"Digital freedom for people with disabilities in the 21st"
Digital freedom for people with disabilities in the 21st century A research project funded by the Research Council of Norway 2006-2008 1 Research Team • General project manager: Professor Jan Tøssebro, Department of Social Work and Health Science • Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway • Partners: Professor Gerard Quinn (National University of Ireland), University Professor Peter Blanck (Syracuse University, New York State), Dr Bjørn Hvinden (Head of Research, NOVA Norwegian Social Research, Oslo) and Dr Rune Halvorsen (NTNU Social Research, Trondheim). • Country experts: Dr Anna Lawson (University of Leeds), Professor Theresia Degener (Protestant University of Applied Sciences in Bochum, Germany), Patricia Bregman (Toronto), Dr Rosemary Kayess (University of New South Wales, Australia), Ronan Kennedy (NUI Galway, Ireland) • Advisory Board: Professor Chris McCrudden (Oxford University), Professor Michael Stein (Harvard University), Director Judy Brewer (M3C and MIT) 2 Background • New information and communication technology (ICT) has the potential of improving the life quality, the participation and effective freedom of people with disabilities. – telecoms, hardware, software, electronic commerce, public information services, internet, broadcast and interactive services. • This potential tends, however, not to be fully realised in practice, even in affluent and highly developed societies. • Some ways of using ICT may even create new barriers to participation and effectively prevent access and equal opportunities 3 Technology adoption and expertise in some Western countries • The Nordic countries and the USA top global technology indexes, with Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and the USA as the leading countries and Norway ranking a bit lower (The World Economic Forum 2006, IDC 2006). • Norway has a relatively larger consumption of ICT per capita compared to the United States. – In 1999 mobile subscriptions constituted 42% of all telephone subscriptions in Norway as compared to 29% in the United States (Knorr 4 2002). Research objectives • The project will clarify under which conditions ICT can contribute to social inclusion of people with disabilities. • Comparative cross-national study of 1. Policy and institutional design, e.g. regulatory systems, and systems of implementation, supervision and monitoring. 2. A legal analysis of right-based strategies to strengthen access to environments for people with disabilities, internationally and nationally. • Compares legal and policy regimes in USA, Australia and Western Europe (DK, IR, NO, NL, S, UK) – Norway is not particularly advanced in this area but has a large potential. – A dynamic field with rapid changes – About to establish a reference group of relevant stakeholders, including organizations of people with disabilities 5 Social regulation policies • Social regulation policies will remedy market failures rather than to compensate for the unwanted social effects of (biased) competition in the market. • It involves government efforts to influence the functioning of markets and the behaviour of non- governmental actors with a view to promoting social objectives either by way of legislation, financial incentives, persuasion or a combination thereof. • A basic assumption is to correct market failures that is not avoided or even created by the liberty of choices of the actors in the market. 6 Types of social regulation policy • Rest on different assumptions about how one may influence non-governmental actors. 1. Legislation presupposes that it is possible to force actors to behave in certain manners, or at least prevent them for behaving in unwanted ways, given the prospects of punishment if they do not comply with the rules. 2. Financial incentives presuppose that it is possible to get actors to act in certain ways, even if they do not have to, because these ways are cost-effective or profitable. 3. Persuasion presupposes that it is possible to have actors behave in a certain manner by convincing them that it is morally and normatively right to do so, and that it would affect their conscience and self-respect if they did not comply with the moral standards of society. • The distinction between the types of policy measures is analytic. In practice, there will be intermediary cases. Additionally there will be opportunities to combine the three types of policy measures. 7 Social regulation policies • Standardisation (voluntary and mandatory) • Public procurement rules • Third party benchmarking • Consultations, information, awareness raising • Financial support to the adoptions of new and updated hardware and software • Research and Development (stimulate to and support production of new inventions) 8 Redistributive policies • providing financial support to individuals to acquire appropriate ICT (given the nature of their impairments and their situation) • covering all or some of the costs of accommodating ICT to the requirements in particular situations • often state-financed assistance and 9 services Scandinavian countries • All three countries are affluent and have highly developed and encompassing public systems of income maintenance and services, aiming at an equalisation of life chances and opportunities. • Extensive public redistribution of resources is complemented by various measures of social regulation (e.g. in the areas like health, safety, work and other forms of physical environments). • Although many regulatory measures aim at preventing problems and minimising needs that the redistributive measures otherwise would have to deal with, the exact relationship between „regulation‟ and „redistribution‟ is not clear. Scandinavian policy-makers have intended a mutually supportive and interdependent relationship between the two. • Yet, there are several indications that redistributive measures are more strongly developed and elaborate than regulatory measures, creating an imbalance in the overall social protection systems of the Scandinavian countries 10 Norwegian ICT policy • Until recently more focus has been on individual accommodation when the needs arise and technical aids, to a large extent financed by the state than on standardization and DFA. • Already in 1983 the Norwegian government stated that „pupils with special needs‟ should be favored in the context of introduction of computer technology in education (White paper 1983). • The emphasis was on ICT as assistive technology to compensate for impairments, ICT-supported learning and teaching of ICT as a subject in itself. Later reports built on the same basic notions (White papers 1989, 1993). 11 Norwegian ICT policy • Early attempts at developing a national ICT policy were characterized by difficulties in coordinating different government ministries, industry and commerce, and reluctance to develop standards that could have improved product compatibility. • The Norwegian ICT industry believed in the free competition in the market and hesitated to participate in standardization activities, whether national or European. • Government Ministries had partly different agendas, perspectives on and interests related to ICT. • Despite the identification of ICT as important for employment, economic growth and industrial competitiveness in information society, public policy efforts were weakly coordinated and the initiative tended to be left to private market actors. 12 Norwegian ICT policy • In the 1990s the Norwegian authorities increasingly expressed concern for the unequal distribution of computers and training in their use; the digital divide. • The unexpectedly large increase in the use of personal computers from the early 1990s („the PC revolution‟) reinforced the government‟s concern about social divisions – especially along lines of age, gender, income and education – in computer skills and access (Frønes 2002). • stimulated by „eGovernment‟ becoming a priority area in the European Union (EC 2005). • the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), has also influenced the policy agenda in Norway. 13 Norwegian ICT policy • An inter-ministerial working group called for improved coordination of efforts, more intensified information and user involvement, compliance with the WAI standards and review of public procurement legislation, telecom and broadcast licenses and participation in ISOs (Government Report 2001). • The government action program “eNorway 2005” identified accommodation of ICT as a means of promoting social inclusion of people with special needs. • The government established an information and counseling office on accessibility in 2001 (The Delta Center) under the Directorate for Health and Social Affairs. The center has published two guides to accessible web pages for use in public procurement and web design (Asplund 2006, Brynn 2006). 14 Norwegian ICT policy • From 2002 the Norwegian government gave the Ministry of the Environment the mandate to coordinate efforts to achieve universal design and strengthen the overall impact of these efforts. • The Ministry launched an information campaign about universal design during the European Year for Disabled People in 2003. • Two successive government plans – one on universal design (2002- 2004) and one on improved accessibility (2004-2009) – have helped to coordinate the government initiatives on accessibility across various sectors. • In 2004 Standards Norway, The Norwegian Electrotechnical Committee and The Norwegian Post and Telecommunication Authority - the three main standardization organizations (SDOs) in Norway - presented an action plan for the promotion of universal design (Standard Norge 2004). 15 Norwegian ICT policy • New public procurement legislation in 2006 (corresponding to Directive 2004/18/EC) – Art 6: State, municipal and county authorities and governmental liable bodies shall during the planning of each procurement allow for life cycle costs, universal design and environmental consequences of the procurement. – Not mentioned accessibility for people with disabilities – implementation postponed to 1 January 2007) 16 Norwegian ICT policy • Proposal for Act relating to prohibition against discrimination on the basis of disability (from 2007 at the earliest) (green paper 2005) – Public undertakings and private undertakings that offer goods and services to the general public are required to make active and targeted efforts regarding general accommodation (universal design) provided this does not entail an undue burden for the undertaking. – Duty to individual accommodation – Buildings, constructions and outdoor areas intended for the use of the public shall be subject to universal design by 2009/ 2019 (also transport and ICT?) • The Norwegian government will present a new white paper on its general ICT policy this autumn. It is expected that this will have a chapter on accessibility for people with disabilities. 17 Other Western Countries • Comparative research suggests that other affluent countries have other ways of mixing redistribution and regulation, than the one(s) found in the Scandinavian countries. • Some authors have even indicated that in some countries social regulations dominate too much, at the expense of public redistributive measures, e.g. social insurance or subsidies for mandated accommodation. – Relatively strong regulations in the USA – But at the same time much to be done to achieve full accessibility and usability of ICT also in the USA. 18 EU equal opportunity policy • disabling barriers to participation has been conceived as market imperfections that prevent the free movement of people, capital, goods and services. • it has been assumed that the principle of meritocracy to operate effectively presupposes or requires equal opportunities for all. • stereotypic images about the capacities and skills of people with impairments have been considered and presented as irrational behaviour in the market that prevents the achievement of a more competitive economy, an increased employment rate and productivity. • coordinated standardisation on European and international level have been seen as an opportunity to prevent incompatible product and service standards, 19 something that would generate barriers to the single Standardisation in the EU • From the mid-1980s the EU has delegated the technical specification of standards to the main European standardisation bodies, – the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), – the European Committee for Electro-technical Standardization (CENELEC) and – the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). • SDOs have since the mid 1980s often developed in co- operation between public authorities, business, the social partners and consumer interest associations as forms of joint governance. • The technical standards are voluntary in the sense that producers who develop alternative solutions and are able to prove that they meet the requirements of the EU cannot be excluded from the market (Egan 20 1998, Mattli 2003). EU existing legislation • Directive 1999/5/EC (“RTTE”) – attributes the competence to the Commission to require that specific classes of radio and telecommunications terminal equipment shall support certain features in order to be usable for people with disabilities. (never been used?) • Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and user‟s rights in relation to electronic communications networks and services – national authorities can impose obligations on undertakings in order to ensure that public pay telephones are provided to meet the reasonable needs of end users, including accessibility for people with disabilities. • Directive 2000/18/EC Public procurement • Preamble to Directive 2000/78/EC : equipment included in regulation on reasonable accommodation 21 Focus on eInclusion in the EU • 1996 conference on ICT standardisation and disability in Amsterdam. • 1998 the EU commissioned an independent report on DFA and business practice (TAP 1998). • December 1999 the European Commission launched the initiative “eEurope – An Information Society for All”. • June 2000 a more detailed action plan was approved. This included an action to publish DFA standards for accessibility in ICT products. The activities included the development of DFA guidelines to be used by ESOs in all standardisation work. • 2001 the Council adopted a resolution on e-inclusion (OJ C 292 of 18.10.2001) • 2002 resolution stating that Member States should improve their efforts to implement the WAI standards (OJ C 86 of 10.04.2002). 22 Focus on eInclusion in the EU II • The Commission Communication "Challenges for the European Information Society beyond 2005” COM (2004) 757 final • The eEurope 2005 Action Plan moved “accessibility for all” into a wider e-Inclusion horizontal action. – This mainstreaming requires that accessibility is considered as an issue in all relevant directives. • eAccessibility is part of eInclusion in the third pillar of i2010 “A European Information Society for growth and employment”. – The framework both promotes the development of a competitive digital economy and ICT as a driver of social inclusion. • June 2006 Riga ICT for an Inclusive Society Conference – Ministerial Declaration of 11 June 2006. 23 European Union policy • End 2005 Standardisation mandate to the ESO‟s in support of European accessibility requirements for public procurement of products and services in the ICT domain – Accepted the mandate in March 2006. Will contract before end June. – Will work for 18 months. – Spain will serve as secretariat. • The Commission now considers possible new legislation and a more consistent and comprehensive strategy to enforce e-Accessibility 24