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December 2012 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

In December the President Obama signed a Presidential Proclamation announcing December 3, 2012 as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. He noted that there was progress still to be made in “affirming universal human rights” but claimed the U.S as a global leader on disability rights, as the U.S will “redouble our efforts to build new paths to participation, empowerment, and progress around the world.”  The very next day, however, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities failed to pass in the Senate.  It was five votes short of the required two-thirds majority.

In response to the nation’s top wireless carriers’ announcement to accelerate deployment of text-to-911, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC adopted a proposal requiring all wireless carriers and providers of Internet-based text messaging applications to enable customers to send text messages to 911 services. In a separate effort aimed at managing shifts in technology, Chairman Genachowski announced the creation of the FCC’s Technology Transitions Policy Task Force “to modernize the Commission’s policies in a process that encourages the technological transition, empowers and protects consumers, promotes competition, and ensures network resiliency and reliability.” The Commission’s Accessibility and Innovation Initiative presented eight Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman’s AAA).  The winners developed accessible communications technologies that addressed areas such as media, civic participation and location based services.

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.