Telstra's decision is included in its 6th Disability Action Plan which was launched today, on the Internal Day of People with Disability, and follow's ACCAN's "kill CAPTCHA" change.org petition, launched in August.
CAPTCHA tests require web users to fill out a box with obscurely-animated letters and numbers (and more recently, images) to prove they are human. Although the intent is to protect users from security threats, the tests block out blind and visually-impaired users from online activities, as screen-reading software is unable to read them.
"CAPTCHA tests fundamentally fail to recognise people with disability as human," ACCAN disability policy advisor, Wayne Hawkins, said. "We are pleased that Telstra has taken the lead on this issues and we encourage other providers and businesses in Australia to kill their CAPTCHAs too."
ACCAN said it is also encouraged by Telstra's goal to include accessibility as a requirement in their ICT tenders, which is also part of its 6th Disability Action Plan. ACCAN has been highly active on the accessible IT procurement front, having previously called on government to adopt this strategy in order to increase employment opportunities for people with disability, and result in cheaper and more available accessible products and services.
"Government and big business can really lead the way in helping people with disability get employed and stay in the workforce," Hawkins said. "Their enormous purchasing power can also stimulate the market to give us greater choices and cheaper prices for accessible products and services."