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Chapter 3. Accessibility in Law and Policy > Remedies Outside of the Courts

Remedies Outside of the Courts

The Power of the Purse

One of the most effective tools for ensuring that accessible information technology becomes more widely adopted and employed is the ability to make purchasing decisions. We saw how Australian mandates support a healthy e-commerce environment that is fully accessible. Governments are increasingly requiring compliance to accessibility standards as they issue request for proposals to technology vendors. Companies, particularly W3C members like IBM, are developing and enforcing internal standards that they pass along to vendor companies. University systems and school districts can support accessible design by including these techniques in curriculum requirements and internal Web standards and templates.

Applying Standards to Federal Purchases in the United States

The statute that amended Section 508 also required the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to revise the Federal Acquisition Rules (FARs) to incorporate the Access Board’s standard within six months after it was final. Published in the Federal Register on April 25, 2001, the FARs were amended to define how businesses that contract with the federal government, regardless of their size, are required to comply with the standard set by Section 508. Included in the FAR ruling was the observation that “since the statute imposes private enforcement, where individuals with disabilities can file civil rights lawsuits, the Government has little flexibility for alternatives in writing this regulation. To meet the requirements of the law, we cannot exempt small businesses from any part of the rule” [Federal Acquisition Rules 2001, p. 20894].


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