Italy - Article 21

  1. Is there existing legislation in your country to encourage or ensure that websites, in particular government, public service or other sites providing widespread services of general use (such as hiring services, travel, telephony, energy, education, employment, leisure...) are accessible to visually impaired people? Please be sure to specify in your answer to which categories of site the regulation(s) apply.

    Italian public administration web accessibility is governed by law 4/2004 [http://www.camera.it/parlam/leggi/04004l.htm ; http://www.pubbliaccesso.gov.it/normative/law_20040109_n4.htm ; http://www.pubbliaccesso.gov.it/normative/Italian_Legislation_on_Accessibility.doc ]. Such law applies to:  public administrations, economic public agencies, private firms which are licensees of public services, regional municipal companies, public assistance and rehabilitation agencies, transport and telecommunication companies in which the State has a prevalent shareholding, and ICT services contractors.

    It is also worth mentioning that  in 2003 the Italian Banking Association (Associazione Bancaria Italiana – ABI), in collaboration with various organzations of and for persons with disabilities, among which the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted, established a working group whose work resulted in the release of the "Guidelines for the accessibility of home banking services"  addressed to all banks wishing to improve the accessibility of their online offering ( http://webaccessibile.org/normative/abi-linee-guida-per-l-accessibilita-dei-servizi-di-home-banking/ ; http://www.uiciechi.it/osi/Legge_accessibilit%C3%A0/LineeGuida.pdf ). It is essentially advice aimed to avoid problems for  assistive technology users

  2. What are the standards that are used in your country to measure website accessibility?

    According to the aforementioned law 4/2004 and its implementation regulations, accessibility assessment tests  are  carried out, at the websites' owners' request (Municipalities, Regions, etc.), by registered professional evaluators in compliance with Decree of the President of the Republic No. 75  of March 1st 2005 (http://www.pubbliaccesso.gov.it/normative/implementation_regulations.htm).

  3. Is there an authority in place to establish, measure and control website accessibility?

    NO, even though, since there is a law on the matter, all those who are responsible for compliance with applicable laws are expected to enforce it.

  4. Is there a legal obligation to regularly review the accessibility of websites?

    No.

    If yes, at what intervals?

  5. Is there an established timeframe for

    1. new websites to be made accessible?
      if yes what is it ?

      NO, new websites must be accessible right from the start.
    2. existing websites to be made accessible?
      if yes what is it ?

      Yes, one year after the entry into force of law 4/2004, i.e. they should all have been made accessible by now. Nevertheless only a limited number of websites have been made totally or partially accessible.
  6. What sanctions are imposed by the law for websites which fail to comply with accessibility regulations?

    In case of a website which fails to comply with Law No. 4 of 2004, the relevant contract between the Public Administration body and the company commissioned to build the website is rendered null and void. Administrative sanctions are also provided for against Public Administration managers. Further details can be found at the following link (in Italian): http://www.webimpossibile.net/05/1.1.05.htm.

  7. Is there a legal obligation to include awareness of accessibility issues in training provided to webmasters and related professions?

    No.

  8. Is there a legal obligation on educational authorities to provide specific training on Web accessibility issues in related areas (such as engineering and computer sciences, telecommunications and networks courses, etc)?

    There is no official obligation, but in some Universities (e.g. Roma Tre University) this issue is taken into consideration in IT degree courses.

  9. Are there official guidelines in place to assist webmasters and technical staff in making their websites accessible?

    In annex A of the implementation regulation of the above-mentioned law there is a list including 22 technical requirements to be fulfilled (http://www.pubbliaccesso.gov.it/normative/DM080705-A-en.htm ), most of them taken from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. When building an accessible website it is possible to make reference to accessibility tests and suggestions from W3C website (http://www.w3c.com) or to the suggestions available on the page of the Italian Union of the Blind' and Partially Sighted's website dedicated to the  Observatory on Websites (Osservatorio Siti Internet – OSI) a group of people entrusted with the task of assessing the level of web accessibility for visually impaired persons (http://www.uiciechi.it/osi/). An article in Italian about tests performed by visually impaired persons is available at http://www.uiciechi.it/osi/02LavoriGruppoOSI/index.html, while interviews, also in Italian,  to OSI Commission members about problems that visually impaired Internet  users may meet are available at http://www.uiciechi.it/osi/08Interviste/index.html.

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