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Author Topic: Canadian gov't requires American browsers for Census site  (Read 1644 times)

TehBorken

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[h3]          Canadian gov't requires American browsers for Census site         [/h3] Statistics Canadian -- a Federal agency -- is conducting a national census that Canadians can participate in via the Web, but only if they use Microsoft's Internet Explorer or Apple's Safari. Free and open browsers like Firefox are explicitly excluded. There's two jaw-dropping elements to this story: one, that the Canadian government requires Canadians to use American software to complete the national census; and two, that they require all kinds of high-tech crapola to [em]fill in a survey[/em]:  [blockquote] On the fact page for Secure Channel, one of the benefits of the system listed is "accessibility to government programs." For the on-line census page, however, accessibility is limited to Windows 98, NT, ME, or XP, and Mac users with Safari 1.2.4 with webkit 125.5.7. In addition, users must have at least version 1.4.2_3 of a j-ava Virtual Machine on Windows, or version 1.4.2_5 on the Mac. If users do not meet these requirements, as they begin the process, they are redirected to a page that informs them that "Your browser does not meet the minimum requirements to access this site." The page refers them to a second page that gives detailed instructions about how to download the required software. Alternatively, the page suggests that users fill out the hardcopy version of the census form that was mailed to them. The site gives no explanation about who selected these requirements, or how. In practice, they probably exclude thousands of users on Windows with old machines and no knowledge of how to upgrade or what j-ava is. As we quickly found out, they definitely exclude those using a variety of GNU/Linux distributions and recent versions of Mozilla, Epiphany, Firefox, Konqueror, and Opera, even with suitable versions of Sun j-ava installed. Nor does changing the browser identification in Konqueror or using about:config to change the general.useragent settings in Firefox have any effect. [/p]After determining that the site is unusable with GNU/Linux, I phoned the Census Help Line and politely explained the problem. After consulting with someone else, the anonymous woman who answered my call returned to tell me, "You can't use it with that operating system." [/p] "So, in other words, my access to the government is limited by which software I use?" I asked. [/p]"Yes," I guess that is correct," she said after a brief hesitation." Then she offered to let me talk to a supervisor, and I agreed. [/p][/blockquote]  [a href="http://trends.newsforge.com/trends/06/05/04/233250.shtml?tid=136&tid=2&tid=132"]Link[/a]


 
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