IGF 2021 – Day 4 – WS #33 Empowering Persons with Disabilities - Accessible Technology

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. 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, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> We all live in a digital world.  We all need it to be open and safe.  We all want to trust.

   >> And to be trusted. 

   >> We all despise control.

   >> And desire freedom.

   >> We are all united. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Hello, everyone.  This is Brian Scarpelli, the Moderator for this session.  If folks could just bear with me, we're having a couple of technical difficulties with getting people on, panelists on.  So please bear with us for one or two minutes.  Thanks. 

   >> THOMAS SCHWARZ:  You are muted. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Thank you so much.  Hi everyone.  Welcome.  Welcome and apologies for the slight delay here.  We've had some slight difficulties, technical difficulties getting going here.  But here we are.  And all the panelists are now here.  Thank you all very much for joining, for joining this session.  This is session 33, Empowering Persons with Disabilities, Accessible Technology. 

Again my name is Brian Scarpelli.  Very briefly about myself.  I will do a little bit of frame setting.  And we can jump in.  I am in senior policy.  ACT is an advocacy organization for small businesses in the software development and technology development segment of industry widely, across enterprise and consumer contexts.  Huge priority for our community is in advancing accessibility and advancing the idea of accessibility by design.  You can probably imagine how excited I and my organization are to be part of an IGF session that addresses ICT and accessibility.  And I think we have some great, some great speakers here that will ‑‑ that will turn ‑‑ that I will turn it over to in just a second and we can get started. 

But the goal of our session is to explore innovative uses of ICTs for the empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.  We'd like to talk about the possible of today, enhancing awareness of what is possible as well as what's coming down the pipeline.  And we hope that this discussion will inspire the IGF community to further action and cross‑sector collaboration that's needed to realize the potential of ICTs in continuing to improve accessibility. 

    Of course, we should probably touch on some timely developments that the pandemic's influence on ICT developments and usership I think is an interesting aspect to talk about.  But I think we're supposed to mention our expected outcomes.  They are to understand how universal design principles for accessibility can be advanced across the internet to improve the experience of those with disabilities. 

    Second, to capture and understand the uses of ICTs enabled by the Internet that are today empowering Persons with Disabilities as well as what's coming down the pipeline. 

    Also learning about what the IGF community can do to further to advance action and cross‑sectorial collaboration, realizing the potential of ICTs to improve the experiences of those with disabilities, and fourth to appreciate the diverse perspectives regarding priorities and/or changes needed from an Internet Governance policy standpoint and to take action to address needed changes. 

    I think, you know, just ‑‑ I have probably taken up too much time given that we had a late start.  Perhaps we can ‑‑ we thought that we'd take a few minutes for each panelist to give some opening remarks.  I certainly have some questions that I have in my back pocket as Moderator.  We would love to have your engagement, anyone in the audience.  So please have your questions ready.  And, you know, and you can put them in the chat.  I will keep a look out there for those. 

    So why don't I just throw it to the panelists for opening remarks.  And I can defer to you all to give a little bit of introduction of yourself and background and current roles, et cetera, that you'd like to share.  Jorge, is that okay if I throw it to you? 

   >> JORGE MANHIQUE:  Yes.  Thanks, Brian.  I hope you guys can hear me.  Finally happy to be able to join.  It was such a difficult task.  So forgive me for just starting to introduce myself.  My name is Jorge Manhique.  I'm from Mozambique.  I have been working on disability rights in general, digital rights inclusion, and particularly with specific interest on the issues of access and accessibility in regards to ICT but not only. 

    So it is really a pleasure for me to be here today.  And to be talking about this very important topic.  And especially at this point in time where we are going through the COVID pandemic.  And as we know because of that, most of the services, opportunities, et cetera, et cetera, have moved to the Forum today ‑‑ to the online world, right?  So from the physical to the online world.    And that makes it even more important is the issue of access and accessibility of the ICT environment. 

    So but just to ‑‑ I wanted to start by just throwing out some of the data, some of the data that has been produced.  And I have here data from the report that was conducted by GSMA in two countries.  One in Africa, Kenya and also in Bangladesh, which indicates I mean in general that there is this lack of awareness when it comes to accessibility features and the impact that may have on access for Persons with Disabilities.  Actually points out in general mobile phones, so this particular study was focused on mobile access and accessibility. 

    So it points out mobile access in most of the communities, in those countries is still unaffordable for Persons with Disabilities.  So to get the hardware itself is still very difficult.  And it points to a very particular thing which is very interesting for us here to look at is that the role that relatives and caregivers still play when it comes to access to technology for Persons with Disabilities. 

    So because many Persons with Disabilities they are not able to have, to own let's say a device, they rely on family members, caregivers to have access to technology. 

    And that speaks a lot on, you know, the liberty and the autonomy that the person can have when it comes to ICT accessibility. 

    This also points to the fact that education and this is something I'm sure we all know, education and the type of disability as well as gender, big determinants when it comes to ownership. 

    Including the type of mobile phone the person may or may not own.  So those are the big determinants.  So the type of disability, the level of education but also gender.  And that speaks to the issues that I mean although we are here talking about disability it is important to recognize that we are talking about a homogeneous group.  There is difference within the group.  There may be groups and those intend to be persons with physical disabilities that may have a little bit more ability and chances to own or possibilities to own and enjoy from the ICT devices. 

But the other groups and I mean often persons with intellectual disabilities who may be even more excluded or persons with deaf‑blindness who may be even excluded.  When we talk about ICT accessibility it is really important to go and look at those specific groups that may be overlooked because we just focus on the bigger picture which is disability here. 

    Although there are people who tend to have access to mobile phones, so within the ‑‑ those groups, I mean within the disability movement, there are less chances that will have or own let's say Smartphones.  So they will have a telephone or mobile phones with very basic features.  It means they won't be able to enjoy the maximum that Smartphones represents in terms of features that they have and what the possibilities that they may open up to the users. 

    So most Persons with Disabilities are not able to own those because as I mentioned they are very expensive.  They may not be able to, you know, because of the education, they may not have the literacy that enables them to explore fully the features that those mobile phones have, education and training.  I will stop now so those left will have their five minutes.  Thank you. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Thank you. 

   >> GUNELA ASTBRINK:  Hello.  Just briefly to introduce myself, my name is Gunela Astbrink.  I am based in Australia.  And it is just after midnight here.  And we ‑‑ I am vice‑president of the Internet Society accessibility special interest group.  And have been involved with disability and accessibility for 25 years plus. 

    And I want to continue on from where Jorge talked about barriers to use of technology for Persons with Disabilities.  And as a member of women with disabilities Australia, I can say that there's definitely gender and cultural issues that mean that women with disabilities are often doubly or triply disadvantaged.  And we need to take in to account the issues about barriers to uptake because of affordability, because of cultural issues, training, et cetera. 

    But I wanted to also mention that when a person is able and can afford to use some of the technology, there are barriers.  If a person is vision impaired, for example.  There is a recent report as in December, so it's a brand new report.  And it has been put together by a company called Diamond who does web accessibility evaluations, et cetera. 

    They have done a state of accessibility report on an annual basis for the last three years.  And this relates to the top 100 websites through Alexa.  And they all suffer for the first time, and this is pertinent to our discussion, in regard to mobile apps.  And so they have assessed the top 20 of iOS apps on say iPhones and also the top 20 on Android apps. 

    And interestingly you have seen both automated and manual testing.  They have stated of those top 20 in each of the categories with the three apps, 65% and 75% of the free Android apps were reasonably accessible, reasonably.  Now that just relates to the use by a screen reader.  So that's important to differentiate. 

    There are lots of other different barriers.  Now what is interesting too, is that of the paid apps, for iOS and Android only 35% of the paid iOS apps and 29% of the Android apps, passed the home screen manual accessibility testing. 

    And that's just looking at the home screen.  Being able to register, being able to use it from the home screen.  Then there could be potentially other barriers.  So we can see that there is a considerable way to go when it comes to reducing those barriers and increasing the accessibility of the apps. 

    And I think that's something that the app Association might be very interested in.  And so I will continue talking a little bit later, during the discussion, about a number of other drivers to improve accessibility.  So I think I will stop there.  Thank you very much, Brian. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Thank you.  Thank you.  And Tim. 

   >> TIM UNWIN:  Yes.  I just tried to calm down a little bit.  Sorry but it was stressful getting here.  And I'm so sorry for those who weren't able to.  I think some people might be watching on Youtube.  If you are able to, that's great.  And maybe somehow you can communicate.  But I'm going to be very brief and really just focus on five policies and have them as policy dogma. 

We need to think about policy at different levels.  But it is universal universality.  I'm coming to a view that we need to rethink the whole notion of disabilities.  Let me put it this way.  We all have abilities but we all have some disabilities. 

    And what we've tended to do in the societies with which I'm familiar is we cut out a group and say they are Persons with Disabilities or they are disabled.  And you have to somehow have a certificate to show that you have a particular disability.  Whereas actually through a whole range of other disabilities, aren't necessarily certified and you don't necessarily get the benefits from that.  And I want to emphasize if we try and reconcpetallize this, someone who you can tell from the gray hair and has these much more.  I actually think that the whole notion could be reconsidered, particularly relationship with technology.  Because you can get assistive technology and I will come back to that at a price if you have a particular disability.  There are all those who don't have that classified as a disability who still need to benefit from.  Universality is important. 

    Thirdly, I'm not going to say much more about that because Jorge and Gunela have touched it, for me the key thing is ensuring that everyone who develops new technologies, be it apps or hardware or increasing converged technologies has to take on board to be universally as accessible as possible.  That still isn't the case.  Developers don't have that mindset, even though some of them also have lots of disabilities.  They may not realize that, going back to my previous point. 

    And this comes down to capacity development and education.  And anyone in training to go in to the tech field, be it in computer science or electronic engineering should have a compulsory course in understanding the needs of people with disabilities.  That's three.  Fourthly, despite being that advocate for the universal, I think there will always be a place for particular assistive technologies to address the needs of particular groups of people. 

    And the key thing there, of course, is that they shouldn't have to pay more for this.  All too often assistive technologies mean some of the disadvantaged peopled in the world can't afford them.  Does anyone here know Optikey which is a development by a guy in the UK of which provides a free suite of apps to allow people to use computers, using only their eyes?  And this is being provided for free in Pakistan as a little program.  I know about that.  But things like that can make a huge transformative difference because partly because a lot of it is open. 

    Finally, and it is always there and being said, but above all we need to keep remembering and remind people Nothing About Us, Without Us.  And I would just like to touch on the notion of what we understand by empowerment here because I think the word empowerment is hugely problematic.  It is usually used, I'm a bit provacative of the way middle age guys like me empowering poor, underprivileged people in other parts of the world, that makes me cringe.  Empowerment in that sense is deeply, deeply problematic. 

The only true empowerment is when the poor and undermarginalized take power in their own hands.  It is changing the power relationships within our societies to enable the poor and most marginalized including Persons with Disabilities to actually participate and actually take control.  So five items quite provacative, but I look forward to our discussion.  And I'd like to thank the other 11 people who are here who have actually made it.  For a session on accessibility to be made so inaccessible makes me really, really angry.  Sorry. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Thanks.  No, it is true.  Frustrations there.  I'm with ya.  Yes.  Well, thank you all for the opening remarks there.  Like I mentioned earlier to those, this is directed to those in the audience.  We've certainly ‑‑ I think there has been I just in listening to the brief opening remarks some interesting threads.  I certainly am game to pull on.  But we really love for your engagement, your interventions.  So please do jump in here, if you can.  For example, in the chat I know a couple of people have sort of introduced themselves.  That's really great. 

    I ‑‑ just to maybe start things off a little bit, I wondered if I could jump to perhaps a question about how for you ‑‑ to all of the panelists, too, I would ask this question, how has the pandemic affected uptake and/or really development of ICT and accessibility?  And I wondered if there are any lessons we can take or any trends we should be aware of, you know.  I wonder if, you know ‑‑ I think already in opening remarks, for example, we talked about infrastructure availability and deployment, enabling connectivity, like ‑‑ that will provide for Smartphones versus feature phones.  How has the pandemic affected these issues for you in your region and globally? 

   >> JORGE MANHIQUE:  I can go first.  Jorge here.  I think and I'm talking about my experience here in Mozambique, but also I will say the same experience in other African countries as well, especially in Sub‑Saharan Africa.  I will say, and I guess this is true in many places in the world, I mean because of the measures, you know, to protect against the COVID, there is a boom of services online, which, of course, that represents a huge opportunity and potential for Persons with Disabilities to benefit from those services.  But at the same time it is sad to see how those products, services are being developed and completely disregarded for accessibility and universal design principles. 

So you have, you know, new services, Government and private services being provided online which is again very useful for the general population, not only for the population of Persons with Disabilities but would represent even more for Persons with Disabilities, for instance, who have difficult mobilities and so on and so forth.  So there is a huge potential on that. 

    But because of the way those products are being developed, Persons with Disabilities are being left behind on that, so that's one thing I wanted to raise. 

The second thing is that yes, we have this massive opportunity that is opening up.  But it is not only the cost or the affordability of the hardware, but it is also that the ‑‑ how expensive is the data in most of the countries.  I mean here in Mozambique just to give you an example, for you to be able to have a minimum quality of internet, you will have to pay I mean close to 5 Euros to be able to use it for a week.  And this is very expensive for not only for Persons with Disabilities, but for the general population here, who I mean, most of them live below the poverty line. 

    So that's something we have to take in to consideration.  So again you have the services that are available.  But barely, you know, a small proportion of the population are able to actually use it.  Right? 

    The third thing is related with the fact that, you know, Persons with Disabilities especially, I mean in general, they are not ‑‑ they participate in public life is still very minimum, but especially when it comes to ICT and accessibility, those things are still regarded as very technical.  So inputs from Persons with Disabilities and so on they are seen as marginal.  And the results is that we ‑‑ I mean both the technical experts, they lose a lot of inputs that could make those services very ‑‑ I mean more, more responsive to the general population.  But also of high quality, you know.  So Persons with Disabilities not only here in Mozambique, they are not really engaging when it comes to ICT accessibility.  So this is something we really have to pay attention.  There is some initiatives that are coming up regionally. 

There is an organization in Uganda called Cipeza which is the center for ‑‑ on ICT accessibility for Southern Africa which is doing great work on, you know, coming up with indicators on ICT accessibility, providing grants to organizations of Persons with Disabilities to be able to conduct an accessibility audit in Government, but not only websites and, you know, service providers. 

    And then use those resources and the data that's coming out from that to be able to engage the Government but also service providers. 

    So I guess that's a very huge thing, especially because they are acting on the demand side.  On the side of Persons with Disabilities, kind of empowering them, saying hey we are being left behind but to have evidence to put on the table and say you know you guys came up with this solution, but this solution is not responsive to the needs of the majority of the groups of Persons with Disabilities. 

    So that's a very huge thing.  In the beginning I said that awareness on disability is still very ‑‑ on ICT accessibility is still very low.  But I was very surprised, positive surprise last week as you know was the week of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  So it was quite a surprise by seeing, you know, some Governments coming, you know, with concrete proposals, I'm talking about the Government of Uganda, the Government of Kenya in Malawi.  Coming up with very concrete proposals to be able to advance the agenda of ICT accessibility in their respective countries.  So I was positively surprised by those commitments coming from high ‑‑ high level officials in Kenya, was the President in Malawi and also in Uganda as well.  So that meant a lot, specifically because they did raise concrete issues that relates to disability and ICT accessibility.  So yes, thank you so much.  I will stop here for now. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Thanks.  Does anyone else want to add on to that? 

   >> GUNELA ASTBRINK:  Yes.  Can I add some comments to that?  Following on from what Tim and Jorge has talked about, certainly when it comes to this year's theme of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the ‑‑ it is entitled leadership and participation of Persons with Disabilities towards an inclusive access and sustainable post COVID‑19 world.  And so it's very, very encouraging that we need to work towards more Persons with Disabilities, being involved in organizations.  And so to be able to have people on boards.  For example, with the Internet Society Mohammed Shabbir from Pakistan who has a visual impairment is probably the first person with a disability on that board of trustees which means being able to contribute to policy and strategy on the highest level of Internet policy. 

    So we need those voices.  We need those voices within organizations.  And it might be that if there were more opportunities for Persons with Disabilities to be employed in Government, in non‑profits, in industry, then people will see that there are Persons with Disabilities around in the community.  Often it is this thing about as Tim was talking about, they are different.  Whereas we are all one. 

    But we have different types of disabilities.  And that's what needs to be conveyed and in the workplace, that's a very important place to be able to do that.  And to make cultural change.  And to influence those policies and programs and communications.  And the key phrase is Nothing About Us, Without Us.  So it is taking that control which is so important. 

    So those are probably the things I could respond to but I have a few other comments.  Can I follow on, Brian, with that? 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Absolutely. 

   >> GUNELA ASTBRINK:  Okay.  Thank you.  So just going back to those statistics I mentioned earlier about accessible and nonaccessible apps, wouldn't it be good if an organization or a developer every time they develop something have a sort of accessibility filter, just to be aware that okay, we have ‑‑ we have international Guidelines.  Let's have a look at them.  How do we do this in the best possible way.  And if the team of developers haven't got the experience of accessibility, then there are a large number of companies and organizations who can provide their support.  And obviously W3C, the World Wide Web Foundation is the Foundation of those web accessibility content Guidelines, which are used by Governments and many private industry organizations to ensure there is uniformity in the way tools are made accessible. 

    So I think that's really important.  And I just also wanted to look at another point, and we are coming back to universal design.  And really if you look at the traditional curb cut say from a foot path, then if that is done with accessibility, a wheelchair user can use it, then a delivery cart can use it, then a person with a Pram can use it, it is good for a wider range of persons in the community.  And if you are talking about that in the online world, it is not only designing for accessibility for what actually is a large group of people globally, we are talking about 15% of the world's population which is say 1.5 billion people internationally.  We are talking about a huge number of people. 

And looking at it from a point of market forces, we are missing out on a market here that we can provide services that people can buy if they can afford them.  And also to make sure that they are accessible and that means, that has flow‑on effects to everyone.  If something is accessible it is really quite useable by most people in the community.  I will stop there for now.  I have got some other points to make if I have time.  Thank you. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Thanks.  Yes.  Tim, I think I was actually going to point to you anyway because I thought that one of the resources that you shared at an earlier phase here, the report on technology and education for the most marginalized in a post COVID‑19 environment, I would ask you to maybe summarize that because it seems spot on but also I think some ‑‑ any other comments. 

   >> TIM UNWIN:  I was going to say let's move on to a different question because we don't have much time.  Global report, we put together a group of us funded by the World Bank and DID and it is to provide guidance to ensure that they use digital tech to support the education of poor and marginalized.  It is a series of guidance notes.  One is on how to support Persons with Disabilities, but the whole theme includes that.  That would be my answer in the field of education.  As you can imagine I can talk for hours on that.  It is in three acts.  Executive summary.  Act 2 is the bulk of full report.  Act 3 is the guidance notes of and they are called acts, have you ever seen an official report called acts?  Because they have to be performed on the world stage in a theater and act, those are the first, these letters of action which is so important. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Excellent.  If it is okay I might commandeer that approach to deliverables we put out. 

   >> TIM UNWIN:  As long as you show where credit is due. 


   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Excellent.  All right.  You are probably right, Tim, I know that we don't have a ‑‑ folks, I hope you can tell that the expertise is deep and everyone is passionate.  We can go on for a long time.  Probably a fair suggestion we should maybe look to another question.  I was thinking about some emerging technologies or ones that have just emerged.  Artificial Intelligence tools, predictive analytics, you know, even virtual reality technologies and things like that.  How do you all see these technologies playing in?  And is accessibility being infused by design in some of these newer technologies that are coming out?  Do you see ‑‑ there is lots of discussion, no matter where you look.  For example, just looking at predictive algorithms, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning and other terminologies like that, ethics, bias, preservation of privacy and other data stewardship practices.  Everywhere you look people are discussing them appropriately. 

    Is there ‑‑ how do you all see accessibility developing with some of these newer technologies that are starting to mature?  Facial recognition, for example.  And what ‑‑ is there anything that you would change from a governance perspective?  I'm sorry, this is about three questions rolled in to one.  When I say governance, that could mean a Government making some kind of policy change.  It could mean an organization's governance.  It could mean, you know, something that might just be generated across different communities in a Forum like the IGF

    So I guess I'm just saying I mean governance in the broadest sense but internet governance.  Anyone want to tackle that long‑winded question?  Quite the windup there I know. 

   >> TIM UNWIN:  I had my hand up.  I will be very quick.  Just to say I have always been passionate about the potential of smart cars to smart humans.  And I know there are people who are actually out there, beginning to work on this.  But imagine if people with visual impairments were able to act like a smart car, and so they would know when somebody is about to bump in to them or the censors around that, that I think is one exciting way for the future.  Yeah.  That's just a tiny part of it.  And the other I already mentioned up to key, which I'm a great fan of example of something being done high tech but made reasonably cheaply available, freely available.  Those would be my two penny worth on to the future. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Jorge or Gunela.  It is okay ‑‑ oh, there you are. 

   >> GUNELA ASTBRINK:  Thank you.  Yes.  Look, I think there is so much potential and sometimes innovation in the disability field can lead to actually very mainstream products and I'll go ‑‑ I'll go right back to something like persons with physical disabilities who couldn't use a keyboard.  And so there was a Dragon Dictation where people could speak to the computer and so forth.  And this was back 30 years ago, revolutionary and very expensive.  But this technology was designed for Persons with Disabilities.  And now we have speech recognition everywhere.  So some of those innovations can really make a difference.  And I think when it comes to virtual reality they are in the A11Y community which are accessibility geeks and enthusiasts who are working on some very exciting virtual reality applications, especially for persons who have limited physical mobility.  So there is a lot that will be happening I'd say in the future and can have mainstream applications. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Great.  Well, I have been notified that we are ‑‑ we are approaching the end.  But I think that there is a number of good questions coming in from the audience in the chat, thank you all.  This might ‑‑ trying to take a few different themes at least or parts of questions that I have seen so far.  One question I see here is how can we make accessible technologies more affordable.  At a high level that's a very important question.  I think we've touched on different maybe layers.  Curious what you all think about this.  But different layers from infrastructure to the device of the end of the value chain that's in the hand of a consumer.  And then we were just talking about emerging technologies, which depending on the community and the location may be completely unavailable.  Right? 

    For a number of reasons.  Or widely available.  So, you know, from ‑‑ maybe ‑‑ and it could be an interesting question about, you know, for us to bring us to sort of the end.  To each panelist if you were to pick one top, top thing, top things that could be done from a governance perspective and again I mean that broadly, how would you make accessible technologies more affordable? 

   >> JORGE MANHIQUE:  Okay.  I will just put myself on there.  I guess one of the things is to popularize, you know, the ‑‑ those technologies.  Right?  So and I guess that's the approach from the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  So I think disability as part of the human diversity.  So meaning that when we do things we have to do things thinking about every potential user of that product, of that device or whatever it is. 

    So I think part of the way we can bring the costs down is to mainstream accessibility in everything that ‑‑ I mean all the technologies.  So we don't see as something special, something extra which therefore costs, should cost more.  Right?  So that's one thing. 

    The other thing is to, you know, issues of standard, I think it is very important.  I think that Gunela raised that.  I think that's important.  And I mean and that also we have to deal ‑‑ consider what happens in the North, in the Global North and the Global South.  Unfortunately, Governments in the Global South will have little power to influence global standards and so on and so forth.  That's why I think international cooperation, these issues are very important to make sure that whatever is designed.  I know that's very difficult to do it.  To design inclusive for the whole world.  But at least that agree on minimum standards.  And then I mean further adjustments and so on can be done to a contact specific base. 

    I think but international cooperation, this is very important.  And can help as well bring the cost down.  So I will just put those two ideas forward on that. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Thank you.  Anyone else?  I see Tim has a very ‑‑ I personally think is a great suggestion, having more people in Government who are recognized as Persons with Disabilities.  That's also a great suggestion.  Well, I see you are unmuted, Gunela.  I don't want to jump the gun there. 

   >> GUNELA ASTBRINK:  Yeah.  Okay.  Thanks.  Just very quickly, I mentioned in the chat about ICT accessibility criteria in public procurement as in Government purchasing.  And that makes a huge difference because it means major corporations, if they are going to be successful in tenders to the Government, then they need to ensure their products are accessible. 

    And that has a flow‑on effect and it might take a while for that flow‑on effect to occur.  Over time one would hope it makes a difference.  I want to touch on a couple of European based directives and legislation.  One is the Web accessibility directive.  And the other is the European Accessibility Act.  And they are required through the Accessibility Act for Governments to show how they provide accessible services.  And if any company wants to develop something and provide it to any European country, then it needs to be accessible in the future.  It is still in progress. 

    But there is not enough time to talk about it in more detail.  But it is worthwhile having a look at the European Accessibility Act and the Web accessibility directive, and seeing what influence that can have in the future. 

   >> BRIAN SCARPELLI:  Absolutely.  Thank you.  Thank you for that.  And, you know, I think we can in our post session recap report I think we can ensure that we point people to that ‑‑ those very important resources, I agree.  I think that's great you raise them.  So I do apologize, because we are ‑‑ though we started a tad late and we had some technical difficulties we are at time for this session. 

I greatly appreciate the participation here by Jorge, Gunela, Tim, thank you so much for joining and sharing your perspectives.  And to all who joined, I think this ‑‑ I hope this is just yet another step in a global discussion that reflects I think the broadest commitment to advancing accessibility through ICT no matter where somebody is or what disability that they have.  So I know that from my own organization, we absolutely share that priority.  I personally at previous organizations I had personally I had a commitment for that and very passionate for that myself.  So thank you again and thank you to IGF.  I think that concludes our panel.