In France, when you are visually impaired, it is almost impossible to redo your identity card or driver’s license online. The reason ? 77% of the 250 online public services are not accessible to the 12 million French people with disabilities, that is to say they are not designed to be transcribed orally or in Braille by a digital reader. screen for those who need it. Behind this a priori technical question hides a social issue: equal treatment between citizens, guaranteed by law.
The state illegal since 2005
” It’s a shame! “, Exasperated Fernando Pinto Da Silva, digital strategy officer for the association Braillenet and himself visually impaired. In France, digital accessibility has been a legal obligation for more than fifteen, reiterated in 2016 by law for a digital republic. Over there directive of 2018 on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies, the European Union (EU) also hit the nail on the head. Member states had until 23 September 2020 to come into compliance. France is therefore still outside the law, but the Commission has not provided for financial sanctions.
” Despite its deadlines, nothing changes. We really wonder what the good is “, Impatiently Fernando Pinto Da Silva, who is also a member of the Federation of the Blind of France. Yet when the government announced a series of measures in favor of digital accessibility at the National Disability Conference last February, Fernando wanted to believe it. Among other things, Cédric O, Secretary of State in charge of Digital, had committed to achieving a target of 80% of online public services accessible by 2022 – i.e. around 160 sites when there are only around 30 today. An ambition that Fernando Pinto Da Silva then deemed “realistic”.
” It’s unbearable “
And since ? The statements follow one another and sound the same. But the file is hardly moving forward. In September, instead of celebrating the compliance with European law of French public sites, Amélie de Montchalin, in charge of European Affairs, accompanied by Sophie Cluzel, in charge of people with disabilities, again confirmed the finding of failure and reaffirmed their desire for change. ” In the meantime, thousands of French people are discriminated against. It’s unbearable ! Fernando Pinto Da Silva is annoyed.
Discrimination hits fast online. With his PC (a latest generation Dell equipped with an additional software layer capable of reading what is written on the interfaces provided for this system) he gives us a demonstration on the Pôle emploi site. From the first click, it gets stuck. The software can no longer advance through the tabs of the site. The computer voice that dictates all the information on the screen is also blocked. He changes devices, takes his latest iPhone … same observation. “ What does that mean ? Because I am visually impaired, could I not look for a job like the rest of the French? He wonders.
1 in 5 people would need accessible sites
The World Wide Web consortium estimates that one in five people in the world would need accessible online services. Since 1997, the internal group dedicated to Internet accessibility has regularly provided guides to make developers aware of these issues, which are technically surmountable. Efforts must also be made on training for digital professions, so that the programs include a module on the subject.
But, now the urgency is in action. Tired of hearing speeches without seeing the consequences, it seems that several militant associations are considering legal proceedings against the French state. ” We can’t wait any longer, now things have to move! », Insists Fernando Da Silda.