Google Asked to Make Its Visual Word Verification Accessible

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An online petition is being circulated to all Internet users for the purpose of collecting signatures showing support for Google to make its word verification scheme accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

We at the Blind Access Journal call upon all Internet users to sign the Google Word Verification Accessibility Petition found at http://www.petitiononline.com/captcha asking Google to provide an accessible alternative to the visual verification scheme that currently locks the blind and visually impaired out of participation in all the company's services. Google’s implementation of word verification currently denies us access to such important features as the ability to create accounts and blogs, change our passwords, and post comments to most blogs that use the Blogger service. Accessible solutions to visual verification have already been put in place by such companies as America Online, Microsoft, PayPal and SpamArrest. We ask Google to follow this lead with an audio playback implementation now, followed by the creation of new innovative approaches that meet the needs of all users, including the deaf-blind population.

After allowing sufficient time to collect a significant number of signatures, the signed petition will be sent, via certified mail, to Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO. Visual verification without accessibility represents a growing, immediate clear and present danger to the continued ability of the blind and visually impaired to participate in all the Internet has to offer on terms of equality with our sighted peers. Let's all sign this petition and do all we can to urge Google to make the situation right by following the company's own mission statement to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” by allowing participation for everyone.

Please redistribute this press release to all interested parties, post it on blogs, discuss it on podcasts and insure its wide distribution to all independent and mainstream media outlets. E-mail and telephone queries are welcome from all interested in this vital effort. We thank you in advance for your support.

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Darrell Shandrow
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