ALA/CIPA and Libraries

Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Neighborhood Internet Protection Act (NCIPA) as part of a major spending bill (H.R. 4577) on December 15, 2000. The President signed the bill into law on December 21, 2000 (Public Law 106-554). The Acts 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. 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 law was permanently enjoined by a three-judge panel on May 30, 2002. The Supreme Court overturned the decision on June 23, 2003.

S. 97, Children’s Internet Protection Act

ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline, reported that on March 4 Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) chaired a hearing on filtering legislation that he and ranking minority member Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) have proposed. The Children’s Internet Protection Act, S. 97 (See ALAWON v8, n7, January 22, 1999) would “require the installation and use by schools and libraries of a technology for filtering or blocking material on the Internet on computers with Internet access to be eligible to receive or retain universal service assistance.”

Testimony against S. 97 was given by Candace Morgan, president of the Freedom to Read Foundation, on March 4, 1999.

The ALA Washington Office asks that you call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to urge Senators to adjust S. 97 to respect local decision making. If you have a written Internet use policy as well as a description of the process your library and its board went through to develop that policy, please write to your Senator and share that information. (Please also send a blind copy to the ALA Washington Office at 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 403, Washington, D.C. 20004.)

S 97, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (introduced by Sen. John McCain, R-AZ), introduced on January 19, 1999, was a companion bill to HR 896. The Senate Commerce Committee adopted S 97 RS on June 23. The act would require that an "elementary or secondary school having computers with Internet access may not receive services at discount rates … unless … [it] (i) has selected a technology for its computers with Internet access in order to filter or block Internet access through such computers to (I) material that is obscene; and (II) child pornography; and (ii) is enforcing a policy to ensure the operation of the technology during any use of such computers by minors." No action has been taken on this legislation.

You also may click here for a list of where and how to contact your senators.

H.R. 543, is identical to S. 97, and was introduced by Rep. Bob Franks (R-N.J.). H.R. 368, the Safe Schools Internet Act, also was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bob Franks (R-N.J.). It is similar to H.R. 543, but uses the phrase “matter deemed to be inappropriate for minors.”

H.R. 896, Children’s Internet Protection Act

H.R. 896, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (introduced by Rep. Bob Franks, R-NJ), was approved by the House on June 15, 1999. It would require that schools receiving e-rate subsidies use filtering software to “protect” children from “pornography.” Schools would have to certify that they “selected a technology for computers with Internet access to filter or block (i) child pornographic material … (ii) obscene materials … and (iii) during use by minors, materials deemed to be harmful to minors" and "installed, or will install, and uses or will use, as soon as it obtains computers with Internet access, a technology to filter or block such material.”

On June 16, 1999, ALA President Ann Symons sent a letter to the Senate regarding this act (when it was known as H.R. 1501

H.R. 896 was amended and attached to the House Juvenile Justice Bill in 1999, but this justice bill has not become law.

H.R. 4600, Children’s Internet Protection Act

On June 8, 2000, Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) and Rep. Bop Franks (R-NJ) reintroduced their Children’s Internet Protection Act. The bill would require schools and libraries that accept e-rate subsidies to use filtering technology.

HR 2560, the Child Protection Act (introduced by Rep. Ernest Istook, R-OK), would require schools and libraries receiving federal funds to acquire computers to use filtering software. This bill would affect schools and libraries receiving funds to acquire or operate computers, whereas the Children’s Internet Protection Act is directed at schools and libraries receiving e-rate funds. Istook’s bill was introduced on July 20, 1999, but was removed from any legislation.

Related Files

CIPA Summary (PDF File)
CIPA Text (PDF File)
CIPA Analysis (PDF File)
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