ACCAN spearheads fight against CAPTCHA

[box border=”full”]The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network has launched a campaign to “kill CAPTCHA”, the annoying and discriminatory tests used by websites to prove users are human.[/box]

CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, are the common but annoying tests requiring you to enter in an often illegible string of letters and numbers before you can transact on the web, post online messages, sign up to internet services like Skype and Gmail and even access online government services or contact elected officials.

They are designed to protect websites against exploitation by spammers but hundreds of thousands of Australians who are blind or vision impaired are typically locked out of engaging with sites that use CAPTCHA because they – or their screen reader software – are unable to read the skewed and confusing text.

A new “kill CAPTCHA” petition on has already received dozens of signatures from people affected by the inaccessibility of CAPTCHA, and many have published moving reasons for signing on the site. (

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is joining with groups such as Blind Citizens Australia, Media Access Australia, Able Australia and the Australian DeafBlind Council to call on organisations big and small to phase out the use of CAPTCHA.

More at ACCAN.