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On July 30, 2010, the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship hosted a roundtable on “Cloud Computing and Disability Communities: How Can Cloud Computing Support a More Accessible Information Age and Society?” The roundtable, held at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder, Colorado, brought together leaders in industry, education, public policy, disability advocacy, and government to explore emerging opportunities and challenges presented by “cloud computing,” specifically how it might help or hinder a more “accessible” future for people with special access needs.
Cloud computing is not a new technology, but its growing use may be a strategic opportunity for increased access to information and resources for people with disabilities. At the very least, the technology is at a stage where if the correct policy choices are made with respect to accessibility concerns, then intelligent architecture of the technologies involved should work to increasingly include – rather than exclude – people with special access needs. At the roundtable, participants were charged with determining the major issues and opportunities surrounding cloud computing and accessibility. Particular emphasis was placed on identifying significant barriers and what could be done programmatically to help overcome these, as well as identifying necessary items to be included in future discussions on these topics. The roundtable was conducted under a modified form of the Chatham House Rule.