A protest filed in federal government blames New York University and Northwestern University for the discrimination against blind students by accepting Google e-mail and other programs that are not completely well-matched with technology that interprets written words into language.
The National Federation of the Blind has demanded a Justice Department investigation into the schools’ utilize of Gmail and other Google programs, speaking that obliging students to utilize them go against the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Baltimore-based group is furthermore requesting other colleges not to accept the software until it’s available to all students and faculty.
Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind said, “Given the many accessible options available, there is no good reason that these universities should choose a suite of applications, including critical e-mail services, that is inaccessible to blind students.”
In an e-mail, Google said it had a productive discussion previous week with Maurer concerning availability issues but did not give more specifics.
Alan Eustace, senior vice president of Google for engineering and research said, “We left the meeting with a strong commitment to improving our products.”
Some Google products are partly available to sightless users however are not easy to use without help from a person who be able to see the screen, the federation said. With Gmail, for instance, the procedure of making an account is the largest problem, with other hitches in finding the way while depending on screen readers, said a spokesman for the blind federation, Chris Danielsen.
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