Filtering in Federally-funded Public Schools and Libraries

In another attempt to protect children from exposure to cyber porn, Congress passed two laws in 2000 aimed at public schools and public libraries. Federally-funded institutions of this kind are required to put in effect Internet safety policies in order to continue qualifying for federal support. They must install so-called Internet filters on their public computers: these are commercially-available software programs, with names like Cyber Patrol and Net Nanny, that intercept and block pornographic materials. Under the terms of the Children’s Internet Protection Act CIPA) and the Neighborhood Internet Protection Act (NCIPA), filters had to be in place by 2001, although libraries were ultimately given extra time to comply.

Proving as controversial as the CDA and COPA, the laws were challenged by the American Library Association and civil liberties groups. They argued that the law will result in censorship because it relies upon inaccurate technology, citing evidence that some software filters erroneously block nonpornographic material, too. In U.S. v. American Library Association, No. 02-361 (2003), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld CIPA s constitutional.


Inside Filtering in Federally-funded Public Schools and Libraries