If you are blind, you may soon find yourself unable to fully maintain your computer!

Starting on an unspecified date in mid-2005, Microsoft will initiate Windows Genuine Advantage, a new anti-piracy measure, by requiring Windows users to enter their product key in order to gain access to such services as Download Center and Windows Update. This product key is printed either on the Windows CD-ROM or on a sticker located on the side of a computer with Windows installed at the factory. The physical inability to read print will instantly barr legitimate Windows users who happen to be blind from accessing Download Center and Windows Update. This loss will represent a huge inconvenience for blind users of home computers, while it could result in the possible loss of jobs for information technology professionals who happen to be blind.

It is clear that the people at Microsoft were not thinking about accessibility when implementing this new anti-piracy program. For legitimate blind users of Windows, this product key requirement is nothing more than a test for eye sight before permitting entry in to the promised land! We must absolutely and unequivocally insist that Microsoft find a way to work with the blind community to insure the accessibility of the Windows Genuine Advantage program for everyone who has already paid for the right to use Windows!

Please read Microsoft’s Commitment to Accessibility. Send e-mail to Microsoft’s Accessibility Group and provide online feedback insisting that Microsoft take steps to insure that Windows Genuine Advantage is accessible for everyone.