Are Websites “Places of Public Accommodation”?


Just so you know before reading on this is a personal overdue rant!

cursor arrow pointed to http://wwThere is a current article that makes a great case for the world wide web, being a place of public accommodation highlighting a recent Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement that may finally help answer the above question!

I’m not going to try and give you technical explanations or legal background the article does a great job of that. I just need to vent! (By the way, I found the article in the very public place called twitter.)

I personally have always found the question at hand a strange one. When is the last time you read a newspaper article online? Shopped on line? Visited a public library online? Searched for something? Why on earth would this arena not be a “public place”? We speak of public domains, Free and open access for many offerings, and insist that the tools we need to use our computers and tablets support sites to be useable and accessible. So, it seems a bit archaic to think my option to access the web for education or any other public services is up for debate!

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, we’re still, incredibly, fighting for full access to button on keyboard that says "access"buildings and their bathrooms. Too many times you can roll through the door only to find an inaccessible bathroom, or even class room. Yet, this thing called the web is so often described as an equalizer for people with disabilities. I have clearly gained from this awesome tech world.   What’s interesting is the more I get the more I want and so when I find a closed door I take it quite personally! We have screen readers, dictation and captioning software, head mice… an incredible array of software and devices to use our computers and tablets, and we still can’t get in the door!

It’s often so hard to clarify this issue when I call a bank, business, or shopping site to let them know I can’t use their site. They usually imagine I’m a beginning or inadequate user of the web. The bottom line is if you lock the door that holds your content, I can’t get in!

I know we need help, because our constant messages haven’t gotten through. I always imagine the blank stares knowing the people I’m talking to have no clue that it’s all about the coding and development behind the scenes. Ironically, not really something they can see. So, let’s go DOJ! It’s time for the hammer of justice.

Oh no looks like any final ruling is at least a year away! Why? could it be money? Do you understand my need to rant on?


What do you think? Let us know!