National Federation of the Blind sues to stop Kindle program

The National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind have announced that they've filed a discrimination lawsuit against Arizona State University, claiming that the University’s Amazon Kindle DX Pilot Program discriminates against the blind. The NFB and ACB have also filed complaints with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, asking for investigations of the five other institutions of higher education that are part of the Kindle pilot project, which is intended to assess the role of electronic textbooks and reading devices in the classroom. The other institutions in the pilot program are Case Western Reserve University, the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, Pace University, Princeton University, and Reed College.

Although the Kindle features text-to-speech technology that can read textbooks aloud to blind students, the NFB and ACB say that its menus are not accessible to the blind, making it impossible for a blind user to purchase books from Amazon’s Kindle store, select a book to read, activate the text-to-speech feature, or use the advanced reading functions available on the Kindle DX.