Imagine you wanted to buy a phone, tablet, or laptop. What if you could buy that piece of tech and find that it has its own screen reading software in it? Well? This is becoming more and more of a reality for those in the U.S. Around the world, not so much. Imagine you’re in China, Thailand, or Hong Kong, or someplace out there in the world, and you want to buy a phone, tablet, or computer. You can’t go far without access technology, so buying that phone, tablet, or PC could require you to ensure that you have access to it, a la JAWS for Windows or WindowEyes if you have Windows. The universal access design in a PlayStation is obviously down to a zilch for all but the U.S. Sony refuses to comply fully by American law, and is not complying much in the other parts of the world. I have blind friends in the UK and other parts of the world who would love a PlayStation, but can’t use its menus and other things because speech is only available in the U.S., no hacking allowed. Only in the America that touts an administration run by a man who may stop access is access even allowed. Trump could also push the FCC to cut net neutrality, which could mean blindness sites would be on the top of the list for companies to say they don’t like. They’d slow down websites just because of preference.
Anyway, access is breeding inequality around the world, an here’s the secret: organized movements. the UK sees the NFB as radical, in Asia it is not allowed in half the countries of the world, and in Africa, some countries are so corrupt and crooked that they don’t think an African blind movement is worth funding even with an NGO. Ethiopian women who are blind are subject to shunning and being an outcast, which is never fun. The United States, sadly, has the best blindness organizations, so you would think, and thanks in part to the NFB, companies absolutely must make their product accessible, no matter what for the American consumer who is blind. Android phones are almost there in accessibility, and in terms of the companies who make android phones, they hail from Korea, CHina, and parts of Europe, but mostly Asian countries whose blind are routinely dismissed from jobs, not allowed to marry, or looked down upon or berated for marrying at all. Koreans oftentimes arrange marriages, as does the continent of Africa. But that’s a whole different story. These are the places where your android phones are coming from, and it’s ironic they have Talkback, which allows blind people to see the screen through audible output and gestured input the way you do with iPhones. An iPhone may be produced in China, which Apple probably doesn’t know the whole history of China’s blind, but Apple at least puts VoiceOver on all first generation products, such being the apple watch. I plan to purchase the watch and give a full on review of it.
We have a lot of things to do and places to go with technology, but a blind person should be able to make choices about technology not based on access, but based on preference. For example, a Korean blind guy may want to purchase a regular product like the iPhone, and an English blind guy may want a game console. Imagine a Thai blind woman purchasing a tablet, a tablet with Talkback or Voiceover on it, and making her life better as a result. Technology and businesses can also intersect, making sure that the blind are not forced into a massage clinic, or an institution, or worse, they may be killed at infancy as in the city of Pyongyang, North Korea. But imagine for a moment, what if we enacted international rules on access technology? What if we enacted international no barriers policies? THen, Jonathan, a guy in New Zealand, could buy a playstation 4 pro and get access as quickly as Chris, a guy in Australia, or as well as Dean, a guy in England, or let’s say a buddy of mine in Hong Kong, or all my friends in America. Perhaps a friend in Germany could also purchase an android phone and still be able to use Talkback, in German of course, or English, whatever the preference, without any problems. International access to technology is important. Very important. Without it, blind people would not have a choice, and part of it requires that governments allow all apps all over the world, period. We need open trade in technological programming, and this way, a blind person and sighted person alike can have access to the same stuff, no matter where you travel.