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Tech at Night: Accessibility, UN, Nokia, FCC

Tech at Night

Good evening. I’ve been getting some warnings for a while now about the possible next frontier in Internet regulation. I still haven’t digested it all myself, but I wanted to get the idea out there for people to think about, and be watchful for.

The Access Board is a government agency that sets rules for websites as directed under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. It only applies to government websites. I see nothing to fear here right now. However this sort of thing could grow, first to federal contractors over a certain size, then all contractors, then to all businesses over a certain size… you get the idea.

After all, there’s already a push at the UN to declare it a Right to have accessible websites. I’m all for accessibility. I’ve long written HTML and supported good coding practices that naturally help accessibility. But I’m not for a nanny state, sorry.

Another clipping for the “Why do we need regulation, again?” file: the new CEO of Nokia says the US is the world leader in smartphone innovation, and you know why that is? Because our wireless phone and Internet markets are wild and competitive. A firm like T-Mobile USA had incentive to give Google Android a shot, and now suddenly the iPhone has some competition. Hardware and service innovation and competition are feeding into each other. It’s a great thing, and regulation would only mess this up.

Oh, are these people supposed to be trusted to regulate the Internet again? The FCC has 57 employees who owe the IRS back taxes for a total of over $710,000 dollars, or an average of over $10,000 per person. I’m going to be up late getting mine done, but they can’t be bothered? And we’re supposed to trust that they will use “forbearance” when they say so? No, thank you.

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