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Blind Users v. the Internet

December 23, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Until recently I have been passive-aggressive on the entire visual verification issue, but today while attempting to reply to e-mail in Yahoo! Mail I was presented with Sender Verification. This is visual verification that yahoo is now placing on *every* outgoing e-mail you send.

I have verified it is every e-mail by sending a very simple message to myself with no trigger words.

The yahoo solution is the same stupid phone solution they have for other services that may or may not work.

Ladies and gentlemen now that Yahoo has extended this to its e-mail service it is only a short time before the problem reaches to other services like Hotmail.

Therefore, I am declaring war on all sites and systems of web based or electronic access that use visual verification in any way.

Big things will be happening on this front in the new year. I call on DREDF, DRA Legal, and any other interested parties (i.e. NFB or ACB) to take all necessary and appropriate legal action to address this growing problem online.

I personally don’t expect much to come from the two major consumer organizations in the United States on this since they seem more interested in other things like identifying money and fighting DVS.

I’m heading to Washington, DC in February and this *will* be on my agenda for discussion if it is necessary.

I will take personal action as well if I deem the other groups named above are not moving to address the problem.

However, until such time as public interest groups take up this issue I encourage you to go to the following website You do not have to register, just choose the complaint radio button on the home page and in the search box that you tab to after the radio button enter yahoo or Google or any other company that you find using visual verification and then press enter. If the company name or any similar is in the database the site will return results. You also have to choose a category for your complaint. For our purposes you need to choose site navigation. If not in the database you have the opportunity to enter the companies contact details. If you cannot find a companies contact details to enter in the database send me an e-mail at rlynch80 at and I’ll get its information for you.

Once you have the company you need to write a detailed and well thought out complaint letter to the company. I suggest writing this letter using notepad and then copying and pasting it into the field you are provided by PlanetFeedback. You will also have a field for what you want the company to do. Here I suggest you discuss an audio feedback system or better yet for sites that you need to register for they can use an e-mail based verification or even a question based system like How do you spell dog, or What color is a red rose.

More coming on this in the new year, and oh yeah Marry Christmas.

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7 opinions on “Blind Users v. the Internet

  1. I couldn’t have stated this any better myself, everyone! This issue of inaccessible visual verification is being repeated over and over with little or no useful consideration of our needs to participate!

  2. Hello,

    You are wrong when you say they require visual verification. I just tried sending myself and a few others a message and had absolutely no problems. This was with the web interface, btw. I’m assuming your ISP is SBC Internet Services, which has partnered with Yahoo to offer e-mail. I also have DSL service with them and I use the Yahoo! mail interface through the web for all of my e-mail needs and have not had a problem even once in the past two to three years. I am a blind computer user and I use JAWS 7 running on Windows XP Pro with it. In the future, please do more research and testing before you get worked up about something. As of this writing, Yahoo! Mail works just fine and does not ask for visual verification in any form. The only time I have seen this happen is when someone signs up for a free Yahoo! Mail account. In that case, I do agree that the solution they currently have is useless.


  3. Hi. For what its worth, the NFB has passed one or more resolutions on the topic of visual verification. Of the two major organizations of blind folk, they seem more likely and willing to take action in this matter, IMO.

  4. I got a Yahoo! account before they required verification, as I’m sure many of us did; so will test and post here. Why can’t such programs as Open Book and, my personal fpreference K1000, be rejiggered to allow screenshots of the graphical letters?

    Why can’t IBM with its formidable clout and passing interest in accessibility weigh in on the issue? In closing, has anyone gotten the new IBM/HPR Ver. 3.044 to work correctly?

  5. Oops? Is the host service for the B.A.J. starting to require visual verification for account setup? Hoping it was just a fluke I humbly thank these aging brain cells for finally remembering my password.

  6. I think I can clear up some of the confusion on the yahoo mail issue. I have had a yahoo account for years and at one point way back over the summer I believe it was or earlier than that, theydid start that visual varification for sending mail. It was not easy, but after trying a while I was able to finally talk to them and get it removed from my ID as a requirement. The process of getting to talk to someone there was not at all easy. It took multiple attempts, but it did happen. For the commenter who is agressively telling us yahoo is not a problem with that or anything else at all and that we are all crazy, I wonder if they have tried the new beta yet? Yahoo mail in its classic form has been a dream to use. The beta has changed all that drastically to unusable.

  7. Yeah, it appears that Blogger now requires visual verification to setup a blog; however, one can proceed to just before that step and your account is still set-up.

    In other words, I setup this account without actually having to type-in the visual-verification. To set-up an actual blog, however, I believe you still have to go through the visual-verification process.

    Skype: ichebert

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