Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Target Targetted
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CSUN, like all public California institutions, has to make its web pages accessible to handicapped people (or at least make a good effort at it) in order to comply with the ADA and other laws. This requires extra work on behalf of webmasters, and is certainly the right thing to do (although sometimes the motivation seems to be one of avoiding lawsuits rather than being decent about it). It's part of my job to see this is done for our college's site.

It's now going to be part of many other people's jobs too, given that legal precendent has just been set that says private companies' web sites also have to comply with those laws (article from Yahoo! News). "Target responded to the suit by filing a motion to dismiss the case, which argued in part that no civil rights laws apply to the Internet."

What a lame excuse to avoid treating less fortunate people with the obvious spirit of the ADA etc. Good grief! That line of reasoning implies that if Internet computers had little cameras and Target could tell the color of your skin or sex or religion then they could legally not sell to you.

What does the precedent mean? Probably some signficant changes to a great number of web sites run by companies that have enough cash that people will want to sue them into compliance. It may even result in web pages that are more usable to everyone else too. And I would think many more jobs for people who know how to build web sites that comply with the ADA.

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