With increased digitization of business processes and services affecting all industries and enterprises, the need for accessible digital tools continues to grow. Indeed, 26% of adults living in the United States have some type of disability, highlighting the crucial role accessibility tools serve in ensuring an inclusive digital environment.  Furthermore, in certain instances, the implementation of accessibility best practices may be legally required. We discuss these issues in our most recent Tech Law Talks podcast.

For example, Microsoft 365 (M365) – which has become a key business tool for communication and collaboration across various industries and business types – hosts a variety of digital accessibility tools.  Specifically, the service offers various tools aimed at creating a more accessible digital experience for all users, providing features such as closed captioning, color filters, dictation, custom fonts, and many more.

However, enterprises employing such tools must remain apprised of the associated legal and technical risks.  For example, using accessibility tools such as closed captioning could potentially lead to personal data being collected and stored, thus implicating state privacy laws like the CCPA or federal laws such as HIPAA. Furthermore, additional collection of data may impact record-keeping and E-Discovery obligations.

As such, it is incumbent on enterprises relying on such tools to carefully review the types of data being collected, the notice being provided to consumers and users, and their data storage and retention practices to ensure that they remain compliant with the bevy of potential laws that may be implicated by these tools.