Harmonization of ICT standards across the Atlantic
- United States – European Union – U.S. Access Board & European Commission – International e-Accessibility Standards
- United States Access Board
- Country of Implementation
- United States of America
- North America
- Start Year
- First published
In 2004 the international standards cooperation between the United States (U.S.) and the European Commission (EC) was initiated to avoid conflicts and to harmonize their ICT accessibility standards, in particular Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act and the European Commission Mandate M/376. By harmonizing standards between the U.S. and the EC, a framework had been created for developing a wide range of applications that will make ICT products and services more accessible for people with disabilities in both continents. Moreover, it facilitates trade between these regions. To date, the result has been the harmonizing of 90 per cent of all standards, with the expectation of reaching 100 per cent soon.
In the beginning, close trans-Atlantic cooperation was difficult due to the differences between the two legislative and standards models (Section 508 being a binding legislation, and EN 301549 a voluntary standard).
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
There are indications that the cooperation will continue. An international standard may be the appropriate next step to develop a truly international approach to e-accessibility that can be referenced by other countries and even globally. The groups involved in developing the standards are agencies with annual operating budgets, from which portions of the budgets are designated for rulemaking and standards development.