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The user is a rapidly evolving creature being defined by possibility.
opinions from the head lemur
[Posted] September 7, 1999

Electronic Democracy
BlueOvalNews.Com Wins!!

BlueOvalNews.Com

Today Your First Amendments Rights were upheld, and you are still free to publish what you want, receive, or think across the internet. (Remember Slander and Libel Laws still apply :-)

Ford got their asses handed to them in court today.
You can Download the Ruling from Here Or There
You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader for this Document

Robert Lane's website called BlueOvalNews.Com was shut down Temporarily, by the Ford Motor Company through the use of a Temporary Restraining Order. Their contention was, that he had illegally obtained Ford internal documents, and was posting Trade Secrets, Competitive Intelligence,and other High Crimes. I saw a lot of them, and most of them had to do with safety issues, such as the falling down on Job 1, in regards to mis-matching front brakes on Mustangs. Another dealt with the "Advertised" horsepower ratings vs. the Actual Ratings on the Cobra models. These documents strirred up enough crap, that Ford recalled these cars to fix them.

The Upside to this victory, is the demonstration of the power of the Web to equalize the large and the small.

As I said previously, If I were the President of Ford, I would have my marketing department on the carpet, explaining Exactly why I can find out more about my companies products on a site that I didn't create.

I would like to add just a few things to the list when you have your next meeting.

To: William Clay Ford Jr. Chairman, Jac Nasser, President.

Subject: Credibility
Attendees: Marketing, Legal, Human Resources, Public Affairs and Webmaster

As the U.S. District Court Ruling of today has demonstrated, your Credibility has suffered a bit of a setback.
Let's examine the damage. This whole mess started when one individual, with a love of Fords, owning 6 of them, put together some web pages to share his passion and interest. He began to share what he had learned with others. Others shared with him.

The problem started with employees at Your company, sharing things, you deemed were private. The problem with privacy is using human beings to work for you, especially humans with families, humans whose idea of right and wrong is derived from concern and regard for their fellow humans, and not driven by return on investment, cost/benefit ratios, or having a slow day in the legal department. (Although, paying out 15 Million bucks, for Sexual Harrassment and Explosion Fines from the 2-7th of September, doesn't appear to qualify as a slow week in the legal department.)

The Documents posted relating to the Brakes on the Mustang, one of your more recognizable Brands, is a clear Safety Concern. I would have posted them as well. I would rather not have myself, or my family, exposed to this clear problem. Since your legal department has not studied the Constitution, I would suggest a refresher course. Can they say "Pentagon Papers?"(Product Liability might help here too.)

With all of the publicity surrounding the blueoval affair, they will probably get more hits on their website than you will.

This affair is pointing out to you that your Legal, H.R, and Public Affairs Departments need a bit of reorganization. I have two suggestions as to accomplish this.

1. Line them up against the wall, count them off by two's (ONE,TWO,ONE, TWO,....) Fire the Ones. If required, you may repeat this again in 30, 45, 90 Days.

2. Swap Jobs. Take the folks out of the offices, and put them on the line. It's called Cross Training, and will do a whole lot more to provide an environment where you know what the other folks are doing, and you will all discover what works, what doesn't, and how to open the lines of communication in your company, which are so incredibly fouled up, as the blueoval affair has pointed out.
P.S. If you Implement the above suggestions, please check your invoices for the last time you had Consultants come to your business, write you a long report, filled with buzzwords and forward looking statements, find the bottom line and send me a check for half the amount you paid last time around.

I asked the webmasters here today to let them know they may still have jobs. Under the WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT OF 1998 Section 508 Your website will have to comply with the provisions of this section, in regards to alternative display options for Individuals with Disabilities, as you sell products to the United States Government.

While the Lawyers are reading this, the pumpkin date for your website is Feb. 7, 2000, 18 months to the day that the legislation was enacted.

This is a link to the W3C website and a report on your front page.
W3C HTML Validator Result for the Default Page of the Ford.com Website
The short answer is, If it don't Validate It's not Accessable.

Starting Aug. 8, next year, any individual anywhere in the U.S. will be able bring suit under Section 508 against offending Web sites operated by a government agency.

Before you think you do not have to address the Accessibility issue, let me point out three things.
1. A US Department of Justice policy ruling states that ADA Titles II and III require Federal, State and Local governments and the business sector to provide effective communication whenever they communicate through the Internet.

2. The effective communication rule applies to covered entities using the Internet for communications regarding their programs, goods or services since they must be prepared to offer those communications via an accessible medium.

3. To state this simply, get out of your chair, and walk down to the nearest restroom. Have you installed Accessibility Devices? Wheel Chair Accessable toilets and sinks? If the answer is yes, then you may want to look at your website in a new light.

Yep! It's Gonna be your day in the Barrel.

The Above is an attempt to share with you information, which may help you to stay out of court on Feb 8, 2000, and to demonstrate the virtues in being Pro-Active rather than Re-Active. The links show credibility, and allow you independant sourcing for the opinions I have expressed.
Thank you for your time.
alan herrell
the head lemur

Blue Oval News.Com is owned by Warner Robert Publications
Ford is a registered trademark of the Ford Motor Company
Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel Corp.

References

  1. BlueOvalNews.Com
  2. Adobe Acrobat Reader
  3. WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT OF 1998 Section 508
  4. W3C HTML Validation Service
  5. Ford Motor Company
  6. Ford Harrasment Link
  7. Ford Explosion

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