CAPTCHA technology could become a thing of the past

You may not know it by the name, but it has probably irritated you in the past.

CAPTCHA technology, which is often used by websites to distinguish humans and computers apart, is under scrutiny as a petition to abolish the software has gained almost 1000 signatures. The test requires the user to type the series of letters and numbers of a distorted image on the screen, in order to separate human users from automated bots, in an effort to potentially reduce spam.

However, it seems that automatic bots are not the only thing that the program disallows access to.

Wayne Hawkins, a visually impaired Australian man, has started a petition to "kill" CAPTCHA under the claim that it is discriminatory as it is inaccessible to the blind and impaired.

They’re frustrating for all internet users, but for me and millions of other people who are blind or vision impaired, CAPTCHA tests prevent us from engaging on the web and accessing online government services, because they can't be read by screen reading software.

In an open letter addressed to various CEO’s, such as Larry Page (Google) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Hawkins pleads for other alternatives that would mean the blind would not have to spend “hours trying to complete a simple task such as creating an email account”.

Hawkins hopes the petition will inspire companies to consider alternative methods of verification, such as a simple “email activation link”, to make the internet more accessible for everyone.

Source: Change.org | Image: Fast Company

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Some captchas has sound specially for impaired people. For example, Recaptcha.

IMHO, it is a forced complain just for the good of complain.

Have people missed the point of a certain type?
Read books... stop spam.

By typing in the letters you are helping translate really old books where the text is pretty much unreadable. The system takes an average of what is written (by us humans) and puts that as the word.

Well if we take captchas away, the whole population will suffer due to increased spam.
If we leave captchas, then only a small amount of people are left unhappy.

We can't always cater to everybody, and sometimes you have to sacrifice a small population for the greater good of the majority population. Sad, but true.

Article said,
In an open letter addressed to various CEO's, such as Larry Page (Google) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Hawkins pleads for other alternatives that would mean the blind would not have to spend “hours trying to complete a simple task such as creating an email account”.

The impaired shouldn't feel so bad, it takes us all hours to complete a simple task when captcha is involved. No one wins!

Kushan said,
Don't they generally have a little speaker that'll speak the letters for you to type in anyway?
Yeah, I've often seen that with doing a CAPTCHA.

Aaaah!
Yes, I hate CAPTCHA. They've become so complex that even humans have problems reading them. It used to be fine but programmers have managed to write code to read it and now we're stuck with sometimes unreadable text.
Make us identify objects. But to prevent brute force by programs, make it show another object if the first guess was wrong and if the 3rd guess is wrong, jump to CAPTCHA.

Blind people generally have superior hearing, so make them listen to some short audio clip of a word, masked in horrible background noise.

Captchas won't go anywhere. The problem with sending an email verification link is that once spam bots start filling the form out that, the site will be sending a bunch of junk emails out. That in turn leads to future emails being treated as spam even for the legitimate new users who then don't get the emails.

Bit pointless writing to Google because they have http://www.google.com/recaptcha which has an audio version available!

slashd said,
So what is your anti spammer suggestion?

Which of the following has teeth?
Hamburger
Strawberry
Keyboard
Human

Either figure something new out or do what a lot of good sites do, deal with yourself instead of burdening the user.

DPyro has the answer. Word puzzles where you select the correct answer. That can be translated for the visually impaired. That has to be possible considering most of the internet is text, pictures and videos. They would have to be a little off the wall to thwart bots, but would be much easier to navigate than captcha.

Unfortunately, the robot still has a 25% chance of guessing it right. When thousands of processes are doing this simultaneously, those odds are too high by a couple orders of magnitude at least.

I love the image of a strawberry with teeth. A Waffle with teeth is even funnier. Oh, how about a fish stick?!

Whatever happened to the system that showed you a picture of, and asked you to identify an object (obviously a significant object - think Elephant in a living-room). It seemed a much less awkward thing to use, and perhaps it's far easier for the partially-sighted to recognize familiar items against even fairly busy backgrounds that any bot can.

"Hawkins hopes the petition will inspire companies to consider alternative methods of verification, such as a simple “email activation link”, to make the internet more accessible for everyone."

Been there, done that. That method of verification has already been broken. Having a bot read an incoming email, and "click" on the link in the body is now child's play to the spammers.

TCLN Ryster said,

Been there, done that. That method of verification has already been broken. Having a bot read an incoming email, and "click" on the link in the body is now child's play to the spammers.

Besides, most captchas come with an audio version available, no?

Mulsivaas said,

Besides, most captchas come with an audio version available, no?

Yup, I don't know what this guy is petitioning about... audio version of captchas are available and made SPECIFICALLY for the visually impaired.

Mulsivaas said,

Besides, most captchas come with an audio version available, no?

They do, but most of the audio versions I've tried are incomprehensible (much worse than the visual version).

ZakO said,

They do, but most of the audio versions I've tried are incomprehensible (much worse than the visual version).

Well true but if you keep listening (or request a new one) you will make out what the letters are lol. It's the same for the visual captchas, some captchas I can't make out a lot of them so I have to keep hitting refresh until I find one that I can actually read.

onionjuice said,
Well true but if you keep listening (or request a new one) you will make out what the letters are lol. It's the same for the visual captchas, some captchas I can't make out a lot of them so I have to keep hitting refresh until I find one that I can actually read.

I've literally been unable to get through captcha for like 20 minutes in the past, and I'm not impaired in any way. I've hit refresh dozens of times, it's purgatory. Some sites it seems are better than others at how readable they are, but they're just the best of something altogether horrible.

I've been shown the sign for Pi mixed in with letters and numbers before, no joke. Maybe it's just my luck, but I always get something incomprehensible by refreshing the last incomprehensible jumble of characters.

I can't wait for the end of captcha.