Stevie Wonder must really have made an impression on the FCC commissioners. The musician’s recent visit came up again in remarks this week by Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. She spoke to the W3C20 Anniversary Symposium about the “Future of the Web.”
Picking up on a recent suggestion by Tim Berners-Lee that the Web community come up with a “magna carta,” Rosenworcel said this should include access for people with disabilities. “The Web is for everyone. So then how can we harness the power of the Web and all the technologies it enables to knock down the remaining walls of exclusion that keep people with disabilities from participating fully in our modern, civic, social, and economic life?”
She spoke about Wonder’s Oct. 14 visit and called him “not just a legendary musician” but “a tireless champion for access to communications and media technology for his fellow Americans with disabilities.” (Commissioner Mignon Clyburn also spoke about his visit in recent remarks; and Rosenworcel tweeted a photo with Wonder on the day of his visit.)
At the Web event, Rosenworcel mentioned the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, and talked about what the FCC has done to implement it. She said the commission, along with the disabilities community, equipment manufacturers, broadcasters and others, have “improved closed captioning on a range of video platforms, we have developed video description policies, and we have enhanced the accessibility of user interfaces and video programing guides and menus.”
“We need to put in place policies that extend access to all in the digital age. We need to recognize the broader market opportunities that accessible technologies can create. And we need to push these policies and innovations out across the world,” she said.
Rosenworcel was nominated to the FCC by President Obama in 2012.
Read her comments about the Web as well as Optical Character Recognition, wearable devices and a recent meeting in Bahrain at which the United States decided to convene a session on disabilities access. The FCC transcript is here.
Meet Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC Swing Vote (Wall Street Journal)