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DOJ Stops Adoption of Website Standards

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has for now stopped its efforts to make rules setting up standards for Website Accessibility. This would include not, at least for now, adopting the international website standards organization – the World Wide Web Consortium (“W3C”), standards, including Version 2.0 of the Web Contact Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”, WCAG 2.0 guidelines 3.1.1 and 2.4.4 and 3.1.2

Here’s the relevant part of the notice from the DOJ:

Notice of withdrawal.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Justice is announcing the withdrawal of four previously announced Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs), pertaining to title II and title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for further review.

DATES:

As of December 26, 2017, these four previously announced ANPRMs are formally withdrawn.

ADDRESSES:

Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 2885, Fairfax, VA 22031-0885.

The Department of Justice is formally announcing the withdrawal of four previously announced Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs) pertaining to title II and title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): (1) Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of Public Accommodations (RIN 1190-AA61); (2) Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services; Next Generation 9-1-1 (RIN 1190-AA62); (3) Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by State and Local Governments and Places of Public Accommodation; Equipment and Furniture (RIN 1190-AA64); and (4) Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability: Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government (RIN 1190-AA65).

Reasons for Withdrawal

A. Accessibility of Web Information

On July 26, 2010, the Department published an ANPRM regarding the accessibility of Web information and services of state and local government entities (title II) and public accommodations (title III). 75 FR 43460. The Department subsequently bifurcated the rulemaking to deal separately with state and local government entities subject to title II (RIN 1190-AA65) and public accommodations subject to title III (RIN 1190-AA61), and proceeded first with the title II rulemaking. On May 9, 2016, the Department published a Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SANPRM) regarding title II Web accessibility to seek additional public input regarding a wide range of issues pertaining to the accessibility of Web information and services of state and local governments. 81 FR 28658. The Department has not published any rulemaking document regarding title III Web accessibility since the 2010 ANPRM.

The Department is evaluating whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of Web information and services is necessary and appropriate. Such an evaluation will be informed by additional review of data and further analysis. The Department will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA. Accordingly, the Department is withdrawing the two previously announced ANPRMs related to the accessibility of Web information and services, “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and Public Accommodations” (RIN 1190-AA61) (75 FR 43460), and “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability: Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government” (RIN 1190-AA65) (81 FR 28658).

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