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AudioEye Supports Department of Health and Human Services Issuance of Final Rule Strengthening Protections For Individuals with Disabilities

Posted May 02, 2024


Posted May 02, 2024

Rule brings stronger grounds for enforcement requiring Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for websites and mobile applications

TUCSON, Ariz. – May 2, 2024 – AudioEye, Inc. (Nasdaq: AEYE) (“AudioEye” or the “Company”), the industry-leading digital accessibility platform, formally announces its support of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) final rule bolstering protections for individuals with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The rule, titled “Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Health and Human Service Programs or Activities,” ensures that web content and mobile applications provided by organizations that receive funding from HHS, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, social services, nursing homes, etc. are usable by people with disabilities.

“Today’s rule is long overdue. My office heard from thousands in overwhelming support of this rule and the need to update this rule now for people with disabilities,” said HHS OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer. “By removing barriers to health care and social services, this rule advances justice for people with disabilities who have for too long been subject to discrimination.”

“Closely following the Department of Justice's final rule on web accessibility announced on April 8th, this rule underscores the need for equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities on the Internet,” said David Moradi, CEO of AudioEye. “We recently scanned over 96,000 healthcare website pages across the United States and found that the average page had an alarming number of violations – 84 accessibility issues. The sheer scale of this problem can only be fixed through a combination of artificial intelligence and human-assisted technology, backed by testing from members of the disability community.”

The rule outlines specific digital accessibility requirements, including:

  • Federal financial assistance recipients must adhere to WCAG 2.1, Level AA, as the technical standard for web content and mobile applications.
  • The updated rule applies to all website content and mobile applications provided by a recipient from the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Websites and mobile applications built or operated by a third party on behalf of a recipient must also adhere to this rule.

 “When the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was enacted, the digital world we now depend on for everyday use was non-existent,” said Tony Coelho, the primary sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a member of AudioEye’s board of directors. “As noted by HHS, recent research of more than 100 top hospitals across the United States found that less than 5% complied with web content accessibility guidelines. This is unacceptable, and I’m confident this rule will accelerate the push to make websites and mobile applications accessible to all.”

 The timeline for compliance varies based on the size of the organization. Beginning May 11, 2026, organizations with 15 or more employees must ensure web content and mobile application compliance. Organizations with less than 15 employees will have until May 10, 2027.

About AudioEye

AudioEye exists to ensure the digital future we build is inclusive. By combining the latest AI automation technology with guidance from certified experts and direct input from the disability community, AudioEye helps ensure businesses of all sizes — including over 112,000 customers like Samsung, Calvin Klein, and Samsonite — are accessible and usable. Holding 22 US patents, AudioEye helps companies solve every aspect of digital accessibility with flexible approaches that best meet their needs — from finding and removing barriers to navigating legal compliance to ongoing training, monitoring, and upkeep. Join AudioEye on its mission to eradicate barriers to digital access.

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