Feds Move Technology Access Deadline
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 2, 2003
WASHINGTON, DC--Government employees will not have to follow federal accessibility guidelines when using credit cards to purchase low-cost technology products for another 21 months.
Section 508 is part of the 2001 Federal Acquisition Regulation which requires the federal government to purchase technology products that are accessible to people with disabilities. Those products include computers, fax machines, and Internet Web sites.
When the rule was originally enacted, lawmakers decided credit card purchases under $2,500 would be exempt until January 1, 2003.
Unfortunately, many companies still do not provide accessibility information to purchasers about their products, so purchasers could not make informed decisions.
The federal government, determining that the lack of information on commercial product labels makes it impractical to enforce the guidelines, Tuesday extended the exemption to October 1, 2004.
In its rule, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council, said "By October 1, 2004, we are hopeful that vendors will provide statements related to product conformance to the Section 508 standards as part of their marketing information and their outer packaging label."
The councils noted that the move should not be seen as a lack of commitment to accessibility on the government's part, according to the Federal Computer Week.