Let's Sue Big Tech
For ADA Violations.
ABSENT INTENT OR AUTHORITY AS LEGAL ADVICE.
I’ve been doing Americans with Disabilities Act Advocacy since 2017 as a Certified Advocate. I had always presumed that Title III of the ADA, which pertains to public accommodations (businesses) was limited to businesses that at least had a storefront or walk-in presence. Well, I stand corrected.
The USDOJ, in its Guidance on Web Accessibility and the ADA, goes further, and includes web-only businesses. Reading from the settlement agreement between the USDOJ and peapod.com, we see the USDOJ stating:
There’s no mention of a storefront, and there is explicit mention of how peapod.com is available to the public. “through the Internet to personal computers, laptops, mobile devices, tablets, and other similar technology across the United States, and which is a sales and service establishment whose operations affect commerce.”
These qualifiers bring in MANY businesses, including big tech, who also are sales and service establishment(s) whose operations affect commerce.
HOW IS BIG TECH INACCESSIBLE?
Well, I have social communication disorder. Contexts, meanings, etc., are problematic for me, and I have to ask for mitigating measures, such as meanings to words.
When a website offers “I Agree” and a check box, it is denying me equal access. There is no option to request clarification, or ask for accommodation, it’s just a Hobson’s choice of “take it or leave it” which excludes me from equal access.
Then you get to the point where businesses like facebook/meta and twitter and youtube are just banning or punishing those of us who for one disability reason or another are excluded from access. That’s adding insult to injury.
So, today, I began the steps of moving forward with an ADA claim against Twitter, specifically. They have used censorship as a way to punish me for my disability, while they are excluding me from equal access.
My mitigators include (paraphrased)
~Asking for specific, complete, full, and permanent meanings to words used in documents that are confusing or unclear to me. (Twitter refuses to do this, I’ve already asked, in a limited way.)
~Asking for a point of contact for working through disability-related access issues.
Twitter, in addition to discrimination and denial of access, is creating another disability with its practices.
Twitter’s practice of arbitrarily banning or canceling people for community guideline violations is a “physical and/or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”, including speaking (twitter spaces), communicating, interacting with others, and caring for oneself. (Many people use social media as a form of mitigation from anxiety, and Twitter’s bullying is not only exacerbating disabilities, it is equal with “intimidation, threats, and interference” which are prohibited acts under 28 CFR §36.206(b).
There’s more, but this article from Lexology caught my eye this morning.
Website Compliance with the ADA: Is Your Company Compliant With the Latest DOJ Guidance?
The author, an attorney, makes several promising statements, including:
”This broader approach would be consistent with the DOJ’s filing in National Ass’n of the Deaf v. Netflix, Inc., 869 F. Supp. 2d 196 (D. Mass. 2012), wherein the Department filed a Statement of Interest brief that websites are within the scope of Title III protection.”
The entire article is a resource of how this comes about.
Meanwhile, I’m going to be writing my letters…