The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) needs to be complied with if an applicant is to receive E-rate funds. CIPA requires the blocking or filtering of 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.
More information about CIPA can be found at the USAC website: http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step06/cipa.aspx and at the FCC website: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/childrens-internet-protection-act
Here are some common questions related to CIPA and the answers.
Q: If a library designates certain computers only accessible by adult library patrons, do these computers need to be filtered ? Answer: Yes, all computers in the library need to have filtering enabled. It is possible for an adult library patron, to ask that filtering be turned off for legitimate reasons, in which case filtering can be turned off for the required period of time.
Q: Computers dedicated for staff use only, do these computers need to be filtered ? Answer: Yes, these computers need to have filtering enabled. Again, an adult can ask that filtering be removed for legitimate reasons, in which case, filtering can be removed for the required period of time.
You should note that per the guidelines at the USAC CIPA page, an applicant that applies for E-rate funds for the first time – and thus has never before applied for E-rate funds, does not need to be fully compliant to CIPA in year 1, rather, should certify that it is taking actions in year 1 to being fully compliant in year 2. This is a key point for those applicants that have never before applied for E-rate and wish to receive E-rate funds. The USAC CIPA website provides the definitions of year 1, year 2 and gives examples of what it means to be taking actions in year 1 to being fully compliant in year 2.
For a school or library only seeking funding for service or equipment that relates to the category 1 telecommunications service, for example, a point to point link only, with no access to the public internet, CIPA compliance is not required. For the public Internet category 1 service and all category 2 services CIPA compliance is required.