19 May 2010 dkg   » (Master)

NYC SYEP still requires Microsoft Software

A year ago, i wrote about how New York City's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) requires the use of Internet Explorer to apply online (and it even appears to require IE just to download the PDF of the application!)

Sadly, the situation has not changed, a year later. Today, I'm writing to Dan Garodnick, Chair of The City Council's Committee on Technology (and the rest of the committee members), Carole Post, Commissioner of DoITT (the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications), and Jeanne B. Mullgrav, Commissioner of DYCD (the Department of Youth and Community Development, which runs SYEP).

Here's what i wrote:

For the last two years at least, the DYCD's Summer Youth Employment Program
(SYEP) has been only available to users of Internet Explorer:

 https://application.nycsyep.com/

Internet Explorer (IE) is only made by Microsoft, and is only available for
people running Microsoft operating systems.  Users of other operating systems,
such as GNU/Linux, Macintosh, or others cannot access the SYEP application
process.  Even users of Windows who care about their online security or simply
desire a different web browsing experience might prefer to avoid Internet
Explorer.

Not only is the online form inaccessible from browsers other than IE, even
retrieving a copy of the PDF to print out and fill in manually is unavailable
for web browsers other than IE.

What is the city's policy is on access to government sites?  Is it city policy
to mandate a single vendor's software for access to city resources?  Should NYC
youth be required to purchase software from Microsoft to be able to apply
for the Summer Youth Employment Program?

The sort of data collection needed by such an application is a mainstay of the
standards-based web, and has been so for over 15 years now.  There is no reason
to require particular client on an open platform.  I can point you toward
resources who would be happy to help you make the system functional for users
of *any* web browser, if you like.

I raised this issue over a year ago (see nyc.gov correspondence #1-1-473378926,
and a public weblog posted around the same time [0]), and got no effective
remedy.  It's worrisome to see that this is still a problem.

Please let me know what you plan to do to address the situation.

Regards,

	--dkg

[0] https://www.debian-administration.org/users/dkg/weblog/47
Feel free to send your own message to the folks above (especially helps if you live in or near NYC)

Finally, Carole Post, the head of DoITT will also be present at a panel tonight in Soho, which i'm unfortunately be unable to attend. If you go there, you might ask her about the situation.

Tags: policy

Syndicated 2010-05-19 19:44:00 from Weblogs for dkg

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