Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)What is the Children's Internet Protection Act?
In a nutshell, the Children’s Internet Protection Act requires public libraries to install Internet filtering software on all of its public access computers if the library uses federal money to purchase computers that will access the Internet or to purchase Internet access. In addition, libraries that receive an E-Rate discount for internal connections or Internet access must comply with CIPA.
Brief History of CIPA
- The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (NCIPA) passed Congress in December of 2000. Both were part of a large federal appropriations measure (PL 106-554). The Federal Communications Commission released its regulations for CIPA and NCIPA in April 5, 2001.
- In March 2001 several groups, including the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), filed suit to prevent the enforcement of CIPA’s filtering requirement in public libraries.
- A trial was held in March 2002 in federal district court in Philadelphia. On May 31, 2002, the CIPA filtering mandate for public libraries was declared unconstitutional on first amendment grounds by the district court. The U.S. Justice Department appealed the district court’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- On June 23, 2003, the Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn the May 2002 decision and uphold the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).
- The ruling mandates that any public library using E-rate or Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds for purposes covered by the act will need to comply with CIPA's filtering requirement. Under the law, adult patrons (age 17 and older) may request exception from filtering.
What does it mean for KCLS?
- The King County Library System Board of Trustees voted August 27 to adopt Internet filtering protocols in anticipation of implementation of the federal Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA).
- In 2002, the King County Library System received approximately $400,000 in federal support for Internet access. The Board decision to comply with CIPA paves the way for continued federal funding for Internet access for KCLS.
Though federal guidelines have yet to be established, the trustees of the library opted to begin implementation well in advance of the July 2004 federal deadline.
Last Updated: July 16, 2012