ALA denounces Supreme Court ruling on Children’s Internet Protection Act

Contact: Larra Clark, Press Officer

Frank DiFulvio, ALA Washington Office Press Officer

Paige Wasson, PR Assistant

Archived Press Release
Originally posted June 23, 2003

(Toronto) The American Library Association (ALA) today expressed disappointment in today’s very narrow decision from the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Children’s Internet Protection Act.

Justice Kennedy’s opinion requires that filtering companies create filters that can be immediately and easily dismantled to meet the information needs of library users.

The American Library Association again calls for full disclosure of what sites filtering companies are blocking, who is deciding what is filtered and what criteria are being used. Findings of fact clearly show that filtering companies are not following legal definitions of “harmful to minors” and “obscenity.” Their practices must change.

To assist local libraries in their decision process, the ALA will seek this information from filtering companies, then evaluate and share the information with the thousands of libraries now being forced to forego funds or choose faulty filters. The American Library Association also will explain how various products work, criteria to consider in selecting a products and how to best use a given product in a public setting. Library users must be able to see what sites are being blocked and, if needed, be able to request the filter be disabled with the least intrusion into their privacy and the least burden on library service.

The ALA will do everything possible to support the governing bodies of these local institutions as they struggle with this very difficult decision.

A quick summary of the CIPA decision is available online.

For more information, see the Supreme Court's decision at