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Filterware vendors, librarians react to FCC CIPA ruling

April 5, 2001


Today's ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a stinging 
rebuke of the criticism leveled at the Children's Internet Protection Act 

By ruling that CIPA must be implemented and that schools and libraries must 
certify by October 28, 2001 that they are in compliance with CIPA by 
enforcing a policy of Internet safety, the FCC has resoundingly endorsed 
the letter of the CIPA law.

The American Library Association (ALA) has asked for relief from the law's 
compliance requirements. The FCC refused their request and refused to agree 
with the ALA's claim that internet filtering is ineffective. The American 
Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said that CIPA is unconstitutional.

The FCC ruling clearly explains that as an administrative agency, it 
presumes that statutes Congress directs it to implement are constitutional. 
The FCC also denied the ALA's request for an exception to CIPA's 
requirement that library staff computers must have filtering software.

Internet filtering software is effective and the FCC ruling gives the ALA 
and the ACLU no place to hide in their claims otherwise. In a survey for 
the magazine School Library Journal fully 90%      of public librarians who 
use filtering reported that the software serves its purpose either "very 
well" or "somewhat well". Clearly, they are satisfied customers.


Brian Lopina, executive director, Internet Safety Association, 202-457-5679
Christian Ophus, president, Internet Safety Association, 918-493-9202
Jill Collins, Jill Collins Public Relations Group, 703-716-0925


ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
Volume 10, Number 27
April 5, 2001

In this issue:

FCC Publishes E-rate Filtering Regulations; Year 4 Discounts Affected

The FCC today released the Report and Order (FCC 01-120), and
regulations implementing the Children's Internet Protection Act and
the Neighborhood Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA and NCIPA)
for E-rate discount participants.   A preliminary review of the Order
indicates that the FCC will require E-rate program participants to
comply with CIPA/NCIPA in Year 4.  The "Year 4" is defined as the
program funding year from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002.  The
application period for those who applied for Year 4 discounts was
from November 6, 2000 through January 18, 2001.

A preliminary review of the FCC decision suggests that "compliance"
appears to mean certifying that filtering and related monitoring
requirements are either in place as of October 28, 2001 or  steps are
being taken to be in place for the following funding year, Year 5.

The FCC will require applicants to use FCC Form 486 to certify
compliance and the certification must be postmarked by or before
October 28, 2001.  Form 486 will be consistently used in future years.

ALA and many others who participated in the proceeding argued that
Year 5 should be the first funding year for implementation pursuant
to the law. There are other features including some recommended by
ALA to the FCC that appear to have been adopted, including that:

* consortia merely need to certify that they have collected
CIPA/NCIPA compliance certifications from eligible members;

* every E-rate eligible consortia member will have to send a new
form, FCC Form 479, to the consortia to certify CIPA/NCIPA compliance;

* neither consortia or consortia members will be penalized or held
liable for noncompliance by any individual member of the consortia;

* first time applicants during any year will be able to certify that
they are undertaking  measures to come into compliance with
CIPA/NCIPA for the following year;

* consortia will not be responsible for verifying the accuracy of a
member's certification;

* CIPA/NCIPA does not apply to libraries and schools that receive
E-rate discounts for  telecommunications services only;

* The FCC will not require certification of the effectiveness
technology protection measures;

* The local Public Notice and Hearing, the development of the
Internet safety policy with community input, and other related
requirements of NCIPA must be completed and certification postmarked
by or before October 28, 2001.  However, the FCC  Order allows
libraries and schools that have already conducted a local public
proceeding for the development of an Internet safety policy that
meets NCIPA requirements, to consider themselves in compliance.

ALA staff and legal advisors are reviewing the Report and Order and
will provide a more thorough review as soon as possible.

Key selected highlights of the FCC Report and Order are provided
below.  The URL for the Report and Order is at:

 >From the Executive Summary:
"In this Order, we adopt rules that do the following: *
For this funding year, schools and libraries must certify by October
28, 2001 that they have the policies and technology measures in
place, or that they are undertaking such actions, including any
necessary procurement procedures, to put them in place for the
following funding year.  Because no school or library may receive
services at discount rates during any time period in which it is out
of compliance with its certification, as of the time that a school or
library begins receiving services in Funding Year 4, it must either
have the policies and technology measure in place, or be undertaking
necessary actions to put them in place for the next year.
Schools and libraries shall make the necessary certifications in FCC
Form 486, which is submitted after a decision is made on requests for
discounts under the universal service support mechanism."

 >From Section B, Item 12:
	"*We are not persuaded that Funding Year 5 is the first
program funding year following the effective date of the statute.  It
is well-established in the Commission's rules and in numerous orders
that the program "funding year" for the schools and libraries
universal service support mechanism starts on July 1, and ends on
June 30 of the following year.  Although the commenters are correct
that the application process begins prior to July 1 of each year,
July 1 is the starting date for the funding year because recipients
may not receive discounts for services obtained before that date.
This conclusion is supported by the instructions to the application
form.  SLD has published elsewhere that the funding year begins on
July 1 of each year."
 >From Section B, Item 15:
	"*any school or library that receives discounted services
between July 1 and October 28, 2001, must be taking actions to comply
with CIPA at the time that it actually receives these services, even
though the certification is not due until October 28, 2001.  Entities
that intend to certify that they have not completed all the
requirements of CIPA but are undertaking such actions, including
necessary procurement procedures, to complete CIPA's requirements for
Funding Year 5, may only receive discounts for Funding Year 4 if they
are undertaking such actions by the time they begin receiving

The Washington Office will offer a workshop on CIPA and its effects
on libraries at our Saturday Update Session at Annual Conference 2001
in San Francisco. The workshop will touch on E-Rate concerns among
other issues. Stay tuned to ALAWON for further details.

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