Tell the FCC to Say NO to Inaccessible Gaming and Communications Technologies!
by Mark Richert
An Email Today'll Keep the Waiver Away!
A while back, lobbyists representing the highly lucrative gaming technology industry filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking a formal waiver from any requirement stemming from the landmark 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), ensuring key communications features, such as text chat and other forms of electronic messaging included with their gaming technologies, will be accessible.
While the CVAA does permit the FCC to grant waivers in those instances where specific technologies may be both designed and marketed for primary purposes other than the kinds of communication contemplated in the new law, the FCC is nevertheless completely within its authority to refuse to grant waivers for such technologies.
There are signs that the FCC may be generally sympathetic to the interest of people with disabilities in accessible gaming technologies that incorporate various kinds of communication. However, it has recently come to our attention that the FCC may be under the impression that people with vision loss themselves are not particularly interested in the accessibility of gaming technologies.
Advocates should set them straight.
Send a brief email today to Karen Peltz Strauss, Deputy Bureau Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, FCC at Karen.Strauss@FCC.gov.
In your short, polite but firm message, tell the FCC how you feel about the ability of people who are blind or visually impaired to fully use the most popular gaming technologies on the market today. Remind the FCC that the growing popularity of gaming technologies in public schools to foster learning, use of gaming technologies to increase movement and exercise, and the overall impact of gaming technologies to bring people together, means that the accessibility of such technologies must not be thrown under the bus. Indeed, if the communications features of such technologies are allowed to continue to be inaccessible, kids, adults and seniors with vision loss will continue to be shut out of full participation in the school and community, and will not be able to take advantage of the enjoyment and benefits afforded by such technologies.
Astoundingly, the industry representatives arguing for the waiver say that a waiver of the accessibility requirements of the new law is necessary to allow industry maximum opportunity to innovate, and thereby build on, their alleged track record of success meeting the access needs of people with disabilities.
Tell the FCC what you think of the kind of technological innovation that routinely leaves people with vision loss behind; we're left behind while the industry brags about their past access accomplishments while, at the same time, they seek legal maneuvers, like the proposed waiver, to shirk their responsibilities.
The FCC is expected to act very soon on the proposed waiver, so send your message to the FCC today!
Video game controllers photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
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