ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

Consumer Advocacy Update: Access and Identity Theft

Conference Aims at Achieving “Accessibility for All”
FTC Identifies Top 10 Consumer Complaint Categories in 2002

New York, Jan 22, 2003

An international conference dubbed “Accessibility for All” is planned for March 27-28, 2003 in Nice, France, to examine how the establishment of standards can help to enhance access to a variety of products, services and environments for all – young, old and people with disabilities or special needs.

In response to the European Commission’s request for input on how to improve products and services for people with disabilities – whether at home, work, in schools or elsewhere – the conference was organized by the three European Standardization Organizations (ESOs): the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Program topics will cover the use and application of ESOs' standards in areas ranging from construction design, ergonomics and transport services to intelligent homes and telecommunications. The two-day event intends to highlight areas where ESOs are making a significant impact on accessibility in many aspects of modern life, as well as those areas where standardization is still required.

ISO/IEC Guide 71 (also adopted as CEN/CENELEC Guide 6) ‘Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older and persons with disabilities’ provides a type of checklist for product and service designs on how to consider different impairments. Guide 71, and an ISO/IEC Policy Statement Addressing the Needs of Older Persons and People with Disabilities in Standardization Work, were initiatives originated by ISO’s Consumer Policy Committee (COPOLCO).

Funded by the European Commission, the conference is an extension of the eEurope initiative, which seeks to bring the benefits of the “Information Society” (where telecommunications, broadcasting multimedia and information and communication technologies play a central role) to everyone in Europe. Further details on conference workshops as well as a registration form can be found at www.etsi.org/cce.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released its annual report, “National and State Trends in Fraud and Identity Theft,” listing the top 10 fraud complaint categories reported by consumers. For the third year in a row, identity theft topped the list, accounting for nearly half (43%) of the complaints registered in the FTC's Consumer Sentinel database.

The number of fraud complaints jumped from 220,000 in 2001 to 380,000 in 2002, and the dollar loss consumers attributed to the fraud they reported grew from $160 million in 2001 to $343 million in 2002. Among the top 10 categories of consumer fraud complaints registered in 2002, Internet auctions (13%) and Internet services and computer complaints (6%) topped the list along with identity theft.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database provides about 630 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Canada and Australia with access to one million complaints, empowering and support law enforcement efforts.

Consumers can file fraud complaints online at www.ftc.gov. Identity theft victims, or people seeking tips to avoid being a victim, can log on at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

Learn how strategic standardization is helping companies build their bottom line