Section 508 is a law included in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in 1998, and its purpose is to “…require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities.”
In a nutshell, being 508 compliance means that all users, whether they have disabilities or not, can access technology, providing new opportunities for all Internet users.
The GSA Government-wide IT Accessibility Program regulates compliance standards.
The article details the laws primary applicable to the Telecommunications industry and other industries needing 508 compliance.
Specifically to telecommunications, three primary laws are regulating ADA compliance:
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA is a US-based law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life within the US. These areas include, but are not limited to, jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Section 255 of the Communications Act: All telecommunications products and services must be accessible to people with disabilities.
21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010: All advanced communications products and services must be accessible to people with disabilities.
Industries needing 508 compliance
Section 508 applies to any company that does business with a federal agency, at any level. Following organizations need to be 508 compliant: