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 Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum

Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum: Special Workshop - Towards an Accessible Internet for People with Disabilities

  • New Delhi, India
  • August 4, 2014
  • Venue: Tapas 2, Crowne Plaza Greater Noida
  • Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum - August 3-6, 204
As the Internet seeks to add the next two billion users, a significant proportion of these new users will originate from the Asia-Pacific-Oceania region. These new users–particularly those from remote geographies, poor educational & socio-economic backgrounds, diverse linguistic backgrounds, people with disabilities, and women–will need affirmative action to ensure that they are not left behind.People with disabilities are usually outliers in the use of the Internet. Combined with poverty and cultural attitudes against disability, people living with disability—both existing Internet users and new users—would be doubly disadvantaged.The Internet can open up many opportunities. Policies for digital inclusion are having an impact on improved accessibility to the Internet for people with disability, but more needs to be done.

In India, availability of special care facilities to persons with disabilities has been is traditionally very low despite some progressive legislation, but this appears to be changing. The 2013 circular by the Medical Council of India mandates all medical institutions to be disabled-friendly and asked for immediate compliance reporting. This may be a good time to push for further support to accessibility on the Internet.

Specific Issues of Discussion:
Based on necessity, innovation in the disability sector is strong. Many mainstream applications started as specific solutions for people with disability. These include the scanner—initially a reading machine for blind people and speech recognition software— which was designed for people who could not use a keyboard because of physical disability. Today, several robust and affordable technology initiatives in different parts of the world, including many based on Open Source software, are available. These include enhanced accessibility services in Operating Systems (including Windows, Linux, MacOS, and Android), screen readers, braille devices, mobile phone apps (including touchscreen and spatial gestures for input), eye/head-driven entry tools, and foot/puff switches.

This workshop will firstly provide context on accessibility to the Internet for people with disability and what impact it has on participation in education and employment and being an active part of the community.

Secondly, international policies will be outlined including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the NETmundial Multi-Stakeholder Statement of Sao Paulo. ISOC’s Issues Paper on Internet Accessibility will be detailed together with the work of G3ict on disability and ICT.

Thirdly, examples of hardware and software applications designed to meet the needs of people with disability will be examined and demonstrated. In addition, the increase use of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) on the Internet and its impact on people with disability will also be discussed.

The workshop panelists will suggest ways that accessibility for people with disability and their participation can form an integral part of Internet governance process.

  • Mr. Satish Babu, Director, International Centre for Free and Open Source Software
  • Mr. Sunil Abraham, Executive Director of Centre for Internet and Society, India
  • Mr. Dipendra Manocha, DAISY Consortium
  • Ms. Gunela Astbrink, Director of ISOC Australia (Remote)
  • Mr. Arun Mehta, President, BAPSI

For more details, please visit event webpage at http://2014.rigf.asia/agenda/workshop-proposals/workshop-proposal-5/.