IGF 2016 - Day 2 - Room 6 - WS272: Sustainable Accessible Goals for persons with disabilities.


The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Jalisco, Mexico, from 5 to 9 December 2016. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


>> ANDREA SAKS: We have had to do a little bit of juggling, to get everything on, but we are on now.

We will just have that in a minute.  So welcome, everybody.  This is a sustainable accessible goals for persons with disabilities.  I'm Andrea Saks, the coordinator, we have several people (overlapping speakers) we have an introduction session where everybody says who they are quickly who is participating in the workshop.  I won't do the room because we have a good attendance.  I'll start with Francesca.  Would you like to say who you are?

>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Yes, good morning, everyone, Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Vice President of Institutional Relations of JCT IT, which is the global initiative for inclusive technologies.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Gerry, would you like to speak, please and introduce yourself?

>> GERRY ELLIS:  Good morning.  I'm Gerry Ellis from Dublin Ireland, software engineer, also a consultant on accessibility and usability under the name Feel The Benefit.

>> Good morning.  My name is Gunela Astbrink, representing Women With Disabilities Australia.  I'm also on the Australian chapter of the Internet Society, and have been working in the disability and accessibility field for 25 years.  Thank you.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Judy, you have a mic all your own.

(muffled audio.)

>> JUDY OKITE: Foundation for Africa, also certified accessibility.

>> ANDREA SAKS: We still have technical difficulties.  One of the things that we have done is the DCAD meeting will follow immediately afterwards.  As soon as we get the connection been this computer that I'm sitting in front of and the screen you can see the presentations, and we can't start until that happens, correct?  They are still trying to get this up.  In the meantime I'm going to read you the sustainable accessible goals for persons with disabilities agenda.

The opening remarks we have done.  Number 2, Internet digital accessibility and the SDGs.  2016 scorecard by Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Vice President of Institutional Relations, will be the first presentation.  Then the next one will be the goals of accessibility as a sustainable criteria for public procurement by Gerry Ellis.  Then the next presentation will be the use and nonuse of ICTs by persons with disabilities in small island developing states by Gunela Astbrink, who represents Women with Disabilities from Australia.  The next person is going to be accessibilities in the 21st century by Judy Okite, Free Software and Open Source Foundation in Africa.  I'm going to come in if there is any time left to talk about relay services for persons with disabilities, mainly people with hearing disabilities and voiceless problems to be able to communicate internationally via the telephone and the Internet, and then it is a wrap‑up.  Until we get the presentations up, we are stuck.  Unless somebody wants to wing it.  Francesca, please.

>> FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: I can give you a introduction of G3ict, what it is, and it will be best to have our slides, because I have some numbers to crunch, and I think probably if you have look of the presentations.  But I can manage even without it.

G3ict is, global initiative for inclusive technologies, is a initiative that was formed in December 2006, within the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the United Nations General Assembly.  And this year has been, we just celebrated our 10 year anniversary, actually, last Friday, which was also the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 10‑year anniversary.  Our initiative is created to promote the disposition of the convention or CRPD, on the accessibility and information and communication technologies, which is now closely related to the SDGs.

We work with the support of UNDESA, ICT industry, organizations of persons with disabilities, governments and standards development organizations, and we operate through four divisions, one of which focuses on policy, second one on institutional advocacy, third one on innovation, and the fourth one on training and certification of IT personnel.  We recently acquired the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, and so we will work more and more on training and certification.

We have, this presentation is mainly about the relations, correlations between the convention, the CRPD and the SDG.  I want to remind the impact of the convention now has been ratified in 166 countries.  The convention is really blueprint for digital and Internet accessibility.  In my slides I had a map of where I was showing the pervasive ratification and signature of countries around the world.

But it's 166 countries that have ratified.

Every year, G3ict with the support of DPI which is Disabled Peoples International, we publish a report which is called CRPD ICT accessibility progress report, which we work with different, with DPI but also with regional organizations of persons with disabilities.  For example, in Latin America we work with the network of persons with disabilities.  Let me actually move forward now.  We have available the slides.  Let me see if I can.  That was the introductory slide, G3ict and how we are formed.  This slide is a map of the world with the 166 countries that I was mentioning earlier with countries that ratified the convention and sign or just have not signed or ratified the convention.  So you see very few countries that have not yet ratified or signed the convention.

The following slides is actually what I was explaining right now, it is our report which I'm basing my presentation on, which is called the CRPD ICT accessibility progress report.  So this survey actually is done biannually.  This year we finished and published the findings.  We surveyed the 107 countries that have ratified the convention over 166.  And how the methodology is based on inquiring with advocates and panels, local advocates which are either accessibility experts or legal experts.  We collect 57 data points per country, measuring the country commitments, the capacity to implement and the actual outcomes for persons with disabilities.  This is consistent with the UN DP human rights monitoring framework which collects commitments to capacity commitment and outcomes.

I'm going to talk about four points, key facts that are measuring the advances of legislation and policies around the world, impacting the digital accessibility.  Then I will show four key facts that are examples of various levels of gaps and success factors.

Measuring the advances of legislations means that the first factor that we actually found is 83 percent of the global south countries and 80 percent of the global north countries have constitutional article or regulation defining the rights of persons with disabilities.  This is really testing the global impact of the CRPD and result after ten years.  The global south countries are empowered with global north countries.  In fact, they are slightly ahead, as you can see from the results.

The second factor is that 48 percent of global south countries and 67 percent of global north countries have a definition of reasonable accommodation which includes regulations regarding the rights of persons with disabilities.  Again this is really a impactful result, because only ten years ago there were only a handful of countries, mainly UK and U.S. say that had such definition in their laws or regulations.  But now a majority of countries have, now do.  Reasonable accommodation is really a core foundation to exercise the rights to equal access on the basis of nondiscrimination.  Fact number 3 is 33 percent of global south countries versus 67 percent of global north countries have definition of accessibility with article 9 of the convention aligned, which relates to accessibility, by including ICT or electronic media in the country laws and regulation.  Global north countries are ahead, 67 percent, due large part to the ... we have anecdotal evidence that we gather through country programs that suggest that the number of global south countries are at the forefront of ICT accessibility commitments and actual results.  Fact number 4, my picture is hiding the number, but 47 of global north countries, have a definition of universal service obligation in telecommunication legislations, that include persons with disabilities.

Considerable but this shows opportunity for further progress, and advocacy activities in the Telecom field, which can basically fit in particular among the global south countries as you see are 17 percent versus 47 percent.  I was trying to see, there was a person taking a picture of the slide.  I didn't want to change.

Here are actually the four key facts about measuring capacity to implement and success factors.  Fact number 5, 74 percent of global south countries and a hundred percent of global north countries have nowadays a Government body which is specifically dedicated to persons with disabilities, and again this is important because it shows how the influence of the CRPD and the actual impact of the CRPD and the existence of these Government bodies demonstrate how disability rights have become part of the mainstream political agenda of the most governments among state parties.

Another positive factor of the CRPD and is the fact number 6, 66 percent of global south countries versus 93 percent of global north countries have laws, policies or programs to ensure that persons with disabilities and their representative organizations are consulted in the development and implementation of legislation.  Again this aligns to article 4 of the convention which is largely implemented by states parties, and also disability motto which is nothing about us without us which has a considerable impact around the world.  This is the fact that shows that.

Facts number 7, 18 percent of global south countries provide financial support for DPOs and NGOs working on digital access for persons with disabilities, versus 56 percent of global north countries.  Here there is a huge difference, 18 percent for global south, 56 for global north, which shows how still financial support is needed, how global south has, do not have access to minimum resources, to emphasize the responsibilities effectively in important domain which is ICT accessibility and how organization of persons with disabilities do not have the opportunity fully to develop expertise, to be in good position to influence policymaking for ICT accessibility.  This is a impactful result, which is followed by fact number 8, which is 7 percent of global south countries versus 36 percent of global north countries have statistics, accessible for the general public about digital access by persons with disabilities, and again it's here a question of resources, and in order to have progress we need to have statistics and data on accessibility.  So we are actually, this is a area where we are working strongly, and we have published a number of model policies which G3ict has issued with ITU with specific recommendation bilateral ICT accessibility and how especially the global south countries have to collect more statistics and data.

Finally, yes, thank you, Andrea, finally, I want to tell you a bit more about the digital accessibility outcomes for SDGs, for persons with disabilities.  I want to let you know that the 2030 agenda for development includes 17 goals, as we heard yesterday, 169 targets and 230 indicators.  There are 7 explicit references to disability in the SDGs, targets and indicators.

Since time is short, I would like to, I'll keep my slides on numbers regarding education and employment, though they are very important but I would like to go to the SDG number 11, which is most of interest to you here, which is about creating accessible cities, providing universal access to safe inclusive accessible public spaces, and here our surveys indicate that the accessibility of Government Web sites is still very low, because only 81 percent of countries do not provide meaningful access to Government Web sites to persons with disabilities.  This is, I just wanted to conclude with this and to encourage, yes, more statistics on this.  This only related to accessible Government Web sites but also to accessibility of commercial Web sites, and how only 82 percent of countries have, I want to say 82 percent of countries have none, none, top ten commercial Web site are not accessible.  I want to conclude with that.  I look forward to the other presentations.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Thank you, Francesca.  I'll be cutting people a little short and I'm terribly sorry because of our late start.  I have a thing here which says three minutes and then one minute.  When you get close to the end, I'm going to have to do that.  I will cut mine short to make sure everybody has it.  The next person, we need to change to another presentation.  I'm going to read the agenda from my iPhone since nobody can get on their laptops at the moment, though we have this wonderful one here and I have an assistant.

The next speaker will be Gerry Ellis of Feel the Benefit, the goal of accessible sustainable criteria for public procurement.  Would you like to go ahead as soon as we get your slides up?  One second.  I think we are going to be okay.  Let's get him going.  Gerry, where is the clicker?  Fabulous.  You have a assistant.  We all have assistants.  There you are.  It's up.  Can you push the button so he can speak?  The microphone.

>> GERRY ELLIS: We are on.  Good morning, everybody.  Gerry Ellis from Dublin.  Thank you, Andrea.  Thank you, Francesca.  Hopefully mine will follow nicely from yours talking about public procurement.  First I want to talk about people with disabilities and maybe the size of the market of people with disabilities.  My first slide is on global economics of disability.  A report is produced every two years.  The 2013 report called global economics of disability estimates 1.3 billion people with disabilities in the world today; that is around the population of China.  Add to that 2.2 billion further who are emotionally associated, like family and friends, and you get a very big market.  So for instance, if there is one wheelchair user in a family, it's likely that that entire family and not just the wheelchair user would prefer accessible products.  It is important to include those associated.

Between them, these people control over $8 trillion of disposable income annually.  If that is not a big enough market for you, I don't know what is.

I'm from Europe.  So next slide, I'm going to talk maybe locally in Europe about what the market is like.  European Disability Forum represents people with disability at a European level.  They estimate there are 80 million people with disability in Europe.  That is increasing because people are growing older, living longer, and we estimate that about 80 percent of disabilities are acquired by people during their lives and are not born with them.  As people grow older, that number of disability, people with disabilities will increase.  The European Commission estimate that 14 percent of all GDPs, not just technology but the entire GDP of Europe is spent by public procurement, in other words, spending by governments.  I'm going to concentrate on public procurement and talk about that.  Next slide.  European level is a new standard which was developed by the three European standard bodies, CEN, ETSI and CENELEC.  European standard public procurement of accessible ICT products and service.  It talks about public bodies in Europe purchasing accessible ICT.  It's complemented by three technical reports.  So there is information and background information there to help people to implement it.  It promotes interoperability of accessible products across Europe.  It is not just one country, not a small group of country, but across Europe.  Australia, the other countries are looking to implement this as well.  Australia, the lady on my left will talk about this, Australia implemented this standard verbatim.  Mexico is considering doing it.  Mexico has already signed a memorandum of understanding around accessibility of Web sites and public procurement.  Different countries around the world are looking at this, not just Europe.

Next one, please.  In the United States they have what is called Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.  This is used by federal Government only; not necessarily state Government, not necessarily local Government or not necessarily by industry, but by the federal Government alone.  It is very similar but it is different in many places.  It specifies requirements by federal Government for the acquisition of accessible ICTs.  So similar to the EN, and that is why I wanted to compare the two of them.

It promotes the interoperability of accessible products across the United States at a federal level.  It has an excellent tool which helps states to implement this, called a buy accessible wizard, so any federal, state employee can use the wizard to say, is this product that I want to use accessible.  It's a very good tool.

Section 508 is about 18 years old now.  It is in the process of being revised.  The final rule on the accessibility of ICT went to what is called the office of the OMB, yeah, the Office of Management and Budget.  That is what it is.  Office of Management and Budget.  It went on the 24th of October, and it's expected to be implemented by the end of this year.  We will see whether that gets in before our new President arrives.

We will talk, next slide, please, there are strengths and weaknesses in both of these standards.  They are both interoperable across wide areas of population.  So for instance, European standard is operable across the whole of Europe.  The American one is operable across the entire United States.  But neither interoperable across the Atlantic for instance or across the rest of the world, because there are slightly differences between them.

That means that industry has to have one set of rules that it adheres to in the States, and maybe a different set of rules in Europe, maybe a different set of rules in Australia.  That is difficulty for industry, as we will talk about later how we can improve that for industry as well as for people with disabilities.  The other weakness is that they are not enforceable on industry in general unless they are selling to Government.  If Government is buying from industry, great, they have to make their projects accessible.  If not, they don't.  A lot of stuff is not sold through Government and it is not enforceable.

The particular one especially for Andrea's sake, we will talk about the EN has a particular problem about realtime text.  We say, there are strengths, there are weaknesses in both of these sets of standards.  And we already said Section 508 is 18 years old.  So the rest of it needs to be revised.  It is in progress.  We will get there.  But it is not there yet.

What is the solution to this?  Each alone is better than nothing at all.  But how will it be if we could harmonize them right across Europe.  We have already seen that EN301 is being implemented across the world.  If we can get that harmonized rules implemented right across the world, that would be much better for people with disabilities, because the bigger the market, the more affordable these products are going to be.  It's no use having accessible products if people with disabilities can't afford them.

Go to market right across the world, the more likely they are to be affordable.  But also, industry will gain because we were saying earlier with the problems with fragmentation, if we have harmonized standards across the world, industry also gains.  So they can no longer throw this thing at us, it costs too much, if the population of people with disability, if the market is large enough, remember we talked earlier about 1.3 billion people across the world, industry will be delighted.

Last slide here is a number of references.  And these presentations will be made available after the workshop.  So all these references will be available to you.  Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for talking and thank you for the organizers for inviting me here from Ireland to speak to you, and look forward to meeting some of you after the workshop.  Thank you.


>> ANDREA SAKS: We had a hiccup with the slides.  Your last slides were not shown.  Don't worry.  Gerry is blind, and he memorizes all, everything.  I couldn't do that.  He didn't know that his last slides were not up.  But we will make sure that it's posted on the DCAD Web site as well, so that people can see everything that you wrote down and everything that you did.  We will get the right ones on, which is now ‑‑ we just lost this.  I lost my agenda.  It's terrible (chuckles).

We have done Francesca.  I have an assistant here.  We are going to do that.  We are going to use ‑‑ we will use this one.  That is not it.  We are looking for Gunela's.  I'm having trouble finding yours.  Just a minute.  (pause).

Gunela, would you like to, you just start.  Carry on.  Gunela Astbrink from Australia from Women with Disabilities.  Just go.  I will be timing you.

>> GUNELA ASTBRINK: I'm sure you will.

>> ANDREA SAKS: We are doing all right on time.  Don't worry.

>> GUNELA ASTBRINK: Thank you very much, Andrea.  Good morning.  I thank you very much for the opportunity, and the support to be able to travel here to be part of this workshop.  I will be speaking about use and nonuse of ICT by people with disability in small island developing states.  When we talk about small island developing states, we are talking about often small island states in the Caribbean region, in the Pacific region and other regions of the world, for example, off the African coast, and in the Indian Ocean, concentrating on the Pacific region, which is a extremely large area, small land mass in the form of small island countries, relatively small populations, and the majority of these are small island developing states.  There are a few that are developed.  We are talking about 22 countries with territories.  That is a large number.  Some of the small island developing states might have 10,000 people, that is their population total.

Infrastructure costs are high and remoteness is a big issue.  I have a map here which shows 22 countries in the Pacific.  And the map indicates numbers in the ocean, and often all you see is the number, because the country itself is so tiny, and the map also shows Australia and New Zealand and Papua New Guinea as a contrast to the small island developing states.

The status of ICT in the Pacific, there is actually growing ICT usage in the Pacific, through satellite services and submarine cables which are bringing faster and more reliable broadband services.  But there is widely varying usage in different countries, and costs of course is one of the big factors.  Computers are incredibly expensive and out of reach of most people.  Internet usage is mainly through smart phones, but can people afford smart phones, that is the question.

I mentioned remoteness before.  Some countries such as Vanuatu, 75 percent of the population use mobile phones now.  It's a high usage level.  But again, there is a difference between the sort of phones people use and if they have Internet accessibility through the phones.  People with disabilities in the Pacific are really doubly at disadvantage, there is cultural and social economic factors, there is a huge lack of educational and employment opportunities, and of course, huge affordability issues.

I'm going to go into more detail about Vanuatu.  I note a project by the ITU, a pilot project in Vanuatu, together with our partners in the Pacific Disability Forum, which is the main regional disability advocacy body in the Pacific, and the Government of Vanuatu.

We heard previously from Francesca about the low level of data about usage in global south countries.  Fortunately, we are able to do a survey of usage by people with disability in Vanuatu, and we believe it is the first of its kind in the Pacific.  This helps to bring evidence for improving ICT accessibility.

We didn't do the standard, here is a survey monkey link, go to this Web site.  We didn't send out E‑mails.  We didn't even do letters in the post to people for a variety of reasons.  We have low literacy rights.  We have low levels of usage.  So it's no point in reinforcing that, there is going to be a lot of people who are not going to be able to answer the survey.  Instead, people with disabilities were trained to conduct interviews in both towns and villages in a number of islands in Vanuatu.  I should say, Vanuatu has a population of 275,000.  So it's a medium population size, when we are talking about Pacific island countries.

So 200 people with disability were interviewed, and it was quite a lengthy task, with a number of issues to deal with as we went along.  We have some preliminary findings.  We are still crunching some data.  Many people we found had not heard of the Internet, and it wasn't like asking have you heard of the Internet.  We asked, do you know about E‑mail, do you know about Web sites, and people didn't.  We also have to realize that 50 percent of the population in Vanuatu are subsistence farmers living in remote villages.  Many people with disabilities didn't have a mobile phone, and if they did, it wasn't a smart phone.  It was just a very basic phone.  Importantly, mobiles with long battery life are important because of limited access to electricity.  Another part of the project is audit 28 Government Web sites to check on accessibility.  This is important because Vanuatu has a strong Government focus and actually there is a policy that states that by 2018, 98 percent of the population should have some access to the Internet.  That might not be personally Internet access but through schools and health clinics.  There is a push by the Government to have a lot of information on Web sites for people.  But the findings indicate that the Government Web sites did not meet W3C Web content accessibility guidelines 2.0.

There is a move, however, to improve Web accessibility, as new Government Web sites are developed.  Some of the outcomes from this pilot project includes what is called the right to information Web accessibility guidelines, this is clarification and support of WCAG 2.0, with recommendations for Vanuatu Government agencies.  The guidelines follow totally WCAG 2, but give some planning indications of how Government developers of Web sites should move forward.

These guidelines were developed in consultation with the Civil Society Disability Network and other relevant agencies.  The information unit of the office of the Government Chief Information Officer was the unit that developed it.  It is really under freedom of information, where there is now legislation in Vanuatu that any member of the population should be able to access Government documents if they need to.  This was launched a couple of months ago.  We will see where we go with it.

Another outcome is at the Pacific Disability Forum is supportive of ICT accessibility, and now have received funding to extend the project and being run by the Pacific Disability Forum to survey more countries about usage and nonusage of ICT.  And the countries include Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands and Fiji, and demographically, they are very different, different in size, geographically, in a lot of different ways.

So, looking at ways forward, and this can be relevant for a number of small island developing states, and many other countries as well.  Obviously, multifaceted approach is needed.  And support for gradual cultural change, while still recognizing traditional values is important.  So moving away from that people with disabilities can't contribute to society, moving away from hiding away people with disabilities, but still respecting traditional values.  There needs to be disability awareness‑raising for Government and NGOs, and disability inclusive development.  In Australia, for example, Australia's program has very much a disability inclusive focus.  And Australia has a focus on providing aid to Pacific island countries.

Obviously, the implementation of policy, legislative and regulatory mechanisms are important.  Practical measures, obviously there is a need for accessible Web sites.  We heard again from Francesca in the statistics on the low level of Government Web sites that are accessible.  We need accessible facilities, products and services and subsidized cost for mobiles phones so people with disabilities can afford them, training in ICT usage for people with disabilities, something that we would very much like to see in the future in Pacific island countries, and inclusion of people with disability in planning obviously.  Their disabilities movement motto is nothing about us without us.

So thank you very much.


>> ANDREA SAKS: Thank you.  I want to say we might have our partner in crime, Deirdre Williams, who might be listening in.  I've explained to Judy that we might not let her do, just for a minute, do we have a remote ‑‑ yes, I know we would, Deirdre, can you read out what ‑‑ do we have a mic?  We have to give it back to Judy.  We are really managing with kind of crazy logistics on technical stuff.  I've got every staff person in this whole building in this room helping.  So we will be all right.

Vladimir is going to read what Deirdre has to say.

>> Hello, I was interested to hear what happened in the Pacific.

  (sorry, that audio was very muffled, I couldn't understand).

>> ANDREA SAKS: Could you repeat, maybe not the mic so close to your mouth.

>> Sure.  A comment from Deirdre Williams to everyone, a comment for Gunela, apparently Kenya solves the problem of electricity by using solar charges, that doesn't happen here in the Caribbean, I was interested to hear that it doesn't happen in the Pacific.

>> GUNELA ASTBRINK: Thank you very much for that question and hello.

There are some activities in some Pacific island countries to do with solar charging, for example, in schools, but they are more isolated projects than something that is available generally, I would say.  There probably is a push to do more, but I think it's more at the pilot stage.  It varies tremendously from one Pacific island country to another.  Thanks for your question, Deirdre.

>> ANDREA SAKS: I knew you would be there listening in, Deirdre.  Do we have any other comments while you have got the mic over there?  You got the mic.  Are there any other comments, Vladimir?  We might as well ‑‑

>>   I will read out a comment made by Deirdre on your response.  These were small personal charges.

>> GUNELA ASTBRINK: I think Deirdre means that individuals have personal solar charges, and I'm not familiar with that happening in the Pacific.  That is certainly something that would be very good to follow up on, and to learn a little bit about how it's done in Kenya.  Thank you.

>> Sure.  Can send you information by E‑mail.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Thank you, Deirdre, for coming in on that, I knew you would be hiding in there.  Thank you, Gunela for explaining and carrying on with that.  I have one of my wonderful DCAD members who, by the way, single‑handedly with the help of Kyle from the Internet Governance SA helped with getting people funded here.  She organized it, and a lot of people who are here today would not be here today without Judy Okite, who gives the next presentation, who organized it even in the middle of the night because she comes from Kenya.  She is going to give a presentation now.  I am in so many devices, it's ridiculous.  Judy has a presentation, is accessibility in the 21st century, and she comes from an organization of which she pretty much, it's Free Software and Open Source Foundation in Africa.  Now we have to get your slides up.  How do we do that?  I have my assistant here.  Go to the next one.  Judy Okite, down here.  You have the clicker.  Ready?  Hang on.  We will be up in a minute.  Just me.  There we go.  Please, would you like to give your presentation, Judy?

>> JUDY OKITE: Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Yes, my name is Judy Okite.  I come from Nairobi, Kenya.  But I can easily be found online.  I'll quickly look at accessibility for persons with disabilities in the 21st century.

If we look at history of where we have come from with the computers, over the years, we have seen evolution and changes that have happened in the wild when it comes to computer.  For example, we use the mainframe computers, back in the 1950s.  At the moment, we have very powerful small tablets, small smart phones, which are much more powerful even than PCs that we have.

Currently the talk is about Internet of Things.  What is that?  The ITU defines Internet of Things as a global infrastructure for Information Society enabling advanced services by interconnecting physical and virtual things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communicating technologies.  Yes, a total mouthful.  ITU telecommunications standardization sector now has a study group on the Internet of things.  Of course with this definition only, of course none of us can truly imagine how big and influential Internet of Things will be, but what does this mean for persons with disabilities.  This technology also could include assistance to not only information technology, but independent living in a physical accessible way.  Some of the things that have been discussed in this area are the emergence of smart homes, self‑driving vehicles, personal data sharing, etcetera.  However, there are crucial questions that need to be asked including but not limited to, with the application of Internet of Things, smart homes be accessible to person who is blind or deaf, or a person who has mobility issues.  Will developers be more accommodative to the needs of persons with disabilities and not just business minded.  Will self‑driving cars or services like Uber taxis have ramps for wheelchair users.  Will there be extra cost for users with accessibility features.  Will there be security protection to prevent exposure of personal data, of persons with disabilities.  The potential of implementation of Internet of Things in developing countries is not clearly directed to help persons with disabilities.  Could this be wrong, could it be right?  A question for all of us.  In developing countries, persons living with disabilities fall under the percentage of the poorest populations, for Internet of Things applications to work they need to be mainstreamed with not only accessibility features included, but also affordability.

The penetration of the Internet beyond the urban areas is still low and expensive in developing countries.  The real and biggest question is, is the development of technology in the 21st century further widening the gap for persons with disabilities and hindering inclusion?  They have tried to track the take‑up of technology among persons with disabilities and specific needs, and of course we have heard about that from Francesca.  However, we still need to consider whether this is totally comprehensive enough and inclusive to give an accurate credible global overview of persons with disabilities, ability to, their uptake of technology of both ICTs and its application.  We have to find credible and accurate data on this.  This needs to be done with regards to the needs of persons with disabilities, more especially in developing countries.  This will be the right time for scholars, policymakers, standard writers and implementers of new technology, etcetera, to increase their efforts to gather this information more completely.  Accessibility will greatly influence the uptake of Internet of Things technology if it was designed to benefit persons with disabilities in the developing countries.

In conclusion, accessibility is about equality.  It is about justice.  It is about dignity and inclusion.  This presentation raises pertinent issues, questions, whose answers lies in each and every one of us.  Because we all play a very important role in the development of technology today.  If you play a role and I play mine, I can assure you that the next presentation will be highlighting on the milestones.

Thank you.


>> ANDREA SAKS: Judy, I want to tell you something about, it's study group 20, in ITU‑T, question 2 has taken up accessibility.  I had the pleasure of working with two Korean delegates, and the first accessibility draft recommendation has already begun.  Some of the concepts are, opening the door or having your fridge tell you that it's open and closing it, or taking your smart phone and putting it on a table, so it goes on your TV screen.  Lots of different ideas are coming out with these two gentlemen, and I was very excited.

So it is happening.  It's expanding from question 26 of study group 16 which is multi‑media and human factors has now been moved into that.  That is the ITU update.  Later we will hear a little more from the representative, Bruno, in the DCAD meeting which is coming immediately after that, about the ITU and its involvement in accessibility.  Gunela, did you want to make a comment?

>> GUNELA ASTBRINK: Thank you, Andrea.  Yes.  I participated in the Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things yesterday, and put my hand up and said, remember, remember people with disability and accessibility, and really how important it is that smart homes, for example, have features that are accessible and using intuitive design, universal design.  The response from Google representative was, yes, yes, we totally agree, and accessibility is good design.  So the message was out there.  And also, because of discussion about the different Dynamic Coalitions working together, this might be an opportunity to, for this DCAD to work with the Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things on these questions.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Thank you.  We are joining forces on the Dynamic Coalitions, and we are discussing that.  What we hope to do, of course, in the future, through like for example, I'm pretty tied to the ITU, is extend accessibility clear across, so everybody talks to everybody else, and that is what the other organization that I chair, the Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors, and it's not easy because not everybody tells me everything, unless I go bang on the door and say, what are you doing?  So we can track what the ITU is doing.  This is what Judy is talking about, I believe, is that we need to track what is going on with the different developers, because standards can be written, but they are voluntary.  Right?  Okay, it's the implementation where there is the letdown.  This is one of the big problems.

We can write all the standards in the world.  But if nobody implements them, then we are still lost.  I wasn't going to talk about this.  But I might as well.  Deirdre is probably our only remote, we put in remote moderation only for Deirdre.

Does anyone in the room want to make comments or talk to any of that before I get into my presentation?  Because I don't want to change ‑‑ we have a comment.  Would you like to say something, please?

>> Yeah, just to say, maybe it's useful, I'm a member of the European parliament, and I'm one of the link M.E.Ps on the UN council of disabilities, on the culture and education committee.  Julie Ward, okay.  I'm really appreciating the conversation, the presentations.  I don't have a question really.

It's helpful for me to be here and listen, to be reminded of things, to have things clarified, and also to network, so that people know they can lobby me.  I encourage groups to lobby me, come and talk to me.  I have to work across a lot of different issues, but I'm currently working doing some stuff on the audiovisual media services directive, with particular issues for people with visual impairment.

So and also, I will be on the Africa Caribbean Pacific delegation in Nairobi in two weeks time.  We should meet.  It's great to be here and make the connections.  We are not doing everything brilliantly.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Well, you will be.

>> I've always just, I've done a lot of work over my life with communities of people with disability, and I know how difficult it is to do the things I get up and do every day, like the barriers that are faced, and the campaign, nothing about us without us, is a really important campaign.  If I've got one question, it's how can we raise it up again, because it was, if you put it into our Twitter hashtag, it doesn't come up anymore.  We have to revitalize the campaign, because it was effective.  People heard about it.  But there is always that kind of media fatigue, isn't there?  Maybe that is something we have to address.  Maybe that is ‑‑

>> ANDREA SAKS: Thank you, Julie, I will grab you, you will never be allowed to disappear.  Nothing about us without us came from the deaf community.  I'm going to actually start a presentation, and I don't know, we have to get mine up here.  I'm going to give the clicker to him.  I'm not going to mess up.  It is that one.  The deaf community is where I come from, even though I hear, even though I'm losing it through age related disabilities.  The deaf community has fought tooth and nail to be able to use the phone and still not quite successful in all areas.  I decided I would do something about relay services.  I can't show you all the slides.  But I will start with some of them.  I mentioned my other group, which is the Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors.

The ITU was the very first Inter ‑‑ well, it's the only international, it's not geared to America, like IETF, it is not geared to Europe like ETSI, it is a international organization, creating international standards.  The ITU finally consented in 1995, the very first accessibility standard, and it was for a textphone for unification of the protocols for textphones so the textphones in different countries could work back‑to‑back.  Every country that has had a long success with Textphones has started a relay service.  But I thought it might be interesting for people to know that the deaf community really was the actual impetus for the accessibility movement in the ITU and pretty much throughout the world, because they did solve their problem themselves.

Can I have the next slide, please?  History.  We can get rid of that one.  I've already said, and there was also a time that blind people couldn't use the Web.  We have deaf/blind people too.  That is why they are important.  Then there are persons with physical disabilities who can't pick up the phone.  Some of these things have been solved with having a phone that you can speak into, and technological assistive technology being able to access the phone.  But it does not solve the problem of the fact that some people cannot actually call to another person and vice versa.

In the beginning, and this has been the  '60s, you will see that my name is the same as one of the middle gentlemen there, and that is my father.  He was one of the people along with the other gentleman, which is Robert Weitbrecht, sitting at a very old clunky telex machine, and Robert Weitbrecht who is a deaf physicist used to talk ship to shore on a telex machine long before he decided to adapt it to the telephone, and Jim Marsters who was a deaf orthodontist, and my dad, who was a deaf businessman.  All these guys were totally deaf.  You can see, we will show you some of the equipment.

You can see, clunky stuff.  Way back in time.  It was in the  '60s.  You will see the first relay service, or the only relay services, that existed before we got on the phone.  There is a person in there, who is sticking her tongue out.  That is me.  I'm about 3 or 4 years old.  I was defiant from the beginning.

Anyway, that was a relay service.  All these little kids don't necessarily have deaf parents.  But you get the idea.  They did the banking, they did the doctor appointment, they did the arrangements for whatever was going on.  It was very debilitating and humiliating, though the deaf community accepted it, for an adult to have to deal with a child.

Next one.  I'm not going into great detail, but I mentioned the telex machines, and there was a group called, at the time, teletypewriters for the deaf, that was created by all these deaf men, to take the old surplus, the ones they were going to throw away, into their systems, so they could recondition them.  From one end of the country to the other, they shipped them and changed parts.  They were from two cultures.  Now we are pretty familiar that most deaf young people can sign and speak, but in those days, there was two divisions and they never met, aural deaf whose parents had money to train them to speak, and the deaf community that did not have that that went to public schools, which in the United States for example means the schools that are funded by the Government, had to learn to sign.  That was their main mode of communication.  They got together, managed and reconditioned these machines by themselves, to work with a modem, which eventually came to the ITU with all the other modems of all the different protocols to be joined up.  I described the modems there and what they do, which you can look at later.  You can see a bunch of people there, that redoing them, and they are working with Western Union.  And I give the telephone pioneers total credit for teaching the deaf community how to do this.  Next slide, historical event of the three guys who did that, in 1970 they began to modernize and use some of the better looking teletypes that were more proficient because they were newer but too expensive.  We have the Textphones that came about, which were portable and that you could take with you.  There is another slide, next slide.  You can see them when they got smaller.  If you look at a iPhone, they look absolutely enormous.  Some of them could take more than one code.  Now we have something called realtime text which Gerry alluded to, which I'll get into later.  What you do when you text on your iPhone, or on your Skype, is not realtime.  You have to actually type and transmit with a button.  These worked on realtime, character by character, and because in those days, we didn't have any controls on who talked first, we had a polite way of speaking.  Go ahead, it's your turn, which we would type GA, or I'm stopping, I'm finishing.  Stop keying.  You had to have this communication back and forth, so we didn't jam the communication back and forth.  But it was realtime.

Therefore, you had a live person on.  When you send a message in Skype or on your Textphone or on your, sorry, your iPhone, you don't know if somebody is there.  Skype you do, because they are online, but they could be ‑‑ I took it to the UK and that was a crazy situation.

One of the quotes that I'm going to say from this slide is, Sir Brian Carsburg, Chairman of OFTEL in England, in 1970 said, and I like this quote a lot and I'd like to see this come out in the world, disability communication should be regarded in the same way as rural communication, in other words, the people in the city pay for because it's a higher population, higher revenue generating, pay for the more expensive setup in the countryside, where people don't have quite the generating ability of finance for the communication companies.  This was the beginning of globalization.  He is starting to know my stuff.  I have my assistant here.  Different things happened.  We did get permission.  I'm not going to go into too much detail but we did something fun.  We did the first deaf trans‑Atlantic call.  This is in 1975.  We made a high level call from the UK with a member of Parliament who was deaf, which is Jack Ashley, Ambassador Elliott Richardson from the States, we were in the UK, we had Casper Weinberger, Republican but a nice guy, and another deaf man who worked in HEW, health, education and welfare.  We did it live.  We were able to show that deaf people through technology could communicate in realtime.

Let's go to the next slide.  I'm going to skip a couple things.  It gives a little more information of how this all started, and because of the time element and I want to start a live discussion here, we are going to move on.  But it gives a little history about how many, it was really tiny.  But again also in the UK, it was a deaf group of people who got it started, and kept it going in the UK, not the hearing world, not the telephone companies.  They were called at that time the breakthrough test.  These are the different codes and protocols which we don't see.  People don't realize, there weren't any satellites then.  We had a trunk, a cable, underneath the sea.

It is just another world now.  Anyway, so we will go to the next slide.  Faxing, it's a ITU standard, V21.  That came in and was very useful.  The first trans‑Atlantic call that we did that I briefly discussed was broke the docket against AT&T ‑‑ no, go back ‑‑ broke the dockets against AT&T which prevented data across the voice band network.  Now that is not a problem, but then it was.

The deaf community gave the hearing community the Fax machine.  And I don't think anybody knows that.

We will go through the other thing.  We are getting into the ITU area.  We did the first trans‑Atlantic call.  The problem is everybody in their different countries wanted to do different things.  That is why we had incompatible Textphones that couldn't work.  Everybody thought their country should work on their own stuff and not make it interoperable.  I give a list of who did what.  The naughty boys are listed but we won't go through that too hard, because I knew many of them and argued with many of them.  But we now have international Textphones that work if they use the V.18, which is that first standard, and the English platform does accommodate that.  But where are we now?  That is the ITU.  Just for fun, that is me, and you have seen my gray hair with my butch, I don't look like that anymore.  But that is me and the guy next to me is Gary Fereno.  Go back.  He is conscious of the time too.  I got in there illegally because nobody knew that I was coming and I was invited by the next guy to come.  It wasn't supposed to happen.  That guy stuck me on the U.S. delegation in five minutes, once he understood what I did.  That was an accident.  I've been at the ITU ever since.  This talks about the different protocols.  We are going to keep going.  This is important.  Gunnar Hellstrom comes from Sweden.  He did a standard called total conversation.  That means, voice, video and text, all in one situation.  That means that using a phone together or whether it be a iPhone but a relay service that has all three components, where somebody can actually communicate directly with someone else with the same equipment, that deaf people, deaf/blind people, people with physical disabilities can communicate, because there is something there for everyone to be able to do that.  I'm going to explain what a relay service is in a minute.

You are going to see an example of a deaf/blind woman using the system with a blind refresher keyboard, which enabled her to read what is going on, and enabling her to send what is going on to the relay service.  A relay service is a human being, not a machine that sits in the middle, that is funded, FCC has a funding program, BT in the UK, funds it through the universal service options.  The same applies in Sweden.  There is even a relay service in Russia!  Which I just found out about the other day.

They are beginning to happen throughout the world.  Australia has one.  New Zealand has one.  But they are all separate.  They don't all unify.  You can go through, and there was regulation that wouldn't let the people who had voice problems, who couldn't speak, communicate with another relay service, with people who had hearing problems.  There have been all kinds of funny things happening because of fraud.  It is not globalized.  I want to make sure we don't lose the time here.  Anyway it's also important for emergency services, and this is called total conversation.  Next one.

Now, next one, we know about the UN Convention.  We wouldn't be here.  Next one.  I'm posting this also and putting all this information there, so people who may not know as much as the people in this room about these things.  International standards are voluntary.  I've spoken about that.  I won't continue with this slide.  Next one.  But it did mention realtime text.  Realtime text over IP is not yet totally standardized, and we are about to do it.  We are about to get, we are working with different people.  I know the players are going to take the new version of it, so it will go over the Internet, so that we can use, everyone can use the phone with one exception.  It will reduce the different kinds of relay services, which means speech to speech, the older person who became deaf in life doesn't like to be regarded as a person with disabilities because they just can't hear.  So we have machines that enable them to read what the relay service, the human being in the middle of the phone call, that they can read what the person who can hear who is calling them is saying, and that that person can speak for themselves.  There is that kind of relay service.  There is also text to text, and that works very well for deaf/blind people with refresher, Braille displays.  The other thing, the most important one and that in a sense is the Internet.  And sign language has to go over the Internet.  The problem with that is that there are so many different kinds of sign languages in every country, and dialects.  There is no international sign language.  International sign language does not exist.  International sign does.  It is created at an event, at the time, by interpreters, who use it at the UN, at the ITU when we require it, to be able to take different signs from the different participants who speak different sign language, and communicate to the group as a whole using different signs after quickly clarifying what might be universal.  At the end of that meeting, that sign language disappears.  It doesn't exist anymore.

The thing is, we have to deal with translation, we have to deal with global interoperability.  If we have the Internet to do that with for the sign, we will find that sign language will eventually homogenize to the extent that we have to have translation.  The situation also could be applied to people who do not have a disability, who would think a relay service would be really great because they speak French and somebody speaks Swahili.  So there is a application for the rest of the world, and once people grab onto that, and the rest of the world takes on an original device or technique for persons with disabilities into their own and captioning, which we have here is a classic example of that.

Now, how many slides have I got left?  Actually I'm almost done.  That is great.  But realtime text is important, because that means that a person can be live, talking on the phone, a deaf person, with text, the deaf/blind person, with text, that will become a voice activated, that can be done with software which is being worked on also now, where it can be spoken to the hearing person, who then speaks back into the phone, and then it types back on to the deaf person's telephone, or it speaks to the blind person.  It can be done.  It has not been standardized yet.  It is going to be worked on.  We have got loads of people interested in and involved in that.  I'm taking it through the ITU hopefully very soon.

So the next slide.  And we only will need sign language relay.  Universal design is what I mentioned which Judy was speaking about, designing from the beginning, which Gunela was speaking about, which Gerry has been speaking about and which Francesca has.  It has to be designed from the beginning, not at the end, where you do expensive refits and you try and make something adapt to something else.  We need a international beginning to look at international relay services for all these groups, and for the fact that realtime text needs to be standardized.

Now, let's see what else we have got.  28.  Without international standards, there is no cooperation.  There is no doubt about that.  Without people understanding accessibility, we don't get anywhere at all.  The next thing, oh, this is one of my pet little messages.  The problem in people making new devices who don't take into consideration persons with disabilities, they can actually create new barriers.  One of the classic problems at the moment is spectrum.  Spectrum interferes with hearing aids.  As we go into 4 and 5G, it buzzes in a kid's ear who has a hearing aid.  It interferes with technical equipment that is in a school.  They weren't thinking about spectrum when they created spectrum and expanded the different, spectrum has been here forever but where they were making new mobile phones.  There is a big thing going on in the ITU‑R about spectrum and interference with hearing aids and also Bluetooth and ZigBee and some of the others.  When people create different products, they have to take into consideration how they impact persons with disabilities.  Industry, all standard organizations, have to work together.  They have to understand that when they do something, they need to do a reality check.  At this time I'm going to say we have something on the ITU Web site, it's called the accessibility checklist.  When you do a standard, check the checklist.  Then you might be able to avoid some of these pitfalls.

I'm going to stop because we actually have some time to have an interactive bit, if anybody wants to do that or any questions.  I'm Andrea Saks, I can be reached any place any time in any time zone.  Thank you very much for that time.


Now, does anyone in the audience, I'm going to pick on somebody, because we have got some time, yes, we got something coming from remote.  Okay.  Great, Vladimir.  Let's have it.

>> Thank you.  There is a comment and question from Deirdre, Deirdre Williams, to Julie Ward.  In the Caribbean the focus has shifted away from persons with disabilities in the last ten years, to the extent that a friend of mine who uses a wheelchair describes himself as a transparent, by which he means invisible.

>> ANDREA SAKS: That's to you.  Give Julie the mic.

>> Thank you.  One of the things that I work on is invisible disabilities.  There are many people with invisible disabilities and impairments.  It's very concerning that, in fact, visible disabilities should now be considered invisible or transparent.

I was very struck by the statistics that he gave at the beginning, sorry, I can't remember, is it Gerry?  That Gerry gave.

Something we have to get across to everybody really, no matter which country we are from and what gender we are, is that the likelihood of all of us experiencing some form of disability or impairment is very high.  So when we make policies, when we create, when we invent things, when we are creating policies, when we are making laws, when we are spending money as governments actually we always have to think that it could be us.  It could be us.  And your statistics also show the impact on families is really important.

Just a bit more of a response to the person who phoned in.  We are actually seeing an increase in hate crime towards people with disabilities.  I think that is another thing that we should be addressing here, particularly in the context of the Internet.

The world, people are scrambling for resources.  And what powerful people, organizations, corporations do is divide and rule.  So I'm very concerned to hear this comment.  But I think it's part of a very worrying trend that we have in our global society at the moment, about others, about people who are considered to be different and other, whether it's color of skin, religion, the language you speak, ability, disability.  I think there is a real, real problem with this idea of otherness.  And perhaps this not seeing the disability is part of that.

I mean, what everybody wants in the world is to be equal, and to be seen as the person, not the wheelchair.  But it doesn't sound like this is the issue.  It sounds like not seeing the disability means that the society is not dealing with it, yeah?  Okay.

I hope that's a useful response.

>> ANDREA SAKS: It's a useful response.  If everybody manages to get old, they will have a disability.  So your comment is apropos.  Since I'm well on the way, I will tell you that I'm losing my sight, I'm losing my hearing, I got a bum knee.  It will all happen to you if you are lucky enough to get to be my age.

Anyway, I have to close this particular meeting.  Gerry, did you want to say something?  You just tapped the mic.  You got a minute.  Because then we have to give everybody potty breaks.

>> GERRY ELLIS: To repeat Andrea's, as you grow older, you will acquire a disability, the alternative is to die.  Which would you prefer?  This relates to every single person in this conference.

One thing that I think is worth mentioning, and it's very strong message that comes out of the UN CRPD, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is the difference between impairment and disability.  Impairment is what happens to you.  Disability is how society accommodates or doesn't accommodate that.

The example I give is if you put me and you put Julie Ward in a very dark room, I'm less disabled than she is, because I'm used to being in the dark.  Even though I still have a greater, I have a impairment, I'm still just as blind, Judy is just as sighted.  But my disability is less than hers in that situation.

I think from your point of view keeping that in mind as you look at the European Disability Act will be of benefit.  And the other thing that I, quick one that I would mention, there is a term in the accessible media, in article 21A, if memory serves me right, which says equitable access.  That is a wonderful term.  Please keep that at the front of your mind.  Thank you.

>> ANDREA SAKS: Thank you, Gerry.  One second.  We have the next meeting.  We are keeping this room.  This is what I want to say.  DCAD's meeting, Dynamic Coalition on accessibility and disability, will be meeting immediately after this, well, at 12:00.  We can keep this going.  But I want to say, to give the captioner a rest, to say thank you to our captioner and thank you to all our tech people today who helped us get it all together, because we are a bit more complicated than other people.  We did really well.  We got through all the presentations.

Julie, don't leave.  And we can certainly talk here for a few minutes before we start at midday.  And let people have a little bit of a break.  Thank you, everybody, for coming.  Thank you to my presenters who are brilliant, who, they know that.  And this has been a very very very good session.

You should all be proud of yourselves.  Thank you.

  (end of session at 11:50)