How do you reach the widest audience? How do you make people sit up and take notice? Just use digital platforms such as Twitter.

I’m one of the 41% of Disabled people who have access to the internet compared to 75% of non disabled people. [The Internet in Britain OXiS 2009]. More aCrippen cartoonbout that in a sec.

Digital inclusion provides power – thanks to Twitter Orange are looking into my complaints.

1 tweet about being discriminated by Orange = 5 RT (re-tweets) = estimated 10,000 people = 181 people have read my first blog from from UK, Europe and USA and Canada (tracked from using shortened url

I sent a twitter to Radio Shropshire and an email to the Shropshire Star (about the blog and twitter efffect). Both are taking up the story.

The press department at Orange are looking into my complaints – only because a BBC Shropshire reporter contacting them this morning. It’s been 7 days since I sent my letter to them.

On Monday morning Radio Shropshire will interview me. Hopefully I will have good outcome.

Yet I’m only one of the 41% of Disabled people in the UK that has access to the web to use it in this way.

Disability remains a key source of digital exclusion. In 2006 the UN declared that access to technology is a basic human right.

It is illegal to discriminate against Disabled people yet in 2007 only 5% of public websites and less than 3% of private websites in the EU were found to be “fully accessible” by the European Commission [Assessment of the Status of eAccessibility in Europe 2006-2008]

As approximately 15% of the population can be considered disabled under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 the digital divide is getting bigger each day.

So what are the Digital champions doing about it?

4iP turned down Pesky People this week – we have been viewed as a ‘resource’ project. Not a campaiging digital project led by Disabled and Deaf people to set up a fully accessible website that empowers disabled people to advocate equal access to the web. We want to use creative tools to make change, we want to train Disabled and Deaf people to help companies get their websites accessible.

My email to Digital Inclusion Champion Martha Lane Fox about Pesky People has yet to generate a response.  I will follow up the email – after all – we are a new project and she will get loads of emails.

A search on the Digital Britain forum for ‘Disability’, ‘access’ resulted in nothing. ‘Digital Exclusion’ flagged up the Terms and  Conditions page for using the forum. Mmmm still thinking about that one.

People power involves making a big song and dance and telling as many people as possible to take notice. The internet is providing most of that power. In 2007:

  • Less than 5% of public sites are fully accessible to Disabled people
  • Less than 3% of private sites are fully accessible to Disabled people

A follow up study in 2008 saw no significant change.

51% of Disabled and Deaf people still don’t have access to the internet like I do.

Pesky People needs your help to make Digital Inclusion a reality for Disabled and Deaf People. We can’t do it alone. Help us make it happen.