Campaign to kill CAPTCHA kicks off

The use of CAPTCHA to combat spam bots is also blocking people with disabilities and the feature should be removed from websites, argues a group of disability organisations.

The completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart, abbreviated as CAPTCHA, is a popular measure deployed by webmasters around the world to prevent spammers from automatically sending unsolicited commercial messages to sites and users. It requires people to interpret characters and numbers that are difficult for machines to parse, and enter these as part of logging in to a site, for instance.

However, the dark side of CAPTCHA is that it hinders people with vision impairments to the point that they cannot use sites. Screen readers and other accessibility tools used by blind people often fail on distorted and illegible CAPTCHA text.

Now, disability groups such as Blind Citizens Australia, Able Australia, Media Access Australia and the Australian Deaf-Blind Council are calling on organisations to stop using CAPTCHA, setting up a petition with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network — via

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