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Section 508 Information

About Section 508

Section 508 requires that when Federal departments or agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, they shall ensure that the electronic and information technology allows Federal employees with disabilities to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the department or agency. Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal department or agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities.

Section 508(a)(2)(A) of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 requires the Access Board to publish standards setting forth a definition of electronic and information technology and the technical and functional performance criteria necessary for accessibility for such technology. The standards are required to be published by February 7, 2000.

The definition of electronic and information technology is required to be consistent with the definition of information technology in section 5002(3) of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. (40 U.S.C. 1401(3)). Information technology under that law means "any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment, that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information" by a Federal agency.

In developing its standards, the Access Board is required to consult with various Federal agencies, the electronic and information technology industry, and appropriate public or nonprofit agencies or organizations, including organizations representing individuals with disabilities. The Access Board is also required to periodically review and, as appropriate, amend the standards to reflect technological advances or changes in electronic and information technology. The General Services Administration and the Access Board are required to provide technical assistance to individuals and Federal departments and agencies concerning the requirements of section 508.

Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology. Over 100 comments from Federal agencies, the electronic and information technology industry, organizations representing individuals with disabilities, and others were submitted to the U.S. Access Board who issued a proposed rule on March 31, 2000, for accessible electronic and information technology in the Federal sector. Visit the Access Board website and click on Electronic and Information Technology items for further updates.

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