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Anti-Spam Webforms Leave Out The Blind

timothy posted about 11 years ago | from the turning-a-deaf-eye dept.

Spam 757

geekee writes "An article on CNET claims that a technique whereby a user enters a code word displayed in an image in order to register for a service such as an e-mail account discriminates against the blind. Advocacy groups for the blind are even hinting at lawsuits against companies using this practice. A proposed audio workaround for the blind still has problems since it has to be garbled to the point where most people can't understand it to prevent a computer from recognizing the letters. Brings up some interesting issues surrounding the Turing test."

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757 comments

Monitors. (2, Troll)

mgs1000 (583340) | about 11 years ago | (#6352856)

Monitors discriminate against the blind. They should be banned.

Re:Monitors. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352871)

Braille discriminates against the visioned. Ban Braille.

Re:Monitors. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352911)

No kidding. How do they browse the web in the first place?

What is one more image they can't see...geesh!!

Perhaps their seeing eye dogs need to be taught to read!!!

with a specialized browser, fucko (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | about 11 years ago | (#6352971)

Home Page Reader [ibm.com] works very well.

Re:Monitors. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352960)

Maybe that's why so many computers are "Monitor not included."

Re:Monitors. (1)

greechneb (574646) | about 11 years ago | (#6352964)

There are braille displays from what I have seen.

Check google. Why is that so insightful moderators?

Re:Monitors. (2, Interesting)

mgs1000 (583340) | about 11 years ago | (#6353030)

Just as braille displays are an alternative to "regular" monitors, I am sure there are plenty of alternative email providers that don't do this. A free market has a way of providing alternatives when there is a need.

Re:Monitors. (0, Troll)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | about 11 years ago | (#6352985)

Insightful? What the fuck? Are people here really this stupid?

There are alturnatives to monitors, idiot. How the fuck do you think they get on the web in the first place?

The problem here, obviously, is there is no alturnative, for something that is rather trivial.

Re:Monitors. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353009)

Seems that you got the proper moderation.

Re:Monitors. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353037)

Which would you rather be doing right now:

1. Reading /. with your eyes?

2. Reading /. in Braille?

or

3. Having sex with a mare? [equine-reproduction.com]

What about the deaf mutes? (1, Funny)

ramdac (302865) | about 11 years ago | (#6352860)

Audio wouldn't help the deaf mutes.

Hellen keller is scooting around in her grave...maybe even rolling over.

Re:What about the deaf mutes? (1)

ramdac (302865) | about 11 years ago | (#6352887)

and especially not help the blind deaf mutes.

Re:What about the deaf mutes? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353073)

Only bullets can help the blind deaf mutes, or maybe even a bucket of water...

Sound? (1)

TheKey (465831) | about 11 years ago | (#6352864)

So we expect that a computer is going to be smart enough to figure out it needs to find a sound file, go to the link, determine what letters it needs, and put it in the appropriate box?

Re:Sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352938)

Short answer: yes.

Re:Sound? (1)

rootofevil (188401) | about 11 years ago | (#6352941)

given proper leeway for accessibility, this should not be a problem. labels, text instructions read by a screenreader (JAWS for example) would make that problem negligible.

Re:Sound?..now youve done it (1)

JVert (578547) | about 11 years ago | (#6352966)

Nice job, you just gave them a case to argue. Now they will order the websites to provide a garbled sound file speaking the letters in a voice so annoying that no speech reconition software will dare parse.

By the way i'm left handed and i'm STILL waiting for my keypad to jump to the right side. (even though I think left handers have a superior setup for gaming, mouse offset with the keypad)

What's the big deal? (-1, Troll)

4doorGL (591467) | about 11 years ago | (#6352865)

Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. Some things just aren't meant to be used by the blind. What's next? Will they sue Ford or GM because the speedometer of car isn't audible?

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

CommieBozo (617132) | about 11 years ago | (#6352904)

Yes, free email has no purpose for blind people!

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

zilly (129181) | about 11 years ago | (#6352916)

Are you trolling? I know two blind people, and they both use email to communicate, unassisted.

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure you're trolling.

Re:What's the big deal? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353044)

So then they can pay for the email service. Sorry, but you cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time.

Honestly, who cares. Is there not something better to spend brain cycles on? Who cares if the blind can fucking surf the web? I sure as fuck don't.

and you are an asshole.

Re:What's the big deal? (4, Informative)

mcc (14761) | about 11 years ago | (#6352925)

Some things just aren't meant to be used by the blind.

Yes, but that set of things would not logically include Hotmail, Yahoo! Instant Messaging, and Verisign's registration database, which are the specific websites that are listed in this article as using image-based anti-bot techniques...

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352928)

Some things just aren't meant to be used by the blind.
The Web is not one of those things. It's ignorance and stupidity like yours that means this needs to be handled in the courts. If you and the thousands like you grew up and got an education this problem wouldn't arise.

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Funny)

4doorGL (591467) | about 11 years ago | (#6352957)

So what would you prefer to do as a solution?

Remove the test altogether and let spammers have their way with free email accounts? If anything, why not create an e-mail service just for the blind that requires some other type of verification that they can use, but will still stop spammers?

Re:What's the big deal? (5, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about 11 years ago | (#6352945)

So you are saying that blind people are not allowed to vote for the All Star Game (first site to came to mind when I read this). That doesn't seem very fair to me. Baseball is a great example of something that blind people can enjoy almost as much as a sighted person. Your analogy of a car is silly because you wouldn't expect a blind person to drive in the first place. You would expect them to surf the web, listen to baseball, and vote on the All Star game.

Now I understand that baseball is not life-threatening but it is just an example. I think you would feel differently if you or someone you loved was blind.

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Interesting)

4doorGL (591467) | about 11 years ago | (#6353081)

Think of it this way. These companies are giving away free e-mail service. Sure, there's pop-up ads and banners all over the place, but will the blind actually follow the ads/banners? No.

So basically, you want a company offering a free service to go out of their way, spend thousands of dollars and man-hours to create a system for the blind that won't benefit their company? Sure, it would be nice if humanity was that kind, but its not.

Re:What's the big deal? (4, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | about 11 years ago | (#6353058)

Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is. Some things just aren't meant to be used by the blind. What's next? Will they sue Ford or GM because the speedometer of car isn't audible?

This isn't anything to do with the blind at all, and never was - it's about lawyers smelling a way to use someone else's misfortune to make themselves a quick buck. So much easier to chase a blind man than an ambulance, see.

As an aside, if these so-called advocacy groups have a better solution, let's hear it. All they are saying is that they'll block one of the few solutions that does exist, which isn't very constructive. That is further evidence that they're only in it for the money.

Yeah, I read the article about the audio solution, but the article also says it doesn't work nearly as well, and it wasn't thought up by one of these lawyers anyway, but by their intended victims.

Turing Test? (4, Interesting)

CommieBozo (617132) | about 11 years ago | (#6352874)

What are the "interesting issues surrounding the Turing test?" I don't think generating a poor quality recording of some random word has anything to do with useful artificial intelligence.

Re:Turing Test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352952)

do you even know what the turing test is?
granted, given the turing test was teletype, suggesting a program could pretend to be a deaf mute to avoid this intelligence test is rather meaningless.

Re:Turing Test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353039)

There aren't any. However, if you don't want to read the turing test completely and understand that Turing made exceptions for input/output and appearance then it raises a couple questions.

Namely questions about whether or not these kind of trivalities for a human are worthy of keeping a machine from being labled AI when it could be intelligent in other regards... but again, the original Turing Test takes these into account, he was a smart guy.

Why? What's the use? (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 11 years ago | (#6352876)

Why do these things have to be so massively obfuscated? Is there some blazingly fast, free, accurate OCR software floating around that people have been using to cheat wet forms? Is speech recognition so good now that sound would have to be played back from inside a '73 Pinto at the bottom of a swimming pool to keep a computer from parsing it?

Seriously. What problem are these methods hoping to solve?

Re:Why? What's the use? (1)

antibryce (124264) | about 11 years ago | (#6352903)

I know a lot of Domain Name Registrars use these methods on their web-based whois forms, to prevent spammers from harvesting email addresses and domains via automated scripts.

Re:Why? What's the use? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 11 years ago | (#6352948)

I understand that part, but why can't the image be in a nice anti-aliased Times New Roman? If someone is so determined to scrape the information, then they'll pay someone to sit and type numbers that flash across their screen - in other words, they'll hire a human OCR to do it. This does nothing but make it harder than necessary for everybody else without actually solving anything.

Re:Why? What's the use? (1)

rootofevil (188401) | about 11 years ago | (#6352970)

humans cost money. scripts cost power and bandwidth (ie, nothing)

Re:Why? What's the use? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 11 years ago | (#6353021)

Spammers allegedly make hundreds of thousands of dollars. I imagine that a human making $6.00/hour could decode several thousand images like:

4 5 7

9 a 1 b c

z h 4 q l

per shift. How many faked accounts would you need, anyway? Do spammers really go through 10,000 per day each?

Re:Why? What's the use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352956)

They had that article posted here a few weeks ago about the honeypots for harvesting.

I seem to recall that NONE of the graphical email addresses were harvested. Is it just me, or would it be a BIG waste of CPU time to harvest every graphic off of every page that a spider encounters?

Re:Why? What's the use? (5, Insightful)

phritz (623753) | about 11 years ago | (#6353063)

They are trying really hard to obfuscate these words.

I was attempting to buy some concert tickets from a large, evil corporation recently. The letters were so contorted that I simply COULD NOT read it ... I got several friends' guesses on what the word was, and each opinion was different. If the problem is really so bad as to necessitate these word games, it might be time to try a different tactic.

For instance, couldn't you simply direct the user to perform a few simple tasks? (e.g. select the bubble with the picture of the fish next to it, then type the last name of the president of the united states in the second box from the left) I doubt AI would be able to cope with as system like this, especially if you had varying combinations of tests. If you had a variety of these tests, you could also make some that accomodated the disabled, too.

Screwing up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352878)

Assumption is second to all screwups, the first being trying to get FP!

BLind people use the damn web, stop using flash!

What about road signs? (0, Troll)

valkraider (611225) | about 11 years ago | (#6352879)

We should get rid of Road signs - they discriminate against the blind as well.

Re:What about road signs? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352980)

How many of you trolls are there. Blind people don't drive so road signs are moot. Blind people DO surf the web and should be able to do pretty much anything that you can do. The internet is about openness, not bigotry.

We should get rid of intelligent discussion (0, Flamebait)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | about 11 years ago | (#6353029)

It discriminates against people such as yourself.

Turing test (2, Interesting)

Lane.exe (672783) | about 11 years ago | (#6352891)

The Turing test should hold true on audio. Anyone ever tried using voice recognition software/speech-to-text software? Even if it was a computer listening in with this software, there's a good chance that the computer is going to get it wrong anyway.

How much to concede to please everyone? (5, Interesting)

Ophidian P. Jones (466787) | about 11 years ago | (#6352893)

No matter what you do to improve conditions for a large group of people, some much smaller group will still be inconvenienced or have their level of inconvenience slightly raised. In this case, we have a very important tool used to fight spammers in their quest to sign up for email accounts automatically. Billions of pieces of spam float around the 'net every day. How many blind people are there?

This reminds me of new 25-cent public bathrooms tested by New York City awhile back. You paid 25 cents to go use it, and it cleaned itself and smelled great and so on. Then people in wheelchairs complained they couldn't use them (because they were too small), and were being discriminated against. So, the company made a larger version. Except now, you had bums popping in a quarter, and having a free room for the night. More lawsuits ensued.

When will it stop?

Re:How much to concede to please everyone? (4, Insightful)

stand (126023) | about 11 years ago | (#6352986)

Except now, you had bums popping in a quarter, and having a free room for the night.

Free cookies to the first person that sees what's wrong with this sentence.

Re:How much to concede to please everyone? (1)

Ophidian P. Jones (466787) | about 11 years ago | (#6353032)

Except now, you had bums popping in a quarter, and having a free room for the night.
Free cookies to the first person that sees what's wrong with this sentence.
Sorry, "Except, then you had..." it should read, or something similar.

Re:How much to concede to please everyone? (2, Insightful)

macshune (628296) | about 11 years ago | (#6353067)

The bums didn't have a "free" room 'cause they paid a quarter for it!


*hungrily waits for cookies*

Re:How much to concede to please everyone? (5, Funny)

geckofiend (314803) | about 11 years ago | (#6353051)

Don't you understand this is the 21st century? If everyone can't do it then nobody should do it.

Re:How much to concede to please everyone? (5, Informative)

nsxdavid (254126) | about 11 years ago | (#6353076)

There is a fantastic book: "The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America" that talks about such situations and more. It applies directly to this situation and is an entertaining, often infurating read. It's the sort of book that makes you mad at lots of different people. The examples, all real-world, are excellent.

For example:

The nuns of the Missionaries of Charity believed two abandoned buildings in New York City would make ideal homeless shelters. The city agreed and offered to sell the building for one dollar each. Yet the shelter project faltered: the city's bureaucracy imposed such expensive remodeling requirements on the buildings that the shelter plans were scrapped.

ISBN: 0446672289

The Blind (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352896)

Since the net is PRIMARILY a visual media, blind people would naturally be discrtminated against. Much like driving. Who would want signs that Shout out for blind drivers? But think of all the things that could be successfully kept from the blind , like porn. What a blessing!

Re:The Blind (1)

CommieBozo (617132) | about 11 years ago | (#6352984)

Yes, because the majority of the content on Slashdot, and all other sites, is visual. Oh, wait, it's all text, just like this!

Re:The Blind (1)

TheMidget (512188) | about 11 years ago | (#6353042)

Since the net is PRIMARILY a visual media, blind people would naturally be discrtminated against.

Says who? It's primarly a digital media. And digital information (text, etc.) can be represented in any number of ways, a monitor is just one of them (think braille lines, text-to-speech software, etc.)

Much like driving.

Yes, but in the physical world, blind people can still walk. And many cities do take action to make traffic easyer for blind people (pedestrian traffic lights that buzz, elevator buttons with braille markings, etc)

Maybe I'm wrong, but... (1)

el-spectre (668104) | about 11 years ago | (#6352898)

It seems like all you would need to do is have an option that has a voice clearly enunciate the text, and you'd be good. Record all the possible letters, combine 'em on the fly, and play them for the user.

Of course, voice recognition could be used by bots... but I expect OCR to start thwarting the visual trick as well.

Sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352899)

Why not use a voice spelling letters or saying a word to give everyone equal opportunity? Should not be too difficult.

Turing test (2, Informative)

BiteMeFanboy (680905) | about 11 years ago | (#6352902)

My ass. This is the opposite of the Turning Test, and has so little to do with it that it shouldn't have even been mentioned. Just some dumb ass reporter trying to appear erudite.

Hotmail (5, Informative)

eadz (412417) | about 11 years ago | (#6352905)

Hotmail's one has a link "click here if you can't see the image" which then proceeds to read you the letters via an audio file which you can then type in.

Although or blind and deaf, you're still out of luck.

Re:Hotmail (1)

lakeland (218447) | about 11 years ago | (#6353053)

Interesting. But automatic recognition of spoken letters is pretty easy, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Re:Hotmail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353071)

>Although or blind and deaf, you're still out of luck.

Well, blind, deaf and have no friends to help you through the one-off process. I mean, come on - this isn't the end of the world.

I've been seeing more of this lately (1)

squarefish (561836) | about 11 years ago | (#6352910)

network solutions has begun using this system just for whois queries. the place they want you to get the code is graphic.

I can see it now.... (5, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | about 11 years ago | (#6352914)

...In a few years, gun manufacturors will have to have audible scopes on their rifles because optical scopes discriminate against the blind.

Wall....Wall....Intruder's leg....Intruders stomache....Intruder's head
*BANG*

Re:I can see it now.... (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | about 11 years ago | (#6352997)

Wall....Wall....Intruder's leg....Cat....Intruders stomach....Intruder's head....Birdcage....Bird....

--

Case in point: (5, Interesting)

dewie (685736) | about 11 years ago | (#6352918)

It's probably worth pointing out that the /. account signup employs just such a technique.

And yes, I can see how this can be viewed as discriminatory, but the problem of devising an alternative is far from trivial.

Is it the blind? (0)

geekmetal (682313) | about 11 years ago | (#6352919)

The enemy is now taking cover behind the blind. The battle gets complicated.

Hope the judge is sensible enough to throw these cases out.

Concerts (0, Offtopic)

gr0nd (128937) | about 11 years ago | (#6352922)

I hope TicketMaster [ticketmaster.com] is the first target, since the government never bothers to deal with them as a monopoly. I can't seem to find anyone interested in the fact that they routinely charge more than 10% above the ticket price which is a violation of Pennsylvania state statutes. Oh, silly me: they're just part of the entertainment cabal.

Anyone could have seen this coming (5, Funny)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | about 11 years ago | (#6352929)

And let me just say I'm profoundly sorry about the subject line of this post.

--

*sigh* (2, Interesting)

Horny Smurf (590916) | about 11 years ago | (#6352930)

Why do I get the feeling that when all is said and done, a handful of lawyers will be able to go out and buy yachts, but blind people won't be any better off?

Maybe you should have mentioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352931)

that slashdot does the exact same thing when you try to get an account.

Re:Maybe you should have mentioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353015)

When I submitted the story, I did mention that. Looks like it got "edited" out. Fucking dickheads.

Internet for the blind (1)

Erick the Red (684990) | about 11 years ago | (#6352939)

rminds me of this site [albinoblacksheep.com]

solved (4, Interesting)

Fux the Pengiun (686240) | about 11 years ago | (#6352946)

Huh, I thought this had already been solved? I was reading about this issue on CNN's similar story [cnn.com] last week, and they mentioned the outcry from the blind and mute community over this issue. However, they also said Microsoft had already come up for a solution with regards to hotmail (M$'s free internet based e mail service) by simply not applying the test to the blind. WindowsXP checks to see if a Braille translator [enablemart.com] is hooked up to your computer, and relays this through your .NET passport to Hotmail. If it is, you don't have to go through that mess.

Sounds like a good solution to me! Besides, if they do this for the blind, and use that audio test thing instead, the deaf will be all over them.

Re:solved (1)

flyingfred0 (669477) | about 11 years ago | (#6352987)

So.... I guess this could leave the door wide open for all those blind spammers out there to get back in business?

Re:solved -- for now (4, Insightful)

donutz (195717) | about 11 years ago | (#6353031)

WindowsXP checks to see if a Braille translator is hooked up to your computer, and relays this through your .NET passport to Hotmail. If it is, you don't have to go through that mess.

And will be immediately unsolved as soon as a spammer purchases and hooks up a Braille translator to his computer.

Re:solved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353061)

But whats to stop spammers writing a braille emulator and automaticlly sending them the scan codes for it.

Bonzai Buddy (3, Funny)

docstrange (161931) | about 11 years ago | (#6352949)

Hello, I am your seeing eye monkey from bonzai buddy, I can help you read the text off of the screen that you need to register for your e-mail account.

Would you like to.

1. have the selection recognized with ocr, and read to you.
2. send your personal information to us, along with the new e-mail account so we can send it to spammers.
3. Profit!@!@
(except in soviet russia where the OCR owns us)

I think many, many websites do.. (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 11 years ago | (#6352951)

If you ever try to turn off images, you'll see that ALT tags are sadly lacking, making many sites impossible for blind to navigate...

I don't think it's bad will, but rather that seeing is such an integral part of the normal experience they just don't even think about it. I normally wouldn't.

If not image recognition, they need something to prevent mass registering bots... Hashcash perhaps, that should work even for the blind.

Kjella

don't blind people have... (1)

omeomi (675045) | about 11 years ago | (#6352954)

friends to read things to them every now and again? How often do you sign up for an email account, or submit something to a search engine?

Well.. (1)

Anixamander (448308) | about 11 years ago | (#6352955)

Brings up some interesting issues surrounding the Turing test.

Well, if the word displayed in an image serves a a turing test, and if a blind person is unable to pass said test, it can only mean...

Blind people are robots!

As we all know, robots are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and thus have no standing in court. I don't think these companies have anything to worry about. Oh yeah, IANAL. In fact, you'd be better off with the Chewbacca defense than this one.

A better way... (5, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | about 11 years ago | (#6352959)

If we know the target language, then you could produce a challenge based on a sentence. Say something like
"Thirteen red small dogs went to the zoo."
What size were they? (to which the answer would be "small")

You could mix and match questions and adjectives to keep spammers on their toes. The only drawback is that this is only effective for as long as you have a bigger dictionary system than the spammers. Using a larger sentence or paragraph with more complexities should help.

"[count] [color] [size] [age] object [and [count] [color] [size] [age] [object] ...] verb [location] [time]." ... as long as you've got a big enough dictionary that can fill in the blanks, generating these messages as a challenge should be a cinch. an encrypted string in the Subject (which is fairly dependably returned in the reply) could be used to identify the particular message, and the answer could be looked up

Re:A better way... (2, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | about 11 years ago | (#6352988)

Then you're discriminating against stupid people...not everybody would answer "small".

Simpler way Re:A better way... (1)

snilloc (470200) | about 11 years ago | (#6353079)

"The secret pass-phrase is "BLUE DOGS"."

The extra words ("The secret pass-phrase") would be very hard for a computer to deal with, and they would vary slightly from site to site.

in other news... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352973)

Yet another story NOT "edited" by Micheal! Woohoo! I'm as happy as a little girl :)

Just make a checkbox... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352975)

Just make a checkbox saying "I am legally blind under the Americans with Disabilities Act". If a computer checks it, it will be against the DMCA, and a lawsuit can follow.

Re:Just make a checkbox... (1)

omeomi (675045) | about 11 years ago | (#6353047)

What does an ADA checkbox have to do with the DMCA?

Solution ask a question? (2, Interesting)

BagOBones (574735) | about 11 years ago | (#6352977)

Using audio, ask the user a question that is hard for a computer to interpret.

What is the first vowel in your last name? (leave blank for none)

If you added all the digits in you phone number up what would be their sum?

I am sure some text to speech software could produce good text, and someone could parse the sentence, but if you randomized the questions enough it should deter most automated attacks.

Then again these type of questions may offend those who just can't figure out the answers.

Re:Solution ask a question? (1)

stand (126023) | about 11 years ago | (#6353080)

What is the first vowel in your last name? (leave blank for none)

Not all alphabet systems have the concept of vowels.

If you added all the digits in you phone number up what would be their sum?

Not all people have phone numbers

Darwin Refuted (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6352996)

Evolution has not only stopped; it has, in fact, reversed.

By protecting and mollycoddling the genetically defective, the pro-cripple lobby and their lawyers are reversing the positive effects of evolution within our genus over the last several million years.

We are allowing bad genes to enter our gene pool by allowing these blind-from-birth and other cripples live long enough to procreate!

Forget web forms; we shouldn't even allow these people to eat.

Moderators: this is flamebait, not a troll. I honestly believe this to be true.

Yessiree! (-1, Troll)

grub (11606) | about 11 years ago | (#6353003)


This is discrimination! Right now, Helen Keller is rolling in her grave signing some obscenities with her skeletal hands.

Sheesh, come on.

Next I think deaf people should sue government imposed tariffs on blank CDs; after all they won't use them to record stolen music.

Re:Yessiree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353066)

Next I think deaf people should sue government imposed tariffs on blank CDs; after all they won't use them to record stolen music.

They wont be buying them either..

Has anyone here worked on an alternative? (2, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | about 11 years ago | (#6353006)

I have to admit, I hadn't thought about the issue from the perspective of the visually impaired until reading this.

Has anyone here worked on any alternatives? The report indicates that the Microsoft sound-based alternative was totally non-functional. Is that even a worthwhile path to work on?

Perhaps some sort of text challenge/response scenario that would require an explicit understanding of the challenge part: "Take the second-to-last letter of each word from the below text, reverse the order and write them capitalized" . With a wide enough range of such challenges, spambots would be out of luck.

Re:Has anyone here worked on an alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353069)

This would be fairly easy to crack because you have a computer constructing the sentence.
You'd just randomly poll the server until you had a fair idea as to what the sentence bits were, then you could parse it yourself.

The visual test is trickier since information is actually being lost in the distortions.
Combine that with the difficulty of writing a program to identify which distorts were used...

You Insensitive Clod... (1)

WC as Kato (675505) | about 11 years ago | (#6353008)

I'm illiterate.

terrorists 1, ray charles 0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353023)

damn blindoers

Captchas discriminate against lazy too... (1)

alwayslurking (555708) | about 11 years ago | (#6353033)

Mozilla's automatic password feature can't handle dynamic captchas [captcha.net] , creating a new login for each captcha value. You have to turn the feature off for sites that use captchas and type in username and password each time. Very annoying for the terminally lazy who have got used to login autocompletion.

Sooo.... (4, Insightful)

Peridriga (308995) | about 11 years ago | (#6353046)

OK... So I'm blind.. Make the website talk to me so I can find the "code word"

I'm deaf.... Now what?

How about that website doesn't get business from those who are handicapped (is that still the kosher PC term?)

I don't force sites that don't have SSL to use SSL so I can use them... I JUST DON'T USE THEM...

Everything isn't made to fit everyone..

My butcher isn't going to start a produce section for vegetarians

My barber isn't going to start a hair replacement facilty for bald people (not a bad business idea though)?

and My office isn't gonna start using Linux because I say so (had to throw that one in)

I don't believe any of these websites are "public services" so if they don't wish to cater to this specific demographic (is that more PC or less?) then they simply don't get their business. If my website sells tools that help those who are disabled use the web you'll damn well bet my website is able to be viewed by their machines. If I'm selling video game systems, I dunno but, probably not....

IDs (1)

Agent R (684654) | about 11 years ago | (#6353048)

I remember the good old days of BBSing where it required a photocopy of your driver's license or some other picture ID (submitted via snailmail) in order subscribe to more lucrative services.

just ask a question (3, Informative)

u19925 (613350) | about 11 years ago | (#6353054)

"A proposed audio workaround for the blind still has problems since it has to be garbled to the point where most people can't understand it to prevent a computer from recognizing the letters."

Can't you just ask a question, like:

how much is 2 + 2?

what number comes after 10?

type in a 4 letter word beginning with "k".

okay, the problem would be that each website will need to come with its own set of questions. but we can have few templates where you just substitute new parameters each time.

I am sure, no software is intelligent enough to crack all these questions. by the time, the software becomes intelligent enough to answer these questions, we can come up with something else. it is cat and mouse game except that mouse keeps winning.

Unenlightenment (1)

SandSpider (60727) | about 11 years ago | (#6353057)

Wow, there are a lot of foolish comments being modded up early. The idea behind this is that blind people need access to the same service as the non-blind. That doesn't mean you are required to make email addresses readable to the blind, per se, but it does require you to have a method of sending email (or verifying a code or what have you) that the blind can access as well. So, in the case of email, you could provide an email form instead of a mailto link. In the case of paypal's "read this number" to verify that a human is part of the process, you could have a phone number that people can talk to a real operator.

However, if your service relies upon discriminating practices in order to survive, then you are quite simply wrong. Note, I have no close friends or relatives who are in need of these laws, but I do believe it to be wrong to discriminate. Put in a little effort, people, it's not that hard.

=Brian

The Answer. . . (1)

bplipschitz (265300) | about 11 years ago | (#6353077)

Braille Screens.

Call to the OSS Community (1)

TechnoPope (516563) | about 11 years ago | (#6353082)

This could be something good for OSS to work on. I mean, while improving security and stability is very good. Finding a truly good solution that would defeat spam bots and yet allow access to actual humans (even those with disabilities) would be more than just useful, it would be good for mankind. Besides, in the wake of the Linux on Xbox or else situation, the good PR couldn't hurt.

The blind don't deserve to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6353084)

The blind don't deserve to see anything, hence that is why they are born blind or otherwise.

Can a blind person feel this bestiality picture of a girl and a dog [nuttypics.com] ?

I'm joking, of'course you can. I hope the webforum moderators recognize your plight and bend some of their webspace to tailor to the handicapt of which are unwilling^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hunable to help themselves. :)

Tactile graphic display? (5, Interesting)

Atario (673917) | about 11 years ago | (#6353086)

I sort of assumed there was such a thing all along. Something like those "pinpression" toys [discovery.com] with all the parallel pins that you can push on and make an imprint of your hand, only driven by actuators. Why wouldn't this work?

(Hold on...after a little Googling, I found this instance of the exact thing I'm proposing [nist.gov] . Go and buy it, blind people! And not just for anti-spam graphics; as with any new medium, just imagine the pr0n possibilities.)
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