Library Internet Filtering
As required of any school or library which receives E-Rate or other federal grant funding for Internet access, the Beauregard Parish Library filters access according to the requirements of Child Internet Protection Act.
What CIPA Requires:
Schools and libraries subject to CIPA may not receive the discounts offered by the E-Rate program unless they certify that they have an Internet safety policy and technology protection measures in place. An Internet safety policy must include technology protection measures to block or filter Internet access to pictures that: (a) are obscene, (b) are child pornography, or (c) are harmful to minors, for computers that are accessed by minors.
Schools and libraries subject to CIPA are required to adopt and implement a 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) restricting minors’ access to materials harmful to them.
The law states that a library must have a TPM (Technology Protection Measure) in place "with respect to any of its computers with Internet access [emphasis added]." Even Internet-connected computers located in administrative areas not accessible to the public must still have TPMs. An increasingly popular option is allowing patron-owned computers to access the Internet via the library's wireline or wireless network. In this regard, it is reasonable to assume that CIPA's phrase "its computers" refers to a library's PCs, not patron-owned computers. The law does not address the question of laptops brought in by staff and patrons nor patron or staff owned PC's connected by modem, but a consensus has emerged that these need not be blocked or filtered.
CIPA does not require the blocking or filtering of text.
The law states that any authorized staff may disable the TPM to allow Internet access for lawful purposes. In the E-rate section of CIPA the disabling provision applies only to adults (age 17 or older).
The law states that the Internet TPM must protect against visual depictions outlawed by the legislation. No TPM is 100% effective in preventing all such access. In its CIPA regulations, the FCC declined to further define the TPM requirements or to adopt any type of definition or certification on how effective a TPM must be, beyond the general "protect" language in the law. Thus, a vendor's claim that its TPM is "CIPA compliant" or that its TPM meets CIPA requirements is of little value. In deference to local control, the FCC further noted, "We conclude that local authorities are best situated to choose which technology measures will be most appropriate for their relevant communities."
The FCC presumes that Congress did not intend to penalize libraries that act in good faith and in a reasonable manner to implement TPMs.
An authorized person may disable the blocking or filtering measure during any use by an adult to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.
CIPA does not require the tracking of Internet use by minors or adults.
The Library has had the required Internet filters in place since the passage of the CIPA. From September 2000 through July 2005, filtering was provided through 8e6 Technology's X-Stop system. In July 2005, we changed to SquidGuard. Both systems are adequate to meet the CIPA requirements. However, no filter is foolproof. Information on bypassing filtering systems is readily available to anyone who cares to search for it. Commonly used ploys to bypass filters include:
Keyword Filtering: Users get by keyword filters by breaking or otherwise changing commonly filtered words so that the filter will not recognize them. For example, a filter which should exclude the word 'violence' would allow 'vi01ence' (using the numerals zero one one) and the reader would know what word was actually intended. Adding spaces and substituting dashes for letters are also frequently used to circumvent keyword filters.
Filters based on lists: Web based businesses which deal in pornography frequently change URL's bypass the filters which are based on lists. The new URL can be passed to members in an email with no objectionable words so that it will also bypass keyword filtering.
The Library's Electronic Resources Access Policy clearly warns users that resources provided by the Library are subject to various legal restrictions and that it is the individual user, not the Library, who is responsible for insuring that his/her use of the resources does not violate any applicable law. Prior to being issued an electronic account with the Library, the patron (or parent/guardian if 17 or under) is required to sign an agreement which explains filtering and the user's responsibility for compliance with all legal restrictions. This agreement clearly warns that filtering is not foolproof.