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Re: lynx-dev User Agent

From: David Woolley
Subject: Re: lynx-dev User Agent
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 08:44:49 +0100 (BST)

> mailing list) would be that excluding non-graphical browsers in the
> first place may be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
> since it denies access to blind users using Lynx with a screen reader.

At least in the UK this sort of legislation is either ignored, because
of lack of enforcement (the classic case is Fire Regulations and open
fire doors) or will result in a reluctant token compliance.  For real
success you need to convince people that it is in their commercial
interest to do the job properly.

Actually I'm confused about this Act, because I've also read that the
US government is going to require government contractors to provide
accessible web sites, which tends to imply that there is no legal
requirement on non-government contractors and the government has to
use commercial, not legal, pressures to get compliance.

Note that the SSL issue is a freeware, not a text-only, issue;
some sites might require that some commercial security company approve
the Lynx encryption implementation (NB most serious encryption bugs in
commercial software have not been in the encryption libraries but in
how the host software uses them).  Such approval would cost money and
would only apply to particular source versions and possibly only to
particular binaries.

On the crawling issue, Lynx probably needs to force something into the
User Agent string unconditionally, when crawling to allow sites to
discriminate between Lynx crawling and interactive use.  (Being GPLed,
unfortunately, one can take that something out of the source code.)

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