Group: Colleges requiring Google apps violate rights of the blind as Gmail isn't accessible

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 15, 2011; 12:46 PM

WASHINGTON - An advocacy group has filed a complaint with the federal government accusing New York University and Northwestern University of discriminating against the blind by adopting Google's e-mail program.

The National Federation of the Blind said Tuesday that Gmail and other Google applications used by the schools aren't fully functional with text-to-speech technology, and their adoption violates the Americans with Disabilities act. The Baltimore-based group is asking that the Justice Department investigate. It also wants colleges to halt adoption of such software until it's accessible to everyone.

Both schools recently adopted Google Apps for Education for campus e-mail and other services.

The National Federation of the Blind says other software options available are accessible to blind students. But the group says more than half of U.S. colleges that are outsourcing their e-mail are choosing Google programs.

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