Last week marked a watershed moment in the relatively short history of the drive for universal web accessibility.
September 23 saw the passing of the deadline for public sector bodies across the EU to implement the Web Accessibility Directive. Despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations, this has also simultaneously been transposed into U.K. law via the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Apps) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (PSBAR).
The requirements are relatively straightforward — public sector bodies including central government departments, local authorities, NHS Trusts and universities are now compelled by law to conform to a recognized global standard for web accessibility known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).
The new obligations had already come into force for newer websites (created after September 23 2018) last year and will apply to public sector mobile apps from June 23 2021.
“Online censorship goes far beyond the issue of free speech, it’s also one of protecting consumers and ensuring they are informed of their rights and resources to fight back under the law,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement earlier this week. “State attorneys general are on the front lines of this issue and President Trump wants to hear their perspectives.”
The White House summit builds on an executive order that Trump signed just a few months ago, which targeted a key legal shield granting tech companies broad immunity from lawsuits for the videos, photos and posts shared on their services, as well as their content moderation decisions. Tech companies have long denied the allegations of bias, which have been made with little evidence, and a prominent tech industry group has challenged the constitutionality of that order.
An escalation of anti-conservative bias claims could drum up support among