Vis­ually im­paired call for au­dio bank codes

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By FAN FEIFEI fan­feifei@chi­

A group cam­paign­ing for banks to make on­line ser­vices more ac­ces­si­ble for vis­ually im­paired cus­tomers has re­newed its call for reg­u­lat­ing au­thor­i­ties to look into CAPTCHA codes.

CAPTCHA, short for “com­pletely au­to­mated pub­lic turn­ing test to tell com­put­ers and hu­mans apart”, refers to the blurred codes Web users must en­ter be­fore they are al­lowed to con­firm a func­tion, such as reg­is­ter­ing an ac­count or com­plet­ing a trans­ac­tion.

They are used to pre­vent ma­li­cious at­tacks by hack­ers and “bots” — com­puter pro­grams de­signed to spam web­sites — and many Chi­nese web­sites use them.

How­ever, ne­ti­zens have com­plained the codes on web­sites for Chi­nese banks do not work with screen read­ers, au­dio soft­ware de­signed for peo­ple with vis­ual im­pair­ments.

“Peo­ple with re­stricted sight, like me, can have dif­fi­culty go­ing out and pre­fer buy­ing goods or pay­ing bills on­line,” said Sun Tao, 29, from Qing­dao in Shan­dong prov­ince.

Sun said he likes shop­ping on Taobao, China’s largest e-com­merce web­site, but to pay he needs to log into an on­line bank­ing ac­count. “It means we have to ask our fam­ily mem­bers and friends to com­plete trans­ac­tions for us. We want to be able to do this on our own.”

In July 2012, 493 peo­ple, in­clud­ing some from Bei­jing and Shan­dong, He­nan, Zhe­jiang and Sichuan prov­inces, signed a let­ter to the China Bank­ing Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion high­light­ing their prob­lems with CAPTCHA codes.

They re­ceived no re­ply, prompt­ing the group to call on the com­mis­sion and China’s four State-owned com­mer­cial banks on July 17 to dis­close progress on mak­ing on­line ser­vices more ac­ces­si­ble.

Lyu Shim­ing, vice-chair­man of China Dis­abled Per­sons’ Fed­er­a­tion, said in June that he hopes the bank­ing sys­tem will make fur­ther im­prove­ments with au­dio CAPTCHA codes and Braille bankcards.

“The tech­nol­ogy ( au­dio CAPTCHA) on many web­sites, in­clud­ing search en­gines Baidu and Sina, is very well de­vel­oped,” said Wang Defu, a vis­ually im­paired ex­pert on net­work tech­nol­ogy from Linyi, Shan­dong.

Many peo­ple with limited vi­sion are com­puter ex­perts and are will­ing to con­trib­ute their ex­pe­ri­ence and skills, he said.

e Bank of Qing­dao has set a good ex­am­ple by in­stalling au­dio CAPTCHA on its web­site, which means cus­tomers us­ing on­line ser­vices only need to click a sign for loud­speaker and then the numer­i­cal or text code can be heard.

“We have been pos­i­tively com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the China Bank­ing Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion to solve the prob­lem,” said Li Weihong, ex­ec­u­tive vicechair­man of the China As­so­ci­a­tion for the Blind. “The com­mis­sion is­sued a no­ti­fi­ca­tion in May last year that de­manded bank­ing and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions im­prove ser­vices for the dis­abled by con­struct­ing bar­rier-free fa­cil­i­ties.”

A spokes­woman for the com­mis­sion de­clined on Thurs­day to comment on the com­plaints about CAPTCHA.

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