CIPA trial wraps third day

Contacts: Larra Clark


ALA Archived News Release

Originally posted March 29, 2002

The government began presenting its case in the American Library Association’s (ALA) legal challenge to the Children’s Internet Protection Act yesterday. Three witnesses took the stand:

  • David Biek, of the Tacoma (Wash.) Public Library, who testified about his library’s use of blocking software
  • Chris Lemmons, of eTesting Labs, who testified to his firm’s testing of four popular filtering systems
  • David Sudduth, of Greenville (S.C) Public Library, who testified about his library’s use of blocking software

“Of particular note yesterday was the concession from the government’s own expert witness that all filters necessarily overblock and underblock online materials,” said ALA attorney Theresa Chmara of Jenner and Block. “This confirms the testimony of ALA experts, and confirms that legal and useful information is being restricted by blocking software.”

CIPA and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (NCIPA) were signed into law December 21, 2000. CIPA mandates the use of blocking technology for public libraries that seek Universal Service discounts (E-rate) for Internet access, Internet service or internal connections, or that seek Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds to purchase computers for Internet access or to pay for Internet access. The ALA and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed lawsuits challenging the law in March 2001. The cases were combined and are being heard by a three-judge panel made up of two district and one appellate court judge. People for the American Way is serving as supporting counsel for the ALA challenge.

The trial is expected to conclude April 3. The judges will likely rule by early May so libraries will have time to prepare before E-rate and LSTA deadlines fall.

For more information and updates on CIPA and the legal challenge, please go to
ALA's CIPA page.

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