Spain - 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.

    Royal Decree 1494/2007, of November 12th, by which the Regulations on the basic requirements to ensure that people with disabilities have access to technologies, goods and services related to the information society and social communication media are approved.

    It sets out the principles for accessibility that apply to Internet websites of government authorities and publicly funded sites.  To be precise, all existing sites were expected to gradually adapt to a minimum obligatory level of accessibility that fulfils priority 1 and 2 of Standard UNE 139803:2004, as of December 31st 2008.

    It also provides de basis accessibility specifications for all computing devices and software applications, which are expected to allow access to elderly and disabled people.

    In addition, accessibility standards for websites as well as the basis requirements for accessibility to computer equipment and software programs shall also be applicable to all electronic signature services and devices.

    Act 56/2007, of December 28, on Measures to Promote the Information Society.  It modifies the provision of several existing laws; i.e.: Law 24/2002, of July 11, on Information Society Services and E-Commerce (Preamble, Art. 4.2 and 4.20); Law 32/2003, of November 3, on Telecommunications (Art. 7.1).  It also contains an additional eleventh provision to ensure access to Information Society technologies for people with disabilities.

    Websites of agencies and companies that provide services for the general public, particularly those of “special economic importance”, must fulfil the medium obligatory level of accessibility standards from December 31st 2008 on.

    This new Law states that it is an obligation for all companies that provide services to the general public of “special economic importance” if they have more than 100 employees and a turnover of more than 6 million Euros every year, as long as they also provide electronic communications services or financial services to their customers that include financial services (credit and debit), investment services, private insurance companies and mediation activities, pension plans, and utility companies (such as gas, water and electricity).  Such companies must ensure that their customers can have electronic access to their own data.

    Before this Law was approved, this obligation was only applicable to Internet websites of public authorities.  From now on, such regulations must also be met by large service companies.

    Spanish regulations are moving forward in the same direction as developed countries like the United States, where companies that provide e-commerce services and transactions to their customers through their websites or even thorough their commercial establishment open to the public are required to ensure access to their website for people with disabilities.   Under US jurisprudence's interpretation of several sentences, businesses must provide mandatory access to their premises as well as to their commercial websites.

    Article 8 establishes that a specific service of the information society cannot undermine the principles of respect for personal dignity and non-discrimination on grounds of race, gender, religion, opinion, nationality, disability or any other personal or social circumstance.  To ensure their protection, those competent bodies may adopt legislative necessary measures to suspend the service delivered or to remove the information provided when it has led to significant damage or distress.

    Law 26/2011, of 1 August, adapting the Spanish legislation to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Its main aim is to definitively achieve a full compliance with the Convention by modifying all the legal and administrative texts that had been found not to match its requirements.

    Fifth additional provision:  Access to the information provided by electronic services for the elderly and people with disabilities.  Internet websites that support social networking services online, developed by companies with a turnover of more that 6.101.121,04 € every year, shall deliver accessible contents in conformance, at least, to the medium level of priority.  Exceptionally, this legal obligation will not be aplicable when there is not a technological solution available to allow accessibility.

    Royal Decree 1276/2011, of 16 September, on legislative adaptation to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  It modified all the necessary legal and administrative instruments, affecting areas such as transport, the information society and civil protection.

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

    W3C/WAI (WCAG 1.0) Guidelines for Content Accessibility corresponding to Levels A and Double-A, as well as the Web 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) Guidelines for Content Accessibility (pursuant to the provisions of Royal Decree 1494/2007) (Standard UNE 139803 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

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

    The National Standardization Body, AENOR, is the only approved body for carrying out standardization tasks in Spain (Royal Act 1614/1985).

    It is the responsible body for developing Spanish standards (UNE Standards) and the transposition of ISO standards.  In the AENOR structure, there are technical bodies, known as standardization technical committees (AEN-CTN) that study and present the needs of each sector, and develop and approve standard drafts which are later published as UNE standards.  The adoption of WCAG 2.0 by the respective CTN 's not contemplated in a short term, but Auditors and Certification Bodies are adopting the WCAG 2.0. in fact. 

    The AENOR Mark for ICT accessibility is a guarantee for organisations, users and people in charge of websites that the Internet pages are and will remain accessible.

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

    No obligation exists.

    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 obligation exists.
    2. existing websites to be made accessible?
      if yes what is it ?

      No obligation exists.
  6. What sanctions are imposed by the law for websites which fail to comply with accessibility regulations?

    Law 49/2007, of December 26, that defines the regime of offences and sanctions in the field of equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities. This Law is affected by Act Nr 26/2011(Articles 3 and 4)

    Infractions are classified as minor, serious and very serious and the sanctions imposed are linked to the category of default committed.  The more severe the infraction is, the more onerous the sanction becomes. Sanctions will range from 301,- € to 1.000.000,- €. (for minor offences, sanctions will never exceed 30.000,- €;  not exceeding 90.000,- € for serious offences).

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

    No obligation exists.

  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)?

    No obligation exists.

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

    W3C/WAI Guidelines (WCAG 1.0 and 2.0).

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