Ruling doesn't affect Section 508 Web requirements, board says

Ruling doesn't affect Section 508 Web requirements, board says

Government Web sites must still be accessible to the disabled, despite a recent court ruling and the ongoing debate over accessibility for commercial sites, according to the Access Board.

Earlier this month, a U.S. District judge in south Florida said the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law in 1990, applied only to physical spaces such as ticket counters, not cyberspace. The judge ruled against a blind plaintiff who had sued Southwest Airlines, claiming the company's Web site was inaccessible.

'I don't think it [the ruling] has any impact at all on Section 508,' said David Capozzi, director of technical and information services for the Access Board.

Section 508, included in the 1998 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, makes it clear that federal Web sites are mandated to be accessible, he said. 'That shouldn't be open to interpretation.'

The Justice Department has fielded its own share of complaints against private enterprises that have not made their Web sites accessible, Capozzi said.

Nearly two years ago, a mentally disabled plaintiff filed a complaint with Justice, which eventually filed a brief that said public sites, including the Internet, are required to adhere to the ADA regulations.

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