WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2022 — Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) introduced the Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives.
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) commends Sen. Markey and Rep. Eshoo for their leadership and for introducing this legislation with the full support and collaboration of the disability community. Once passed, this legislation would update existing regulations to ensure people who are blind, low vision, and DeafBlind may access the accessible video content of their choosing, from the video service provider of their choosing, and use the video conferencing service of their choosing.
“Since I authored the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, technologies have changed. What hasn’t changed is our obligation to make sure that everyone — including people who are deaf, blind, or DeafBlind — has equal access to the services and technologies they need to thrive,” said Senator Markey. “That is why I am introducing the Communications, Video, and Accessibility Technology Act, to update current laws on the books so that we can meet the technological moment and ensure opportunity, independence, and equal access for all.”
“As technology has rapidly evolved over the last two decades, much of our economy and day-to-day lives have moved online. Unfortunately, accessibility standards have stayed largely the same, leaving people with disabilities behind. In 2020, 38% of people who were blind or had low vision reported issues with at least one of the technologies needed to do their jobs, and in 2021 as many as 70% of students who are deaf or hard of hearing reported technology challenges in the educational environment,” said Eshoo. “I’m proud to introduce legislation with Senator Markey to update current laws so people with disabilities have full access to modern technology that is necessary to participate equally in the 21st century.”
“The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 laid the foundation for accessible technology and inclusive media for people who are blind, low vision, and DeafBlind,” said Eric Bridges, ACB’s Executive Director. “Thanks to the CVAA, people who are blind, low vision, and DeafBlind have access to accessible telecommunications technology, mobile web browsers, and accessible video content. Since the CVAA was signed into law, we have witnessed unparalleled technological innovation and widespread adoption of new communications and video distribution models, by content creators and consumers alike. For these reasons, it is necessary for Congress to reaffirm our nation’s commitment to accessible communications and video technologies. The American Council of the Blind commends Sen. Markey and Rep. Eshoo for introducing the Communications, Video and Technology Accessibility Act. Once passed, the CVTA will ensure that critical communications technologies are accessible to people who are blind, low vision, and DeafBlind and reiterate our nation’s commitment to accessible media and video content, regardless of how or where it is viewed by consumers.”
This legislation is supported by the following disability and civil rights organizations: Access Living, Access Ready, American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs, Blinded Veterans Association, CommunicationsFIRST, Carroll Center for the Blind, Communication Service for the Deaf, Hearing Loss Association of America, National Association of the Deaf, National Federation of the Blind, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc., Perkins School for the Blind, and United Spinal Association.
About the American Council of the Blind: The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is a national member-driven organization representing Americans who are blind and visually impaired. For more than 60 years, ACB has become a leader in national, state, local, and even international advocacy efforts. With 68 affiliates, ACB strives to increase independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve the quality of life for all people who are blind and visually impaired. For more information, visit www.acb.org.