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Internet Filtering & Libraries

Libraries began using Internet filters in the late 1990's due to community pressure and the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA is a federal law that requires all computers in a public library to be filtered if that library accepts any federal funds for computers that access the Internet or the costs associated with the connection to the Internet. It took effect on July 1, 2004.

From the FCC website:

Schools and libraries subject to CIPA may not receive the discounts offered by the E-rate program (a program that makes certain communications technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries) unless they certify that they have an Internet safety policy that includes technology protection measures. The protection measures must block or filter Internet access to pictures that are: (a) obscene, (b) child pornography, or (c) harmful to minors (for computers that are accessed by minors). Before adopting this Internet safety policy, schools and libraries must provide reasonable notice and hold at least one public hearing or meeting to address the proposal.

Schools and libraries subject to CIPA are required to adopt and implement an Internet safety policy addressing: (a) access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet; (b) the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications; (c) unauthorized access, including so-called “hacking,” and other unlawful activities by minors online; (d) unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors; and (e) measures restricting minors’ access to materials harmful to them.

To learn more about libraries & Internet filtering, follow these links: