AAAtraq announces the release of ADA Risk Audit, looking at Inclusivity of Congressional Websites

Jun 08 2022

[JUNE 8th, 2022 NEW YORK] The latest report by InsurTech company, AAAtraq https://AAAtraq.com/ (opens in a new window) on the Inclusivity of more than 600 Congressional websites home pages shows that the majority of these pages are inaccessible to disabled users and that more than 9 out of 10 are exposed to litigation. The report also reveals the amount of money now being wasted by organizations on litigation costs – some $600,000,000 per month.

This May, AAAtraq is offering participating offices the opportunity to view their scores, and the scores of their peers, and access more individualized information than ever before. AAAtraq will now be offering Congressional Offices the opportunity to access the whole Inclusion INDEX™, allowing them the opportunity to compare their scores with that of their counterparts.

With 536 Congressional Member websites scored, only 4.29% demonstrated digital inclusivity and were at low risk of litigation. 387 members’ websites fell into the higher risk categories, with 328 members falling into the high risk and 59 members falling into the very high risk categories. Member scores are run monthly, and their changes are logged and tracked to demonstrate trends in their progress.

Of those members scored, statistically significant trends were found. While the average score for the House was 43.86, the Senate scored significantly higher at 66.7. In the House, Republicans (39.16) had a lower score on average than Democrats (48.28), and Females (42.73) scored lower score on average than Males (44.31). Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke [D-NY] scored the best (lowest) in the House with an Inclusion Score of 2, while Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman [D-NJ] demonstrated the highest risk with an Inclusion Score of 232. In the Senate, Democrats (63.77) had a lower score on average than Republicans (70.68), with Independents (37.5) scored lower on average than both major parties. In the Senate, Females (61.96) scored lower score on average than Males (68.20). Senator Michael Bennet [D-CO] scored the best (lowest) in the Senate with an Inclusion Score of 6, while Senator Thom Tillis [R-NC] demonstrated the highest risk win an Inclusion Score of 316.

Modern society is ever-more dependent on websites. In recent years, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increased reliance on digital services in government. In this high-profile sector, organizations must start dealing with compliance to the law, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), to set a positive, non-discriminatory example, whilst avoiding distracting litigation.

The ADA was enacted in 1990, with the intention of eliminating disability-based discrimination. Since its passage, billions of dollars have been spent to make public spaces more accessible to individuals with disabilities. As time passed, the integration of accessibility features into society embedded themselves into the everyday life, with many overlooking just how important such features are to people with disabilities - you wouldn’t expect to find a building without a wheelchair ramp. The law doesn’t just stop at physical spaces. It extends to digital spaces, and websites must adhere to regulations and accommodate people living with disabilities.

In terms of the ADA’s application to websites, a false sense of security within many organizations, leaving owner’s to believe that they have matters in hand. However, as this report demonstrates, the percentage of congressional websites found to be vulnerable, and at risk, exceeds 90%. With this false sense of security, it is no wonder that litigation is growing exponentially.

Part of the problem is the rapid growth of digital; organizations haven’t recognized that their website is a key asset that should be risk-assessed and managed in the same way as any other important asset. Unless organizations appreciate this potential exposure and start to understand the regulatory and societal importance of non-discrimination, opportunist lawyers will continue to ride what has become a very lucrative 'gravy train'.

Government organizations need reporting that they can immediately understand, and resolutions should not be left entirely with the technical team. An organization-wide, 'holistic' approach, is required, adhering to basic risk management principles.

The report will be released on June 8th, 2022. To register your interest in this report, please contact abialek@AAAtraq.com.

The findings of the report will highlight the level of compliance that Congress is currently achieving and how vulnerable organizations are to litigation.

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