Technology and Disability Policy Highlights: May 2017

Date of Publication: 
2017 June

In May, the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing regarding emergency alerting systems in the United States. The questions and answers during the hearing reflected research and development efforts on the modernization and maturation of the national systems. Questions from Congressional members ranged from technical to specific concerns regarding their district such as Would seniors or socioeconomically challenged individuals have to purchase new televisions or upgrade smartphones to receive and benefit from the enhanced emergency alerts? When will WEA support Silver Alerts? Would the enhancements include alerts communicated in other languages such as Spanish or Sign Language? What impact would a repeal of Net Neutrality rules have on emergency messaging systems? Regarding the latter, consumer, practitioner, and industry stakeholders will have the opportunity to address that question and many others concerning Net Neutrality. The FCC released a Notice of Prosed Rulemaking In the Matter of Restoring Internet Freedom [WC Docket No. 17-108]. The NPRM is seeking stakeholder input on amendments to existing Net Neutrality rules put in place to regulate broadband service as a public utility. Initial comments are due on or before July 17, 2017, and reply comments, on or before August 16, 2017.

Several reports were released addressing the rise of wireless-only households, the potentialities of autonomous vehicles and ridesharing services on environmental change, the status of IoT, and persistent barriers to availability and use of assistive technologies. Hyperlinked titles are below:

This issue also includes news about a bionic hand that learns and remembers, Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and the new Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion.


The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.