Date   

This week on Eyes On Success: Louie Voice control

blueskies11
 

This week’s episode of eyes On Success is:

2121 Louie Voice Control (May 19, 2021)
Show Notes
Imagine being able to fully control popular smartphone apps and functionality with just voice commands! That is what the Louie Voice Control system enables. Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Pramit Bhargava whose own vision loss inspired the concept and led to its development. Hear the system in action and how it can be used to perform everyday tasks.

 

Use the searchable archive of over 500 episodes to find shows of interest by show number, topic, or keyword at:

www.EyesOnSuccess.net

 

Subscribe to the podcast if you don’t want to miss an episode or listen on your smart home device by saying “play the eyes On Success podcast”.

 

Eyes On Success also now has its own channel on YouTube so check it out and subscribe!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Check out Eyes On Success (formerly ViewPoints)

A weekly, half hour audio program for people living with vision loss.

Find out more about the show and get links to past episodes at:

       www.EyesOnSuccess.net

Find the podcast on iTunes or use the URL:

       www.EyesOnSuccess.net/eos_podcast

Find us on social media at:

       www.facebook.com/EyesOnSuccess

       www.twitter.com/@_EyesOnSuccess

       www.audioboom.com/EyesOnSuccess

Subscribe to the announcements-only list by sending an e-mail to:

       EyesOnSuccess+Subscribe@...

Subscribe to the listener discussion group by sending an e-mail to:

       EOS_discuss+Subscribe@...

Send suggestions or comments to:

      hosts@...

 

 


blind android users podcast bonus episode 1, talking about what is new in android 12 public beta 1.

 

hi all.
to listen to this bonus episode in which we talk first about some
projects discussed in the google IO keynote in brief.
then we do a demo in what are the new UI changes and settings in
android 12 beta 1.
we will have more discussion about this in our up coming episodes.
you can visit.
www.blindandroidusers.com
or.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvEM-SmpwElNALldhp8hG1g
you can also use podcast players, smart speakers and any internet
connected device that can play audio.


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Gene
 

I went to the Pillsbury (spelling site) whichis supposed to have this overlay.  It didn’t do anything, perhaps because I went to it using the Brave browser.  I’m curious if that browser blocks the overlay.  Can someone give a site that definitely has this problem?  What should I expect?  When I go to the site, evidently, I should be prompted to issue a command, I don’t remember if its alt f1 or alt 1.  I’d like to play with a site I know has the overlay and try both Brave and Chrome to see if I have the problem with Chrome and not with Brave.  If with neither, I’ll try Firefox, or perhaps I’ll try it anyway.
 
Gene

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 7:40 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!
 
Neither have I, but it makes me wonder if that's why I suddenly have trouble
with websites.  I never heard of these automated things that companies use,
and don't know what they do.  Pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: Victor
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 3:09 AM
To: main@techtalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA
compliant!

Hi Janet:

Thank you for sharing this article. I’ve never heard of this particular
company, but the article was interesting and this issue is always of
interest to me. I’ve just shared it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Thanks,

Victor
> On May 16, 2021, at 10:53 PM, Janet <janet.harvard@...> wrote:
>
> Hi All!
> I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came
> across this interesting article, and I would like to share.
>
> Janet
>
> Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA
> compliant
> "If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you
> want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
> Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National
> Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with
> AccessiBe
> executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara
> Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
> May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
> By
> April Glaser
> Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became
> increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the
> fastest-growing companies
> that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make
> their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly
> contentious
> relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is
> making it harder for them to navigate the web.
> In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking
> out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people
> say
> AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more
> compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the
> internet, has prevented
> them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent,
> teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
> AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market,
> according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at
> the
> University of California, Berkeley.
>
> The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400
> blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
> signed an open letter
> calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other
> companies with similar products, to stop.
> "We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to
> market their products," the letter said.
> AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps
> companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With
> Disabilities
> Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe
> also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them
> into
> compliance.
> The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including
> name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles
> Lakers,
> as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of
> Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In
> February,
>
> AccessiBe announced
> it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1
> Investment Management.
> While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases
> and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media
> say
> they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have
> installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent
> screen readers
> - which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions,
> menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some
> websites
> they used to use unnavigable.
> "If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the
> site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So
> you have
> no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who
> specializes in accessibility.
> After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last
> summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off
> that
> he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The
> experience was so frustrating that Clower
> published a guide
> to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
> "We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief
> marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that
> misunderstandings
> of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also
> created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
> But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts,
> YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their
> critiques "hostile"
> and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings
> with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
> In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are
> largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a
> "huge campaign"
> against the company with few specific critiques.
> "Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't
> work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't
> really
> test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of
> anger and didn't even try to understand."
> Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with
> new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the
> industry
> who directly compete with AccessiBe."
> AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated,
> quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
> Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies
> have similar products that have many of the same technical issues
> AccessiBe does.
> But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and
> defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked
> for
> them.
> "I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the
> marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a
> website's services,"
> Greco said.
> Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by
> 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
> Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
> by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of
> lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and
> AccessiBe said
> its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
> "Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a
> website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude
> them? That's
> why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who
> has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the
> first U.S.
> settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole
> idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in
> society,
> and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is
> impossible."
> Avoiding lawsuits
> AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who
> claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against
> an eyeglasses
> company named Eyebobs.
> In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an
> accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case.
> He
> analyzed 50 websites
> that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on
> the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen
> readers. That
> lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the
> company denied any transgressions.
> The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company,
> was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records
> show.
> Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every
> week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become
> compliant. AccessiBe
> denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product
> at the times identified in the lawsuits.
> The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid
> lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
> "It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you
> and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person
> and
> disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog
> about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible
> view
> of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we
> just use our disabilities for that."
> Community tensions
> Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National
> Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private
> meeting
> with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the
> product.
> In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said
> disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web
> more accessible
> and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was
> a "demonization" of the company.
> Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
> "'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said.
> "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
> In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired
> people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He
> also
> said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
> For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to
> be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they
> can't
> escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
> Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said
> she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March.
> She
> noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated
> solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
> "They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said.
> "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my
> humanity."
> The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that
> this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing
> parts
> of the internet.
> Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and
> Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first
> encountered AccessiBe
> at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers,
> visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When
> they
> got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting
> them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
> "And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was
> getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access
> the site
> because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they
> did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that
> organize a
> website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
> Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response
> AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling,
> which she
> declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated
> prompts to enable AccessiBe.
> "As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of
> annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game,
> where they just
> can't access that website or that service."
> April Glaser
> April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in
> San Francisco.
> article end
>
>
> https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720
>
>
>
>
> Peace Be With You.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>






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Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Pamela Dominguez
 

Neither have I, but it makes me wonder if that's why I suddenly have trouble with websites. I never heard of these automated things that companies use, and don't know what they do. Pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: Victor
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 3:09 AM
To: main@techtalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Hi Janet:

Thank you for sharing this article. I’ve never heard of this particular company, but the article was interesting and this issue is always of interest to me. I’ve just shared it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Thanks,

Victor
On May 16, 2021, at 10:53 PM, Janet <janet.harvard@outlook.com> wrote:

Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share.

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.

The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.











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Re: kendall reader for pc

Dave
 

I think there is only one version of this Reader now. 


The same program is used by everyone.


]

On 5/18/2021 1:03 PM, heather albright wrote:

Hello, cant find the accessible kendall reader from amazon. Does anyone know where I can find this program? The one I had does not work anymore. Thanks so much.

Heather

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Gene
 

I’ve tried to find information online but I haven’t found anything.  Perhaps others know.
 
My recollection from what I’ve seen on lists is that such citations are generally before the article.  Others may have seen the opposite practice predominate. 
 
Gene

----Original Message-----
From: Gene
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 6:26 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!
 
It would be interesting to know if there is a standard for doing this.  I put the information at the top so people can know where it comes from before they read the actual article.  I think at times, people would want to know that in advance
 
Gene
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 4:59 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!
 

I have always put  mine at the  bottom, too.

I always right: “Source: “first on a new line, then the next line down the actual link will appear.

Just how I do it.:)

John

 

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 5:07 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

I may not have read far enough even though I’ve read full articles.  I may have stopped before the link at the bottom.  others may comment but my observation is that such information is usually at the tops of messages.  Also, I’m not speaking as a list owner in this case, something I should have stated to keep things clear.  I’m speaking as a member and this isn’t any sort of reqquirement.  It’s a request for ease of finding the attribution.

 

Gene

-----Original Messsage-----

From: Janet

Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 3:40 PM

Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

HI Gene,

Your recollection is definitely wrong, as I’ve never sent an email article to your list without including the link in which the article came from.  I’m sorry to hear you don’t approve of where I copy and paste the link though.  No problems, as I won’t do that again. 

 

Janet

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 6:18 AM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

I’ll say that you evidently gave an address at the end of the article which is good.  But my recollection is that you often don’t.  I'f I’m wrong, I apologize.  As I recall, attributions are usually given before an article.

 

Gene

-----Original Message-----

From: Janet

Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:53 AM

Subject: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share. 

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.





Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Gene
 

It would be interesting to know if there is a standard for doing this.  I put the information at the top so people can know where it comes from before they read the actual article.  I think at times, people would want to know that in advance
 
Gene

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 4:59 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!
 

I have always put  mine at the  bottom, too.

I always right: “Source: “first on a new line, then the next line down the actual link will appear.

Just how I do it.:)

John

 

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 5:07 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

I may not have read far enough even though I’ve read full articles.  I may have stopped before the link at the bottom.  others may comment but my observation is that such information is usually at the tops of messages.  Also, I’m not speaking as a list owner in this case, something I should have stated to keep things clear.  I’m speaking as a member and this isn’t any sort of reqquirement.  It’s a request for ease of finding the attribution.

 

Gene

-----Original Messsage-----

From: Janet

Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 3:40 PM

Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

HI Gene,

Your recollection is definitely wrong, as I’ve never sent an email article to your list without including the link in which the article came from.  I’m sorry to hear you don’t approve of where I copy and paste the link though.  No problems, as I won’t do that again. 

 

Janet

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 6:18 AM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

I’ll say that you evidently gave an address at the end of the article which is good.  But my recollection is that you often don’t.  I'f I’m wrong, I apologize.  As I recall, attributions are usually given before an article.

 

Gene

-----Original Message-----

From: Janet

Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:53 AM

Subject: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share. 

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.





Re: Listen To Music While Managing Your Files

Marco Curralejo
 

Hello everyone,

 

We welcome you to episode 85 of the Blind Tech Guys. As always, thanks so much for taking the time out of your day to tune in.

 

On this episode of the pod, we compare the web apps of Dropbox and Google Drive, Nimer demonstrates Spotify on the web, and in our Did You Know section, Marco continues our settings series by running us through sound settings on a Samsung S21 Ultra.

 

To check this episode out, head on over to the Blind Tech Guys website, where you can easily subscribe and listen in your favourite podcast player, or you can simply ask your smart speaker to "play the latest episode of the Blind Tech Guys podcast".

 

Warm regards,

 

Marco Curralejo

 


Re: Apple Brass Reportedly Hushed Up iPhone Hack!

Pamela Dominguez
 

This is scary as hell, and shame on Apple, and, for that matter, any other company who decides to take that route! Pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: Janet
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 6:52 PM
To: 'main@TechTalk.groups.io'
Subject: [TechTalk] Apple Brass Reportedly Hushed Up iPhone Hack!

Happy Sunday Everyone!
I just came across this scary BUT interesting article, I thought I would share.

Janet

Apple Brass Reportedly Hushed Up iPhone Hack
Millions of phones affected
by
Sascha Brodsky
Published May 11, 2021 11:23AM EDT
fact checked by
Rich Scherr

Apple executives didn't tell users about a 2015 hack of 128 million iPhones, according to a new report.
The hack was first uncovered when Apple employees started looking into malicious App Store apps, according to
Ars Technica.
Eventually, the company found 2,500 malicious apps that had been downloaded 203 million times.

News that Apple knew of the hacking came recently during Epic Games' ongoing lawsuit. An
email entered into court
shows that managers were aware of the problem. "...Due to the large number of customers potentially affected, do we want to send an email to all of them?"
Matthew Fischer, vice president of the App Store, wrote in the email. However, the hacks were never made public by Apple.
The malicious apps were developed using a counterfeit copy of Apple's iOS and OS X app development tool, Xcode. The fake software put harmful code alongside
normal app functions.
Once the code was installed, the iPhones slipped out of the control of their owners. The iPhones communicated with a remote server and revealed device
information, including the infected app's name, the app-bundle identifier, network information, the device's "identifier for vendor" details, and the device
name, type, and unique identifier, Ars Technica reported.
Observers were critical of Apple's decision not to inform users about the hack.
"Seems they feared public outrage and backlash more than standing up and telling customers about the potential risks involved."
"The key here for Apple is to clearly outline the impact to the end-user and not just send out a technical alert and update that is embedded in their release
notes," Setu Kulkarni, a vice president at
cybersecurity firm WhiteHat Security,
said in an email interview.
The hacks highlight potential security problems with apps, Dirk Schrader, a vice president at cybersecurity firm
New Net Technologies,
said in an email interview.
"Both large app stores, Google's Play Store, as well as Apple's, are essentially a large malware distribution platform if not managed well," he added.
"That email, and Apple's decision not to inform customers and the public, demonstrates what that means. Seems they feared public outrage and backlash more
than standing up and telling customers about the potential risks involved."
Thanks for letting us know!


https://www.lifewire.com/apple-brass-reportedly-hushed-up-iphone-hack-5184351?tm_term=

Peace Be With You.








--
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

John Holcomb II
 

I have always put  mine at the  bottom, too.

I always right: “Source: “first on a new line, then the next line down the actual link will appear.

Just how I do it.:)

John

 

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 5:07 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

I may not have read far enough even though I’ve read full articles.  I may have stopped before the link at the bottom.  others may comment but my observation is that such information is usually at the tops of messages.  Also, I’m not speaking as a list owner in this case, something I should have stated to keep things clear.  I’m speaking as a member and this isn’t any sort of reqquirement.  It’s a request for ease of finding the attribution.

 

Gene

-----Original Messsage-----

From: Janet

Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 3:40 PM

Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

HI Gene,

Your recollection is definitely wrong, as I’ve never sent an email article to your list without including the link in which the article came from.  I’m sorry to hear you don’t approve of where I copy and paste the link though.  No problems, as I won’t do that again. 

 

Janet

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 6:18 AM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

I’ll say that you evidently gave an address at the end of the article which is good.  But my recollection is that you often don’t.  I'f I’m wrong, I apologize.  As I recall, attributions are usually given before an article.

 

Gene

-----Original Message-----

From: Janet

Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:53 AM

Subject: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share. 

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.





Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Gene
 

I may not have read far enough even though I’ve read full articles.  I may have stopped before the link at the bottom.  others may comment but my observation is that such information is usually at the tops of messages.  Also, I’m not speaking as a list owner in this case, something I should have stated to keep things clear.  I’m speaking as a member and this isn’t any sort of reqquirement.  It’s a request for ease of finding the attribution.
 
Gene
-----Original Messsage-----

From: Janet
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 3:40 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!
 

HI Gene,

Your recollection is definitely wrong, as I’ve never sent an email article to your list without including the link in which the article came from.  I’m sorry to hear you don’t approve of where I copy and paste the link though.  No problems, as I won’t do that again. 

 

Janet

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 6:18 AM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

I’ll say that you evidently gave an address at the end of the article which is good.  But my recollection is that you often don’t.  I'f I’m wrong, I apologize.  As I recall, attributions are usually given before an article.

 

Gene

-----Original Message-----

From: Janet

Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:53 AM

Subject: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share. 

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.






Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Janet
 

Gene,

I clearly always state where the article came from, once again, I’ve never sent an email article to your list without showing where the article came from, as well as who wrote the article, as well as the link to the exact same article in which I read the article from.  No problems though, as this won’t happen again.   

 

Janet

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 6:14 AM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

Please state where articles come from and it would be a good idea to provide the address of the page, copied from the address bar so people both know the source of the material and can easily direct others to it.

 

Gene

-----Original Message-----

From: Janet

Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:53 AM

Subject: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share. 

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.






Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Janet
 

HI Gene,

Your recollection is definitely wrong, as I’ve never sent an email article to your list without including the link in which the article came from.  I’m sorry to hear you don’t approve of where I copy and paste the link though.  No problems, as I won’t do that again. 

 

Janet

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 6:18 AM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

I’ll say that you evidently gave an address at the end of the article which is good.  But my recollection is that you often don’t.  I'f I’m wrong, I apologize.  As I recall, attributions are usually given before an article.

 

Gene

-----Original Message-----

From: Janet

Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:53 AM

Subject: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share. 

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.






kendall reader for pc

heather albright
 

Hello, cant find the accessible kendall reader from amazon. Does anyone know where I can find this program? The one I had does not work anymore. Thanks so much.

Heather

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 


Got Windows 10 21H1 today

Loy
 

Got Windows 10 21H1 today. It was a quick update and did not affect any programs.


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Mike B.
 


Hi Holly,
 
Got it,thanks much.
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.

----- Original Message -----
From: Holly
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Mike:
 
Here is the link to the article about this issue.
 


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Holly
 

Mike:
 
Here is the link to the article about this issue.
 


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Mike B.
 


Holly,
 
I haven't followed this thread, so what extension is needed?  Thanks much.
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.

----- Original Message -----
From: Holly
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 8:14 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Gene:
 
So all I have to do is download the extension from the Chrome store and all will be fixed?
 
Thanks


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Gene
 

I didn’t look in detail about what is available.  If the article says an extension will solve the problem, then installing it as you do any extension should do so.  If you are going to use an ad blocker, evidently the two mentioned in the article I sent I believe to this list shoould do so.  I  believe Ublock Origin (spellingP) is better thought of and at least in my case, did a better job of vlocking ads but being only one person, it would be good if others comment on that.
 
Gene

-----Original Message-----
From: Holly
Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 10:14 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!
 
Gene:
 
So all I have to do is download the extension from the Chrome store and all will be fixed?
 
Thanks


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Holly
 

Gene:
 
So all I have to do is download the extension from the Chrome store and all will be fixed?
 
Thanks

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