Technology and Disability Policy Highlights - December 2019


In December, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act was signed into law [Public Law No: 116-105], a bipartisan legislative effort to reduce the excessive number of robocalls that Americans receive daily. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) now has additional tools and flexibilities to combat malicious caller ID spoofing, which will allow the FCC to pursue scammers. The law also extends the statute of limitations for the FCC to criminally pursue violators.

The Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Consumers [WC Docket No.s 17-287 and 09-197] proposed rule was published in the Federal Register, establishing the comment and reply comment dates as January 27, 2020, and February 25, 2020, respectively. The FCC seeks feedback on making “increased broadband adoption for consumers who, without a Lifeline benefit, would not subscribe to broadband” a new goal of the program. They are seeking input on their statutory authority to add a broadband adoption goal to the Lifeline program, as well as recommendations on methods and measures to evaluate progress towards achieving such a goal, as well as the established goals of the program. Specifically, the Commission is interested in research designs and methods that can claim causality so that they can more confidently evaluate the effectiveness of the Lifeline program.

In Wireless RERC news, we will host a fun and interactive Inclusive Design Thinking workshop on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, during the annual Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) Conference. Whether you identify as an individual from the community, a practitioner, a technologist, a designer, or you are just interested in joining with others from a variety of backgrounds; you will learn to apply design thinking towards accessible and assistive tech design and brainstorm innovative ideas and solutions to everyday challenges. CEU/CRC credits are offered. Visit for more information and to register today!

This issue also includes news about socially inclusive mobility, social machines, universal design, ATIA20, AI and signed languages, the International Telecommunication Union, disability statistics, and more.