons with disabilities?

>> DERRICK COGBURN: That is a great question, Ginger. Thank you very much.

Yes, so the tools that we use are ‑‑ that would be appropriate are commercial tools. So they're not open source. They would require a license, but we would also be able to pilot some things. But we've used some of these tools as you know in previous years, both through WSIS and into the early part of the IGF. The tools that we use are ‑‑ the license, for example, that we have, you know, we could have hundreds and hundreds of participants. So there wouldn't be any problem. It's a competitor to WebEx, which is what's provided, because Cisco has donated that technology to the IGF, but this is a perfectly appropriate technology for exactly the way it's been implemented here, with the exception that collaborate has a tremendous focus on accessibility. And so the level of accessibility features that are built into collaborate would overwhelm you. So closed captioning integrated into the process, being able to put your screen reader into the activity window so that you know everything that's coming up, as every slide gets loaded, it gets OCR'd so that the optical character recognition will read each slide. I'd be happy to talk you to about that.

>> CARLOS LAURIA: Thanks for the question, and Microsoft has ‑‑ everybody knows Skype but doesn't know Skype for business, that used to be known as Lync. Now for remote participation for meetings and we have inside the Windows operation system we have accessibility tools, like text reading and change to high contrast for people with vision disabilities, et cetera.

So these are tools that are used in big corporations. Inside Microsoft they're used a lot and we have more than 100,000 employees. So these are very accessible tools that are included on the pack. And the accessibility solutions are embedded on the Windows. So not only for computers but the Windows on tablets and then Windows phone as well.

>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Thank you, Carlos. We have one more minute for one question here.

Please introduce yourself.

>> GARY FOWLIE: Thank you very much. I'm Gary Fowlie. I'm heard of the ITA office to the UN.

The comment on a question I have. The comment is I know there are good references to persons of disabilities in the SDGs, there are also good references to ICT in the preamble, the potential of ICTs for human progress, but there is no one target that ties the two together. So I was just thinking while you were talking that the one target that may be the most appropriate is 9C, which calls for universal and affordable access to ICTs, folks in least developed countries but still affordable access to the Internet, I'm sorry. Perhaps we need to do a bit of advocacy to have that universal affordable and accessible access to the Internet. You know, that wasn't part of our strategy, but it should have been thinking now, and maybe we could find a way to rally around that one. So that's the comment.

The question goes to Microsoft. This is based on personal experience really. I'm married to a woman who is visually impaired and is also a computer scientist, which is good because I'm an economist, so comes in handy, but she is increasingly dependent on voice recognition but finds the systems ‑‑ you know, there's some that are better accuracy but slow, some are slower but worse ‑‑ you know, better accuracy. There's just such a variety of quality experiences with this, yet it seems to me that ‑‑ or has there been any consideration by the industry, Microsoft and others, you know, get in a room ‑‑ I'm thinking from my IT perspective here ‑‑ come up with some standards, agree a way to coordinate this because it's a market that you all can benefit from, to be quite frank about it, and yet there's no consistency, there's no ‑‑ at least there doesn't seem to be. I'm not a user. So I would like to hear your comment on that. How could we sort of rally the forces within industry to take your hats off, come up with a way to make voice recognition better you and all would benefit. So I guess that's the question.

>> CARLOS LAURIA: That's a very interesting question. Today there's a shift in developing solutions, and if you look at the Skype Translator that I showed you, now you are not depending on local processor in the cell phone or computer to do that. That solution, Skype Translator, for example, it runs on the cloud. Microsoft has a product called Azure that most people use but not knowing. It's like a personal system for the cloud. Like a Windows on the cloud. And the Skype translation, for example, it learns when you talk. Not only you, but every user using, it learns how to translate to recognize text. And then it stores that on the cloud and uses it to be better. So the more people use Skype translator, the better it will behave. So I think this is a solution because in the cloud you have big machines to process that instead of relying on the local process, when people may be using a computer or any kind of machine that is lower.

I think it's a good question. I'm available if you ‑‑ I know we have no more time but we can talk after that. But just to tell you that this process in the cloud, there's a key solution to solve that instead of relying on local process.

And thanks for the questions.

>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Thank you, Carlos.

And Gunela wants to add something.

>> GUNELA ASTBRINK: Talking about the cloud, there is a program called the GPII, which is Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure, and the plan is that if a person has a disability and they're moving from one place to another, they might want to go to a public library and access some material, then they can put in their particular requirements, and it is already registered in the cloud so the computer then provides the particular resources needed if it's magnification or whatever it might be, it's already in the cloud. That might be something worth looking into as well.

Thank you.


And I think we would basically conclude our presentation. It's really a pleasure to have you all here. I hope this was informational and we discussed several technological and problematic solutions, and let's keep up the good work to remove barriers to Web accessibility.

Thank you very much to all of you.


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