Google Apps slammed by advocacy group for the blind

The National Federation of the Blind wants the U.S. to probe whether Apps adoption is discriminatory against blind people

The National Federation of the Blind claims that Google Apps lacks required features for blind people and wants the U.S. government to investigate whether schools that adopt the e-mail and collaboration suite run afoul of civil rights laws.

The NFB is asking the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to probe whether New York University and Northwestern University are discriminating against blind employees and students through their use of Google Apps' Education edition.

Specifically, the NFB alleges that Google Apps applications like Gmail, Calendar and Docs contain "significant accessibility barriers" for blind people using screen access technology, which converts the contents of the computer screen into synthesized speech or Braille.

"The NFB will not tolerate this unconscionable discrimination against blind students and faculty and callous indifference to the right of blind students to receive an equal education," said Marc Maurer, the NFB's president, in a statement.

NYU and Northwestern, as well as other schools using Google Apps for Education, should suspend their use of the suite until it gains the missing accessibility features, or discard it outright, he said.

Alan Eustace, senior vice president, engineering and research at Google, said that the company had "a productive discussion" last week with Maurer.

"He shared a powerful message on the importance of accessibility. We left the meeting with a strong commitment to improving our products," Eustace said in an e-mailed statement.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Googlecloud computinginternetSoftware as a service

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?