Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Internet Protection Act (NCIPA) went into effect on April 20, 2001. These laws place restrictions on the use of funding that is available through the Library Services and Technology Act, Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and on the Universal Service discount program known as the E-rate (Public Law 106-554). These restrictions take the form of requirements for Internet safety policies and technology which blocks or filters certain material from being accessed through the Internet. The deadline for complying with NCIPA was July 1, 2002 for those libraries receiving 2002 E-rate discounts for Internet access or internal connections. The deadline for compliance with CIPA was July 1, 2004, following the Supreme Court ruling in 2003.

The following is an overview of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (C.I.P.A.) as published by the SLD. For additional detailed guidance on the requirements for recipients of service and for Billed Entities under the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) visit the CIPA section of the SLD web site.

“The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was signed into law on December 21, 2000. Under CIPA, no school or library may receive discounts unless it certifies that it is enforcing a policy of Internet safety that includes the use of filtering or blocking technology (see below). This Internet Safety Policy must protect against access, through computers with Internet access, to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or (in the case of use by minors) harmful to minors. The school or library must also certify that it is enforcing the operation of such filtering or blocking technology during any use of such computers by minors. The law is effective for Funding Year 4 (07/01/2001 to 06/30/2002) and for all future years. Schools and libraries receiving only Telecommunications Services are excluded from the requirements of CIPA.

For the first Funding Year (Funding Year 4 for Year 4 applicants), applicants must certify on their Form 486 either that they are in compliance with CIPA, or that they are undertaking actions to put into place an Internet Safety Policy and to procure the filtering or blocking technology. For the second year (for most applicants, Funding Year 5), they must certify on their Form 486 that they are in compliance with CIPA in order to receive universal service discounts. However, if state or local procurement rules or regulations or competitive bidding requirements prevent the making of the required CIPA certifications, applicants may seek a waiver and provide notification that they will be in compliance before the start of the third Funding Year (for most applicants, Funding Year 6.) In general, local communities are responsible for determining what constitutes prohibited material and appropriate actions by schools and libraries.”

Additional Reading Resources:

Additional Reading from From the ALM (American Library Association)

Find information below for librarians with questions about CIPA at their libraries, scholars interested in the legislative history of CIPA, or those interested in the ALA’s position on CIPA. The site is divided into four major areas, with further subdivisions within each:

  • Legal History: This section details the history of CIPA, beginning with its inception, and following it through the legal challenges brought against it. If you are looking for historical information or documents (such as legal briefs, etc) related to CIPA, check in here.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): A variety of questions that are commonly asked by libraries and the public about implementation, LSTA, applicability, and some sample scenarios.
  • Background Resources: ALA background information on related topics such as filtering and other federal Acts, links to other resources that have useful information for librarians about CIPA, and federal regulations and guidance for CIPA.
  • Archival materials: News articles, reports from the field, tools and worksheets that can be used to determine how best to make your CIPA policies work.
  • CIPA Briefs: CIPA legal briefs

Article written by

For the past 30+ years, computers, advanced technology and solving problems with this new technology have been his business. In 1978, he graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC with the first graduating class in the 16 North Carolina Universities with an Information Systems degree from the College of Business. For the last 14 years Nicky has served as the visionary leader and CEO of CAROLINANET.COM, a web hosting and server colocation data center and since 2004 the CEO of Carolina Digital Phone offering hosted telephone services and SIP Trunking. Read more at his LinkedIN page

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