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Internet, social media open doors of accessibility for those with deafblindness – OrilliaMatters

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NEWS RELEASE
DEAFBLIND ONTARIO
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During a time when we are physically separated from family, friends, and our peers, technology helps to bridge the gap and encourage social connection from afar.

Although checking social media platforms, browsing the internet, and navigating video and audio streaming services are considered normal interactions, they also open doors of accessibility for others.

For Steven, a man with deafblindness, Facebook and email connect him with the outside world. “I communicate online because I like to talk to people… it is faster and easier [for me] to communicate.”

Deafblindness, a combined loss of hearing and vision, impacts access to information, communication, and mobility. Born with Rubella, also known as the German measles, Steven is profoundly deaf and blind in his left eye. He is legally blind in his right.

Professional intervenors connect people with deafblindness, like Steven, to other people and their community as a communication partner. Amy, one of the intervenors who supports Steven, has worked in the field for 17 years; 12 of those with DeafBlind Ontario Services.

Amy and Steven take a Total Communication Approach, which uses as many methods of communication as needed to facilitate the exchange of information. Steven uses Signing Exact English (SEE), a system of manual communication that strives to be an exact representation of English vocabulary and grammar. He also utilizes Braille and large print, along with large print notes for those with little experience with sign. In recent years, Steven has benefited from technological advancements, especially with respect to communication.

He uses an iPad and laptop on a daily basis to email, share on Facebook, converse through Facebook Messenger, and video chat with his family, friends, and intervenors. Steven also browses the internet to search areas of interest, coordinate plans, and set his weekly budget.

According to Amy, “Steven likes a variety of ways to communicate with friends and family that do not live close to him. Without the internet and social media, Steven would not be able to socialize as often with everyone in his life and stay connected.”

Now, more than ever, these mediums are integral to Steven. “I cannot go grocery shopping, or out to buy the essentials for my apartment… I am ordering everything online. My sister can’t come visit [because of social distancing]. Since I cannot use the phone to talk to people, my iPad and laptop are important for me to be able to stay in touch.”

Steven also uses his laptop and iPad to stay informed about COVID-19.

While Steven’s world is augmented by these mediums, accessibility-related barriers can also prevent people with disabilities from engaging online.

A barrier is anything that keeps a person with a disability from participating in the social or economic life of our communities. With respect to technology, this can mean websites, apps, PDFs, and videos that are inaccessible to assistive technologies.

During challenging times such as these, we must ensure that people with disabilities like deafblindness are protected. This means accessible media communication that is available when information is given, official information about COVID-19 in accessible formats, along with digital media that is accessible or made accessible upon request.

Thursday, May 21, 2020, marks the ninth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This day aims to raise awareness about digital (web, mobile, software, etc.) access and inclusion for those with disabilities.

“Digital innovations continue to reshape society on many levels; their potential to advance and impact daily living, like for Steven, are undeniable. However, over 15 per cent of Ontario’s population has a disability, whether visible or not, including more than 40% of people over age 65. This number will only continue to grow as the population ages. We must look at making technology accessible and useable by persons with disabilities,” said Chief Executive Officer, Roxanna Spruyt-Rocks.

DeafBlind Ontario Services, which is based in Newmarket, provides accessible residential and customized support services across the province. Their holistic approach to Intervenor Services empowers people with deafblindness to achieve their goals and dreams. To learn more, visit deafblindontario.com and celebrate GAAD on May 21 using the hashtag #gaad.

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What is Section 230, the U.S. law protecting social media companies – and can Trump change it? – National Post

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U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to order a review of a federal law known as Section 230, which protects internet companies like Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet’s Google from being responsible for the material posted by users.

WHAT IS SECTION 230?

The core purpose of Section 230 is to protect the owners of any “interactive computer service” from liability for anything posted by third parties. The idea was that such protection was necessary to encourage the emergence of new types of communications and services at the dawn of the Internet era.

Section 230 was enacted in 1996 as part of a law called the Communications Decency Act, which was primarily aimed at curbing online pornography. Most of that law was struck down by the courts as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech, but Section 230 remains.

In practice, the law shields any website or service that hosts content – like news outlets’ comment sections, video services like YouTube and social media services like Facebook and Twitter – from lawsuits over content posted by users.

When the law was written, site owners worried they could be sued if they exercised any control over what appeared on their sites, so the law includes a provision that says that, so long as sites act in “good faith,” they can remove content that is offensive or otherwise objectionable.

The statute does not protect copyright violations, or certain types of criminal acts. Users who post illegal content can themselves still be held liable in court.

The technology industry and others have long held that Section 230 is a crucial protection, though the statute has become increasingly controversial as the power of internet companies has grown.

WHAT PROMPTED THE CREATION OF SECTION 230?

In the early days of the Internet, there were several high-profile cases in which companies tried to suppress criticism by suing the owners of the platforms.

One famous case involved a lawsuit by Stratton Oakmont, the brokerage firm depicted in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” against the early online service Prodigy. The court found that Prodigy was liable for allegedly defamatory comments by a user because it was a publisher that moderated the content on the service.

The fledgling internet industry was worried that such liability would make a range of new services impossible. Congress ultimately agreed and included Section 230 in the Communications Decency Act.

WHAT DOES SECTION 230 HAVE TO DO WITH POLITICAL BIAS?

President Trump and others who have attacked Section 230 say it has given big internet companies too much legal protection and allowed them to escape responsibility for their actions.

Some conservatives, including the president, have alleged that they are subject to online censorship on social media sites, a claim the companies have generally denied.

Section 230, which is often misinterpreted, does not require sites to be neutral. Most legal experts believe any effort to require political neutrality by social media companies would be a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech protections.

CAN PRESIDENT TRUMP ORDER CHANGES TO SECTION 230?

No. Only Congress can change Section 230. In 2018, the law was modified to make it possible to prosecute platforms that were used by alleged sex traffickers. As the power of internet companies has grown, some in Congress have also advocated changes to hold companies responsible for the spread of content celebrating acts of terror, for example, or for some types of hate speech.

A draft of Trump’s May executive order, seen by Reuters, instead calls for the Federal Communications Commission to “propose and clarify regulations” under Section 230. The order suggests companies should lose their protection over actions that are deceptive, discriminatory, opaque or inconsistent with their terms of service.

DO OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE AN EQUIVALENT TO SECTION 230?

The legal protections provided by Section 230 are unique to U.S. law, although the European Union and many other countries have some version of what are referred to as “safe harbor” laws that protect online platforms from liability if they move promptly when notified of illegal content.

The fact that the major internet companies are based in the United States also gives them protection.

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Creators of 6ixBuzz possibly doxed via social media – insauga.com

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The enigmatic and polarizing figures behind 6ixBuzzTV, a controversial social media presence known for inciting vitriol, may have been outed and doxed—when someone releases a person’s personal information including their address.

Doxing has become an insidious part of Internet Culture—it’s often used as a weapon to incite fear and potentially violence by people hiding behind a computer screen and keyboard.

While it’s unclear whether the information is accurate, or who released it, people have been sharing a screenshot of a snapchat image that displays the names and addresses of the people behind 6ixBuzz, who have otherwise remained anonymous since their rise to prominence over the last few years.

According to the oft-shared image, two of the people behind the page are from Toronto, one is from Markham, and one is from Brampton—although all of this is still unverified.

6ixBuzz is known for sharing wild, embarrassing, and uncouth images and videos of people from around the GTA as much as it shares music and promotes artists.

It’s also known for inciting divineness through the content and captions that it shares.

Further, largely due to the fact it’s an unregulated account, many creatives have found their content stolen and repurposed by 6ixBuzz’s account, oftentimes without even an acknowledgement that it came from someone else.

The page, which started as a meme sharing platform in 2010, evolved into a major part of Toronto and the GTA’s media scene—albeit mainly among the younger generations, and mostly for the wrong reasons.

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Town of Outlook passes social media policy for employees, council – The Outlook

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The Town of Outlook recently passed a social media policy for its employees, as well as those on the local council.

The objective of the policy, which is titled ‘Social Media Practices’ is “To provide clear direction to employees and council on the Town’s standards to be observed when using social media.”

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What follows are highlights of the policy, which was provided to The Outlook by the Town:

The Social Media Practices policy is implemented to establish the roles and appropriate forms of communications to the public for all employees and council of the Town of Outlook, both professionally and personally.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Town employees and council on the following social media and networking platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, TikTok, Youtube, forums, message boards, blogs, and the Town’s official website.

POLICY

1. Administration staff and selected department heads may be granted access to the Town’s social media platforms as determined by the CAO.

2. Council will not be granted authority to the administration permissions of the Town’s social media platforms, however will be able to view, share, and engage on posts from the Town.

PROCEDURE

1. All posts, comments, message initiations or replies on behalf of the Town must be communicated from the Town of Outlook’s account, not an employee’s personal account.

2. Direct messages to individuals or businesses via messenger and chat platforms must be signed with the first name of the employee who sent the message.

3. Direct messages on behalf of the Town should only be made by approved personnel and during regular working hours, except in the case of an urgent notification or request.

4. Memorandums, public notices, and social media campaigns must be approved by the CAO prior to being posted.

5. Posts, messages, comments, and any other communications containing profane, derogatory, or defamatory language will be hidden or deleted from the Town’s public social media platforms; users who initiate these forms of communications may be banned from Town pages.

EMPLOYEE GUIDELINES

Employees are welcome to engage in personal social media activities outside of working hours, however when engaging in conversations regarding the Town, we expect employees to observe the following guidelines:

• Be respectful and polite

• Avoid speaking on matters outside of your field of expertise

• Exercise caution when answering questions or making statements

• Follow the Town’s confidentiality policy

• Be mindful of copywrite, trademarks, plagiarism, and fair use standards

• Refrain from using profane, derogatory, or defamatory language

• Ensure others know that their personal statements do not represent the Town

• Advise your immediate supervisor when you come across any misleading or false information

Employees who disregard their job duties, disclose confidential information, or engage in offensive behaviour on personal or professional social media accounts may face disciplinary action as per the Town’s Progressive Discipline Policy.

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