CAPTCHA: The great new legal way of getting rid of blind people

Posted on June 22, 2009
Tags: CAPTCHA, Rant

I just tried to register a twitter account. After seven unsuccessful attempts to unriddle the audio CAPTCHA I had to give up before my anger would hurt anything in my proximity. This is a post in rant mode, so be prepared, however, I think it has some valid points seen from the perspective of those that fell victim to the recent CAPTCHA movement.


I hate CAPTCHAs, for the obvious reasons. At first, it ment that I started to be excluded from all sorts of services on the net, basically everything that requires me to register an account and thinks of itself being leet or something. I find it particularily funny (in the chinese sense) that CAPTCHAs started to emerge after the W3C's Web Accessibility initiatives finally made some progress in educating web designers. So while the internet is now officially accessible (at least its easy to claim this today) they have now found a much better way to exclude us blind people categorically. They just pretend we are no humans anymore (thats actually nothing new in perceived real life, but it feels new to me in information technology).

Now, of course, you will say, these days there are audio CAPTCHAs. However, this is what I tried to use on They tell me they are looking for two words I am supposed to enter, and I am also supposed to not worry, the best guess is OK. As mentioned above, I tried this seven times. With some attempts, I didn't understand a single word at all, with other attempts, I understood way more than two words. It was never marked clearly which of the excess words are supposed to be ignored. No matter what I entered, I apparently failed to solve the CAPTCHA and proof my humanity.

And I am even lucky, I tend to think of myself as someone that does understand english quite well when listening to it, a ability that not everyone has in my country that has german as its primary language. Supposing that twitter is an international service and not really linked to english as a primary communication language, the audio CAPTCHA is also excluding all the people that do not speak/hear english very well. Besides, this point doesnt matter, because I bet you can't solve that CAPTCHA on first try even if you are a native speaker, its just too damn crazy.

So, what to do? I have no idea. I guess my frustration will just grow boundlessly. CAPTCHAs are the first events in IT that make me think about my ability to do this job in the future. If these trends persists, I dunno how I am supposed to take part in the Internet in the future.