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November 2013 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

In November, the United States District Court found that New York City failed to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities when planning for and responding to disasters in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court highlighted that the plan does not include provisions for the accessibility of transportation, emergency shelters, or emergency communications for people with disabilities. Although the case only holds the City liable for their actions, the decision highlights the importance of accessibility during emergencies for people with disabilities within all communities.

In the regulatory arena, the federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revised the process for filing complaints regarding the accessibility of “advanced communications services and equipment, Internet browsers built into mobile phones, and telecommunications services and equipment.” The new procedures will allow individuals to contact companies directly concerning accessibility issues. Complaints can also be resolved with help from the FCC Disability Rights Office. Following the release of a blog post by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler highlighting future efforts of the FCC Technology Transitions Policy Task Force, the FCC released a Public Notice [DA 13-2078] to inform interested parties of ways to provide the Task Force with comments or feedback. The notice particularly highlights that interested parties are welcome to request ex parte meetings with the Task Force and may do so by submitting meeting requests to mailto:TechTaskForce@fcc.gov.

The Wireless RERC requests your assistance with distributing the Wireless Emergency Alerts Survey to people with disabilities. The survey is available in both English and İen Español!. Feel free to cut and paste the announcement located in the Wireless RERC news section and share it with our contacts.

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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.