In the U.S., the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on Dec. 3, 2004, by President George W. Bush. The provisions of the Act became effective on July 1, 2005, with the exception of some of the elements pertaining to the definition of a "highly qualified teacher" that took effect upon the signing of the Act. The final National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) was published on July 19, 2006 (71 FR 41084) and was included as Appendix C to Part 300--National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard--published on August 14, 2006.
The legislation often referred to as "Section 508" is an amendment to the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This amendment was signed into law by President William J. Clinton on August 7, 1998. Section 508 requires that electronic and information technology developed by or purchased by the Federal Agencies be accessible by people with disabilities. The 1986 version of Section 508 established non-binding guidelines for technology accessibility and the 1998 version created binding, enforceable standards that are incorporated into the Federal Procurement Process.
Many countries in Europe as well as around the world have legislation in place to reduce discrimination against people with disabilities of all ages, along with related policies or guidelines applying to online services. The European Union (EU) and the European Commission (EC) have established programs to ensure that inclusion for people with disabilities is enhanced and enforced among all member states. It includes meeting the needs of the elderly and other disadvantaged groups. In particular, they have agreed to “address the needs of older workers and elderly people by exploiting the full potential of the internal market of information and communications technology (ICT) services and products for the elderly, amongst others by addressing demand fragmentation by promoting interoperability through standards and common specifications where appropriate. EU Ministerial Declaration, 11 June 2006, Riga, Latvia
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