National Council on Disability Calls for a “Technology Bill of Rights” for 57 Million Americans

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Posted: October 7

Washington, DC – Today, the National Council on Disability (NCD)—an independent federal agency—calls on Congress to establish a Technology Bill of Rights for Americans with Disabilities in its annual report to Congress and the President outlining the state of the union for 57 million Americans with disabilities.

NCD’s 2016 annual report, “National Disability Policy: A Progress Report,” identifies access to information and communications innovations as a civil rights issue due to the power technology has to transform civic engagement and economic opportunity in the United States.

NCD will release the report this morning in connection with a Capitol Hill briefing on the report this morning at 11:00 AM at the Washington, DC’s Capitol Visitor Center. The briefing panel features technology industry leaders from Microsoft and IBM, as well as disability advocates and federal partners.

“Accessible technology is not limited to what we can conceive of today. It also sets the stage for what we will achieve tomorrow,” said Clyde Terry, NCD Chair. “Regulations, legal frameworks and professional standards are important foundations, but they begin a process, they don’t end it. In today’s world, technological equality for persons with disabilities is a social justice issue. To be truly accessible, technological inclusion must be built in, from the ground up, with every user in mind.  Anything else is a step backwards. Anything less creates second class citizens.”

A full report may be downloaded from NCD’s website at www.ncd.gov/progress_reports.

TO ARRANGE FOR AN INTERVIEW: NCD members and staff as well as panel participants are available for interviews prior to and following the October 7 Capitol Hill event on the findings of the 2016 annual report and the Technology Bill of Rights for People with Disabilities.  For more information, or to arrange for an interview, please contact Public Affairs Specialist Lawrence Carter-Long at: LCarterLong@ncd.gov or call 202-272-2112

About the National Council on Disability: First established as an advisory Council within the Department of Education in 1978, NCD became an independent federal agency in 1984. In 1986, NCD recommended enactment of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and drafted the first version of the bill which was introduced in the House and Senate in 1988. Since enactment of the ADA in 1990, NCD has continued to play a leading role in crafting disability policy, and advising the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policies, programs, and practices.