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Understanding CIPA
 to Fight the Filter
     Mark E. Moran

  CEO, Dulcinea Media



   Updated March 5, 2012
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Children’s Internet Protection Act

 A federal law adopted and administered by the FCC

 Applicable only to schools and libraries that get Internet funding
  from the E-rate program

 Only penalty for non-compliance – school loses E-Rate
  funding.


FCC’s Summary Page:
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/cipa.html

FCC’s Release Adopting the Rules for CIPA
www.e-ratecentral.com/CIPA/fcc_01_120.pdf
CIPA Requirements

 Schools must certify 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).

 Schools may disable the blocking or filtering measure during
  any use by an adult to enable access for bona fide research.
  Example: a teacher wants to read Alex Haley’s historic
  interviews on Playboy.com
Requirements (cont’d)
Schools must adopt & enforce a policy to monitor minors online.

Must adopt and implement an Internet safety policy addressing:

(e)access by minors to inappropriate matter;
(f)safety and security of minors when using e-mail & chat rooms
(g)unauthorized access;
(h)unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal
information; and
(i)measures restricting minors’ access to harmful materials

CIPA contemplated that “harmful to minors” would be determined
by each district, but FCC rules do not mandate this. Proposed
revisions to rules would require it.
Requirements (cont’d)
Statutory definitions of harmful to minors: any picture, image,
graphic image file, or other visual depiction that

(A) taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a
prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion;

(B) depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way
with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated
sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or
perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; and

(C) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or
scientific value as to minors.
No Certification of Effectiveness of Filter

FCC specifically refused to require certification of filter
effectiveness, saying that such imposing a requirement; “does not
comport with our goal of minimizing the burden we place on
schools and libraries.”

“We presume Congress did not intend to penalize recipients that
act in good faith & in a reasonable manner to implement
available technology protection measures.” (Emphasis added)
FCC Does Not Police Filtering Practices

 FCC noted that an ineffective filter could “engender concern of
  parents of students.”

 FCC presumed "we will rarely, if ever, be called upon to look
  beyond th(e) certification.”

 We have found no evidence that the FCC has ever brought an
  action against a school alleging that the school’s filter was
  ineffective.

 However, note that, aside from CIPA, if an educator were to
  display material on a computer that was patently inappropriate
  for minors, then other criminal or disciplinary laws could apply.
FCC: Social Media Need Not Be Blocked

 FTC, August 2011: “Although it is possible that certain
  individual Facebook or MySpace pages could potentially
  contain material harmful to minors, we do not find that these
  websites are per se ‘harmful to minors’ or fall into one of the
  categories that schools and libraries must block.”

 Declaring such sites categorically harmful to minors would be
  inconsistent with the Protecting Children in the Twenty-First
  Century Act’s focus on “educating minors about appropriate on-
  line behavior, including interacting with other individuals on
  social networking websites and in chat rooms, and
  cyberbullying awareness and response.”

          http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-11-125A1.doc
FCC Implements Protecting Children Act

Under The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, a school
receiving e-Rate funding must certify to the FCC that it is
educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including
interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and
in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.

As the FCC alludes in its comments on the prior slide - how can a
school educate students about appropriate use of social
networking websites if those sites are entirely blocked in school?
Over-Filtering May Be Unconstitutional
Lawyer Nancy Willard notes that the implementation of CIPA was
reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In her view, districts that
implement the use of filtering in a manner that places a substantial
burden on student access to constitutionally protected material
may be violating a student's constitutional rights.

In February 2012, a federal judge issued an injunction barring a
Missouri school district from allowing its Internet filters to block
websites that offer positive viewpoints on gay people.

Nancy E. Willard, Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet: A Guide for Educators, citing
United States v. American Library Association, No. 02-361 In the Supreme Court of the United
States. (June 23, 2003)
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/02pdf/02-361.pdf

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/school_law/2012/02/injunction_bars_school_filteri.html
How to Avoid Over-Filtering
Willard recommend that districts should, among other things:

Have administrators determine what material should be blocked,
not technology personnel or the filtering company

Block only the categories necessary to be blocked under CIPA

Establish effective procedures for teachers to rapidly override the
filter when it is blocking access to educational material

Establish procedures to allow students to anonymously request a
site be overridden to allow for access to sensitive material
Teachers Overriding Filters
 In many school districts, the filter enables teachers to have
  passwords that permit them to override the filter to access
  certain blocked Websites.

 For example, while many school districts block YouTube
  because a small portion of its content may be considered
  harmful to minors, many school districts also have a policy that
  permits teachers to override the filter to access and display
  educational videos on YouTube, and similar sites.

 We have not uncovered any persuasive argument that such a
  policy violates CIPA, and find no evidence that the FCC has
  any interest in bringing an action alleging that it does.
CIPA Resources


Unquiet Library’s outstanding collection of resources on CIPA:
http://www.theunquietlibrary.libguides.com/fight-the-filter

Doug Johnson on 7 Steps to Take to Fight Filters:
http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2009/7/24/censorship

MindShift: Straight from DOE Dispelling Myths About Blocked Sites
http://mindshift.kqed.org/tag/cipa/

Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
http://www.cyberbully.org

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Understanding CIPA to Fight the Filter

  • 1. Understanding CIPA to Fight the Filter Mark E. Moran CEO, Dulcinea Media Updated March 5, 2012
  • 2. Who We Are Dulcinea Media provides content & tools that help educators teach students how to use the Internet effectively. More about us and our products: http://www.DulcineaMedia.com Check out SweetSearch, A Search Engine for Students www.SweetSearch.com Sign-up for our free daily newsletter: http://www.findingdulcinea.com/info/newsletter.html Follow us on Twitter: @findingDulcinea
  • 3. Children’s Internet Protection Act  A federal law adopted and administered by the FCC  Applicable only to schools and libraries that get Internet funding from the E-rate program  Only penalty for non-compliance – school loses E-Rate funding. FCC’s Summary Page: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/cipa.html FCC’s Release Adopting the Rules for CIPA www.e-ratecentral.com/CIPA/fcc_01_120.pdf
  • 4. CIPA Requirements  Schools must certify 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).  Schools may disable the blocking or filtering measure during any use by an adult to enable access for bona fide research. Example: a teacher wants to read Alex Haley’s historic interviews on Playboy.com
  • 5. Requirements (cont’d) Schools must adopt & enforce a policy to monitor minors online. Must adopt and implement an Internet safety policy addressing: (e)access by minors to inappropriate matter; (f)safety and security of minors when using e-mail & chat rooms (g)unauthorized access; (h)unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information; and (i)measures restricting minors’ access to harmful materials CIPA contemplated that “harmful to minors” would be determined by each district, but FCC rules do not mandate this. Proposed revisions to rules would require it.
  • 6. Requirements (cont’d) Statutory definitions of harmful to minors: any picture, image, graphic image file, or other visual depiction that (A) taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; (B) depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; and (C) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.
  • 7. No Certification of Effectiveness of Filter FCC specifically refused to require certification of filter effectiveness, saying that such imposing a requirement; “does not comport with our goal of minimizing the burden we place on schools and libraries.” “We presume Congress did not intend to penalize recipients that act in good faith & in a reasonable manner to implement available technology protection measures.” (Emphasis added)
  • 8. FCC Does Not Police Filtering Practices  FCC noted that an ineffective filter could “engender concern of parents of students.”  FCC presumed "we will rarely, if ever, be called upon to look beyond th(e) certification.”  We have found no evidence that the FCC has ever brought an action against a school alleging that the school’s filter was ineffective.  However, note that, aside from CIPA, if an educator were to display material on a computer that was patently inappropriate for minors, then other criminal or disciplinary laws could apply.
  • 9. FCC: Social Media Need Not Be Blocked  FTC, August 2011: “Although it is possible that certain individual Facebook or MySpace pages could potentially contain material harmful to minors, we do not find that these websites are per se ‘harmful to minors’ or fall into one of the categories that schools and libraries must block.”  Declaring such sites categorically harmful to minors would be inconsistent with the Protecting Children in the Twenty-First Century Act’s focus on “educating minors about appropriate on- line behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.”  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-11-125A1.doc
  • 10. FCC Implements Protecting Children Act Under The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, a school receiving e-Rate funding must certify to the FCC that it is educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response. As the FCC alludes in its comments on the prior slide - how can a school educate students about appropriate use of social networking websites if those sites are entirely blocked in school?
  • 11. Over-Filtering May Be Unconstitutional Lawyer Nancy Willard notes that the implementation of CIPA was reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In her view, districts that implement the use of filtering in a manner that places a substantial burden on student access to constitutionally protected material may be violating a student's constitutional rights. In February 2012, a federal judge issued an injunction barring a Missouri school district from allowing its Internet filters to block websites that offer positive viewpoints on gay people. Nancy E. Willard, Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet: A Guide for Educators, citing United States v. American Library Association, No. 02-361 In the Supreme Court of the United States. (June 23, 2003) http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/02pdf/02-361.pdf http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/school_law/2012/02/injunction_bars_school_filteri.html
  • 12. How to Avoid Over-Filtering Willard recommend that districts should, among other things: Have administrators determine what material should be blocked, not technology personnel or the filtering company Block only the categories necessary to be blocked under CIPA Establish effective procedures for teachers to rapidly override the filter when it is blocking access to educational material Establish procedures to allow students to anonymously request a site be overridden to allow for access to sensitive material
  • 13. Teachers Overriding Filters  In many school districts, the filter enables teachers to have passwords that permit them to override the filter to access certain blocked Websites.  For example, while many school districts block YouTube because a small portion of its content may be considered harmful to minors, many school districts also have a policy that permits teachers to override the filter to access and display educational videos on YouTube, and similar sites.  We have not uncovered any persuasive argument that such a policy violates CIPA, and find no evidence that the FCC has any interest in bringing an action alleging that it does.
  • 14. CIPA Resources Unquiet Library’s outstanding collection of resources on CIPA: http://www.theunquietlibrary.libguides.com/fight-the-filter Doug Johnson on 7 Steps to Take to Fight Filters: http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2009/7/24/censorship MindShift: Straight from DOE Dispelling Myths About Blocked Sites http://mindshift.kqed.org/tag/cipa/ Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use http://www.cyberbully.org