Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – May 2021

Date of Publication: 
2021 June

Throughout May, the world celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The U.S. Access Board published a press release commemorating the progress of accessibility in the country. They acknowledged their accessibility and inclusion programming over the last few months leading up to GAAD. Individuals or companies looking to improve their accessibility practices can take one of GAAD’s virtual training sessions and learn more about digital accessibility guidelines and standards. Across social media, the hashtags #GAAD2021 and #GAAD circulated, and a host of entities held events, speakers, and tech companies released a plethora of digital devices that center on accessibility. For instance, Google announced the computer mouse panning feature that makes screen content more visible and more accessible to engage with for people with visual disabilities.

In regulatory news, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) released a Public Notice extending the deadline for stakeholders to submit commentary on whether rules implementing the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) need updating.  Essentially, the Commission is open to hearing about new advanced communications accessibility priorities that have come about as a result of technological change and existing CVAA proceedings that need more rapid progression and resolution.

In Wireless RERC news, we submitted reply comments to the FCC in response to their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry in The Matter of Amendment of Part II of the Commission’s Rules Regarding the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts [PS Docket No. 15-94; 15-91]. In our reply comments, we indicated support for expanding the Presidential alert class to allow activation by FEMA. Regarding WEA accessibility, among other things, we recommended that the FCC bring academic research findings to bear on federal policy and regulations concerning the accessibility of the content of emergency messages, specifically as it relates to the use of plain language instead of jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms that diminish accessibility.

This issue also includes news about AskSARA AT Tool, Social Media, Remote Wireless Charging, Brain-to-Text, Eye-gaze Technology, Earswitch, Robotics, and more.


The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.