[nfbwatlk] FW: [nabs-l] confused - regarding - NFB Google Apps complaint

Jacob Struiksma lawnmower84 at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 22 17:59:12 CDT 2011

Greetings, for a variety of reasons, I usually try to stay silent on most of
the interesting issues discussed on this list.  Mostly, it is an issue of
time.  I appreciate very much the spirited debate and exploration of ideas
among the student group.  As many of you may know, I served as President of
NABS in the early 1990's and therefore have a very fond place in my heart
for student matters.

With respect to the issue at hand, I guess you might say that  I am  a part
of the "they" that everyone keeps tossing around.  My good friend Dave
Andrews is right to say that there has been a great deal of far flung
speculation and off target surmising regarding the motivation of the NFB in
this Google matter.

We affect our advocacy initiatives through a variety of means, some of which
are legal complaints filed both in court and with administrative agencies. 
Any direct legal action is first carefully considered  and then executed
just as carefully.  All of our legal actions are anchored in one way or the
other in Federation policy as adopted by the National Convention and through
the resolution process.  Ultimately, Dr. Maurer, our President, makes the
call on a day-to-day basis about the legal matters we pursue.  I have worked
with Dr. Maurer on these matters in one way or the other ever since I
graduated law school in 1993.  I assure you that he is very judicious and
mindful of the Federation resources we expend on legal advocacy.

With specific respect to Google, we have called  upon them to create
accessible applications for a long time.  We continue to have meetings with
Google and recently we have hopefully found the right people within the
corporate labyrinth to be engaging.  I suspect you will be hearing from Dr. 
Maurer soon about these recent initiatives.

It is essentially true that we cannot direct legal complaints directly at
Google because of the current structure of the law.  That is why we have
structured these complaints against educational entities who use Google
apps. We have to make it clear to entities who use products like those of
Google that we will no longer tolerate inaccessibility when accessibility
can readily be achieved either by fixing the underlying problem with the
particular provider or using some other provider.

Additionally, the filing of DOJ complaints is a very useful method and
allows for more flexibility, in many ways, than simply filing a lawsuit in a
traditional court of law.  Over the years, we have achieved many
comprehensive and creative settlements with DOJ involved.

This time in history is critical.  We will either stake out our rightful
place in the information age or that age will race right past us.  There are
many ways to achieve our objective, one of them is the pursuit of well
targeted legal complaints.  Other ways include legislative approaches such
as our introduction of the Technology Bill of Rights into the Congress. 
Once we get this legislation passed, a whole variety of technology
manufacturers including software companies will have to consider nonvisual
access on the front end of their designs.  Also, we continue to educate
technology providers of the importance of nonvisual access through a variety
of means.

The rapid growth of technology presents us with great opportunity.  However,
if we do not insist upon nonvisual accessibility now, a great deal of the
future infrastructure will be built in such a way that it will become much
more expensive to fix the system  after it is already built.  When we have
meaningful nonvisual access, technology can open the same doors to us that
are available to the sighted.  If we don't have such nonvisual access, the
barriers we face can become tremendous.  Information technology has become
such an integral part of every day life that our independence is directly
tied to the ability to access this technology.  Failure to act at this
crucial time in history will set us farther out of the mainstream than we
have been before.

That is why we, the NFB, are so active in these technology based cases.  We
pursue with equal vigor legislative and educational solutions as well .
Respectfully yours,  I am, Scott C. LaBarre, Esq.

LaBarre Law Offices P.C.
1660 South Albion Street, Ste. 918
Denver, Colorado 80222
303 504-5979 (voice)
303 757-3640 (fax)
slabarre at labarrelaw.com (e-mail)
www.labarrelaw.com (website)

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----- Original Message -----
From: "David Andrews" <dandrews at visi.com>
To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list" 
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 4:02 AM
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] confused - regarding - NFB Google Apps complaint

> Frankly, you and others are getting ridiculous in your speculation, 
> attribution of motives etc.  We don't sue Google directly, because 
> there are no grounds.  There is no law that says they have to develop 
> accessible applications.  There are laws that govern what others, like 
> universities do, they may not be able to use inaccessible apps, but 
> that doesn't mean that somebody couldn't sell them.
> Also, these things do not happen in a vacuum, or with out much 
> consideration.  For someone to suggest that the NFB has not tried to 
> contact, and work with Google is naive at best.  Also, lawsuits are 
> expensive, time consuming, and disastrous if we loose.  So, these 
> things aren't lightly done, or just done to get publicity.
> Come on guys ..... think.  We are not a bunch of idiots!
> David Andrews
> At 05:31 PM 3/16/2011, you wrote:
>>The only reason for doing this that makes sense to me is the NFB not 
>>wanting to get in to a long, drawn-out court battle with google.  I 
>>know the Federation has money to spare...but going up against the 
>>likes of google and winning would take a lot of money and, probably, 
>>litigation.  So maybe they see this as a way to bring about some 
>>limited improvements and set a precident for the future?  Sounds like 
>>a stretch, but it's all I can think of.
>>   Best,
>>On 3/16/11, Laura Glowacki <orangebutterfly87 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > I agree.  Google has done a lot in the past with seeking feedback 
>> > from users on accessibility.  Obviously there are still things that 
>> > need to be worked on, but has anyone actually approached google and 
>> > offer to help with that process?
>> >
>> >
>> > ----- Original Message -----
>> > From: "Jorge Paez" <jorgeapaez at mac.com>
>> > To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
>> > <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
>> > Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 3:39 PM
>> > Subject: Re: [nabs-l] confused - regarding - NFB Google Apps 
>> > complaint
>> >
>> >
>> > I don't know,
>> > this just sounds odd considering how much talk there has been on 
>> > this very list about precisely how accessible Google Apps are.
>> >
>> > Seems like a weird move by the leadership if they're trying to get 
>> > attention.
>> >
>> > And get attention for what exactly?
>> >
>> > Jorge
>> >
>> >
>> > On Mar 16, 2011, at 5:30 PM, Ignasi Cambra wrote:
>> >
>> >> I think it's true that Google could do a lot more in terms of 
>> >> accessibility, especially with Google Docs. But their email and 
>> >> calendar services are perfectly accessible. Gmail even has an HTML 
>> >> only version which is as simple as it gets. Also, the good thing 
>> >> about Google apps is that you can use them through other software. 
>> >> I use Gmail and Google calendar everyday with my Mac, but I never 
>> >> actually open the Google site for that. I get my emails through 
>> >> Imap and use iCal to look at the calendar and add events etc.
>> >> In other words, I think this complaint should have formulated 
>> >> differently. There are lots of things that can and should be 
>> >> fixed, but saying that these services are not usable by blind 
>> >> people in those universities is lying. My university uses Google 
>> >> apps, and I'm not complaining about it because I can use it...!!
>> >> On Mar 16, 2011, at 5:13 PM, Jorge Paez wrote:
>> >>
>> >>> Precisely my thoughts.
>> >>>
>> >>> Where's the NFB suing Freedom Scientific?
>> >>>
>> >>> Or Google?
>> >>>
>> >>> Gosh knows Google could do way more then any school to fix that 
>> >>> problem.
>> >>>
>> >>> Just my thoughts.
>> >>>
>> >>> Jorge
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> On Mar 16, 2011, at 4:31 PM, Nimer Jaber wrote:
>> >>>
>> >>>> Hello,
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Google Aps are accessible with screen readers that have 
>> >>>> innovated and are able to use google apps such as NVDA for 
>> >>>> example. JFW works, but very limitedly. What happened to the 
>> >>>> screen reader companies doing their jobs and making things 
>> >>>> accessible instead of the NFB getting sue-happy *gain* and 
>> >>>> complaining because screen reader companies are falling behind? 
>> >>>> I don't think that Google has _ever refused to work on 
>> >>>> accessibility for anyone. Just saying ...
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Thanks.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> On 16/03/2011, Jorge Paez <jorgeapaez at mac.com> wrote:
>> >>>>> Hello fellow NABS members.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> I'm sure most of you have heard about the complaint National 
>> >>>>> filed regarding universities using Google Apps.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>> From what I understand, GMail is completely accessible but the 
>> >>>>>> rest isn't.
>> >>>>> (I've never used anything more then Gmail in the apps as of 
>> >>>>> yet),
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> but so far, I haven't seen many people use this.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> Are we complaining because the University is mandating that 
>> >>>>> everything be done threw Google Apps (part of which is 
>> >>>>> unaccessible) or are we complaining for simply using 
>> >>>>> inaccessible web applications that could potentially pose 
>> >>>>> problems?
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> Thanks,
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> Jorge
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> _______________________________________________
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>> >>>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> --
>> >>>> Nimer M. Jaber
>> >>>>
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>> >>>> Security of your machine is up to you.
>> >>>> Thanks, and if you don't feel that you are able to comply with 
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>> >>>> Registered Linux User 529141.
>> >>>> http://counter.li.org/
>> >>>> Vinux testing and documentation coordinator To get more 
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>> >>>>
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