March 23, 2018•In The News
DRP Managing Attorney Shanon S. Levin explores whether the ADA requires website accessibility where the website at issue is not associated with a traditional storefront in an article for The Legal Intelligencer.
Does the ADA Apply in the Internet Era?
When the ADA was enacted, the vast information infrastructure of the Internet that allows ready access to employment, health care, education, government services, goods and entertainment did not exist.
When President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in 1990, he declared that the ADA would “open up all aspects of American life to individuals with disabilities—employment opportunities, government services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications,” noting that the ADA is “comprehensive because the barriers faced by individuals with disabilities are wide-ranging” and that then-existing disability discrimination laws “have left broad areas of American life untouched or inadequately addressed,” Statement on Signing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (July 26, 1990). When the ADA was enacted, the vast information infrastructure of the Internet that allows ready access to employment, health care, education, government services, goods and entertainment did not exist. As is not historically uncommon, technology and the law did not develop simultaneously. Despite the ubiquity of the Internet as an everyday tool for most Americans, federal courts of appeals have split on the issue of whether the protections of the ADA reach goods and services provided solely via the Internet, leaving people with disabilities without a well-settled right to equal access to the internet.