FCC, Brian Scott Pelley, Brian Scott discussed on Marketplace Tech with Molly Wood
The Americans with Disabilities Act turned thirty this summer and we're spending the whole week on tech accessibility. This year also marks a decade since the twenty first century communications and Video Accessibility Act which has federal rules for things like streaming video, mobile browsers, and teleconferencing software regulators of the federal communications. Commission are in charge of making sure people follow that law and they get help from the FCC's disability. Advisory Commission Brian Scott Pelley is co chair of that group and also senior Global Policy Council for the APP Association. He says tech has definitely outpaced the law. If you go back to a time when everyone accessed television through. Bunny ears on television. You had one modality you know, and you could you could work on a single solution essentially for that one modality nowadays with the advancement of video streaming, all different kinds of modalities how can accessibility be enhanced and all these new modalities for example, with captioning an issue that may pop up for people is that they're trying to watch a news story about emergency and there'll be a crawl on the television, and then sometimes the closed captioning function may go over the crawl obscure that language. They're definitely not things that anyone designed for their just issues that are being realized and worked on in real time. I'm looking at some of the bullet points on this twenty ten law and it says, it requires video programming that's closed caption on TV, to be closed caption when it's distributed on the Internet. But if it's an Internet only program, it's not required to have close captioning. Under the law that's correct, which is wild because so much in our streaming heavy world. Now things start out on the Internet what does that mean for accessibility right? That's correct that really is probably one of the most compelling use cases that speaks to that tension between evolution in technology and evolution how media is. Distributed and consumed. There's voluntary efforts by the leading platforms to enhance accessibility that that I think a lot of people rely on and that they work to improve on is fixing this kind of problem whether it be on closed captioning or audio descriptions for videos is this something that the FCC can do with rules or does the law have to change or something else? It could be a combination of all those I suppose is what would the typical lawyer would answer for you but? Under that current law, it is probably unlikely that the commission can go and compel mandate the companies do that however constructs like the DAC are really essential for exchanging information and taking in feedback, for example, for voluntary efforts, as well as for handling efforts that relate to compliance with the law. One of the things that's very interesting about accessibility law in the US is that it can be different depending on where you live. So for example, the FCC recently said it would expand a the requirement for audio descriptions on video from the top sixty TV markets to the top one hundred markets. What about everybody else they're trying to find that balance between not over-burdening some providers of those services mean like small. TV stations in things. Exactly. So will we ever fully achieve a truly accessible technology ecosystem? Answer's probably no that's always going to be a goal that we're going to be searching for because they'll be new issues that will continue to arise that is an approach. The idea that a smaller market may be exempted for some time from a requirement to move us towards that goal several of the folks we've talked to. Related to disability in say, accessibility needs to be designed in from the beginning and what you just mentioned about. We may never reach the goal of complete accessibility kind of speaks to that. What do you think the opportunity cost is of companies and regulators still needing to do work in some cases on the basic issues related to accessibility in tech. Well I would say I could not agree more with the viewpoints that you were just mentioning you're hearing from some other folks and you know the idea it's a little bit of a buzz phrase when people say ex by design accessibility by design though I think is a very important concept the idea that from the very early phases from design and initial implementation when that coating starts, for example, to build an APP when the product is just starting to be build. Prototypes and things like that. That accessibility is in the is is top of mind then and built in from the get-go the opportunity cost is immense. If you don't build accessibility in by design, there's also the the business reality sixty, one, million Americans have at least one disability right now. So if you ignore accessibility in a product, that's a poor business practice, you're excluding twenty, six percent potentially of the market Brian Scott. PELLEY IS CO chair of the FCC's disability advisory. Committee..