Disabled Australian starts petition to kill CAPTCHA

By on August 5, 2013, 9:30 AM

CAPTCHA tests have been annoying many internet users for some time now, but one disabled Australian has finally had enough, starting a petition to encourage major companies to get rid of the tests. Wayne Hawkins is a blind resident of Sydney who is sick of having CAPTCHA tests prevent him from easily accessing the web, and is calling for it to be killed "once and for all".

Hawkins highlights how CAPTCHA tests are not only inaccessible for disabled citizens, but also frustrating for all internet users. They can't be read by screen-reading software by design, which prevents blind people from using their usual tools to fill out CAPTCHA-protected forms, the audio versions are often completely incomprehensible, and the words displayed are often ridiculous or illegible for sighted people.

CAPTCHA - which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart - was designed to prevent spam bots from automatically creating thousands of accounts on various services. The test is used on a wide variety of websites during the sign up process, including when creating Google and Microsoft accounts, as well as when using contact forms for government offices.

Despite AVG suggesting CAPTCHA is an "inevitable safeguard" against "criminals", the test has drawn criticism from a range of organizations, including Able Australia, Blind Citizens Australia, ACANN, Media Access Australia and even the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The latter already suggests that CAPTCHA excludes people with disabilities, and points to a wide range of other anti-bot tests including simple maths equations, trivia and the use of sound files.

Hawkins says that CAPTCHA tests "fundamentally fail to properly recognise people with disabilities as human".

The petition is calling for 10,000 signatures to support killing CAPTCHA tests, and has just a few hundred signatures at the time of publication. If you want to throw your support behind the removal of CAPTCHAs from the internet, head here to sign the petition.




User Comments: 20

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1 person liked this | freythman freythman said:

The sad truth is that the only thing Captcha has proven 100% successful in doing is frustrating people. Spam bots have found ways around them. I understand the reason for wanting something like this, from an administrative standpoint, but this petition was inevitable and I stand behind it.

1 person liked this | m4a4 m4a4 said:

Yeah...... unless there is a decent way to replace this, I don't see the point.

I might not like them, but:

-A simple math equation is easily circumvented, if it can be read by software. If not, it is still as bad as the CAPTCHA's. It would need to be unreadable to software, and not fully understandable by software.

-Sounds are (yet again) preventing access to other disabled people (the deaf). It's amusing he mentioned that one...

The trivia is probably the best choice (if it can be implemented properly) and even then it's a bit iffy. Even if it can be read by software, no simple algorithm should be able to decipher it (unless it's multiple-choice). However, that means that the questions have to be simple (since it is quite a bit more complex than reading letters or numbers).

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I swear sometimes I put exactly what it says and it says incorrect.

NimbusTLD said:

I swear sometimes I put exactly what it says and it says incorrect.

Nah, you just don't pass the Turing Test.

Seriously though, what alternatives are there out there? The ones which require you to assemble a jigsaw puzzle is the only viable alternative I've come across, which won't work any better for people with disabilities.

Guest said:

I dont hate captchas that much, BUT THAT PARTICULAR ONE ON THE PICTURE I HATE WITH ALL MY HEART

most captchas just skew a word like "Blue moon" slightly and you can easily read it, no biggie

but that piece of garbage insist on distort them in the worst way possible and uses stuff like "blue smorgasboardtronic" or "yellos, marinetistickinexia" stupid stuff that I cant even read, I usually have to refresh it 2-3 times to get a couple words I can actually read

General Sam General Sam said:

I used a picture captcha where you had to jigsaw the pieces together, this was easy and fun. Not sure how effective it was, but it did involve rotating pieces.

But yes this should be banned!

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I don't get it - there's a sound icon to use for captcha (and other similar bot killers) in case you're disabled and can't read them. Why isn't this guy using that option?

mrt8062 mrt8062 said:

I don't get it - there's a sound icon to use for captcha (and other similar bot killers) in case you're disabled and can't read them. Why isn't this guy using that option?

if you ever try to use it, it is very terrible and sucks honestly

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

To stop those bots an etc.. But just got out of hand though.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Just annoying for no reason if they can be circumvented by bots, some of them are just impossible to read. Would be nice too see them eliminated.

JC713 JC713 said:

I hate Captchas. I really think they need evidence proving that it is not effective before they can petition.

PinothyJ said:

Dear god!

I just went to /v/ on 4chan (The only place I could remember that had CAPTCHA brand CAPTCHA) to use the audio prompt and, for the love of all things holy, the audio is horrible!

With that being said, CAPTCHA does far more good than harm so it stays...

Guest said:

Before I post my comment, I must say how ironic it was posting a comment as a guest, and a using Solve Media verification, lol.

Aside from that, I thought Captchas were wobbly like that because that was where the book was folded when scanned by a copier and we are helping to fix up books with mispelllings?

I hate them, I wish there was a better way.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Cool. No facts or data to show, no alternatives presented. Just a "waa waa, I can't do it, get rid of it!" with no knowledge of why it even exists. If you use things like:

"I?m constantly frustrated.."

"It is time to kill CAPTCHA once and for all."

..Your argument is invalid.

Timonius Timonius said:

Before I post my comment, I must say how ironic it was posting a comment as a guest, and a using Solve Media verification, lol.

Aside from that, I thought Captchas were wobbly like that because that was where the book was folded when scanned by a copier and we are helping to fix up books with mispelllings?

I hate them, I wish there was a better way.

You're talking about a different version of CAPTCHA called reCAPTCHA. I understand the frustration with some of the captchas but unitl there is a better alternative, it stays. I just tried the audio alternative of reCAPTCHA and after failing a few of them I got the hang of what is being said and starting figuring them out consistently without a problem. I know they can be annoying but usually after a couple of tries it's all good.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I like the Megaupload captcha thingie. One time I only had to type in KFC. Good day for humanity

1 person liked this | t3chn3rd t3chn3rd said:

Lord Inglip will not be pleased...

Guest said:

Im bot and I passed it

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Lord Inglip will not be pleased...

Omg lol I completely forgot about Lord Inglip!

tehbanz tehbanz said:

I don't get it - there's a sound icon to use for captcha (and other similar bot killers) in case you're disabled and can't read them. Why isn't this guy using that option?

Also, the captcha sound is kinda spooky.. it is what I think schizophrenics hear.

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