Washington (October 8, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today released the following statement in honor of the 10th anniversary of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), landmark legislation that significantly increased accessibility for Americans with disabilities to the indispensable telecommunications and video technology tools of the 21st century.
Senator Markey authored the CVAA while serving in the House of Representatives in order to address an accessibility gap created by the proliferation of modern technologies like smart phones and tablets, as well as newer services like online video, text messaging, and email. Senator Markey’s law requires that smart phones, tablets, and set top boxes, as well as the universe of apps, devices, and services, are designed with accessibility in the first place, not added sometime after the fact. The CVAA also expanded access to closed captioning and audio descriptions for video, while ensuring that everyone can receive live-saving emergency information. Until the CVAA became law, these rapidly emerging technologies and services were not governed by federal accessibility protections.
“Today’s ‘Miracle Worker’ is technology. The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act has increased access for Americans with disabilities to the technological tools needed to succeed in today’s interconnected world. The law ensures that no one is left behind ever again when it comes to emerging technologies. I have always believed that technology accessibility is about participation, and that each of us should have the ability to participate in society to the greatest extent that our talents and abilities permit. And as our society evolves, our protections for individuals with disabilities must evolve too.
“Passing this revolutionary law is one of my proudest achievements. It is an extension of my commitment in Congress to the principles of opportunity, independence, and equal access for all. On the 10th anniversary of this bedrock law, I reaffirm my commitment to these fundamental principles, and I pledge to continue fighting for these timeless values in the years ahead.”