CIPA, which is short for Children Internet Protection Act, is a law in the United States signed in December 2000.
CIPA has been designed and formulated keeping in mind the safeguarding of children against content on the Internet that is pornographic or explicit or objectionable.
The law had been signed off by the then President of the United States, Mr. Bill Clinton.
The law was explicitly signed to address the increasing concern over the explicit and objectionable content available on the Internet and to keep children away from such content while browsing the Internet through school or college networks.
The US government has a funding scheme for e-programs for schools and colleges across the US.
But for schools and colleges to be eligible for this scheme, they have to be CIPA compliant.
The types of categories of web content that are to be blocked under CIPA compliance are:
– Video and Image Search
– Hate and racism
– Adult content
– Swimwear & lingerie
– Alcohol & Tobacco
Schools and colleges need to make policies of internet access in such a way that the URLs that fall under any of the above categories should be blocked.
Either they can invest in a software-based solution installed on each system or a central server or a hardware-based solution that can enforce the CIPA policy over the perimeter of the network.
Schools and colleges in the US that wish to meet CIPA requirements to receive funding for Internet programs must maintain a record of all Internet activity and monitor minors’ online activity.
Only monitoring needs to be performed, and ‘tracking’ of activities is not mandatory.
Being CIPA compliant also enables the schools and colleges to be protected at a much higher level from legal lawsuits of the parents who might be concerned with the content their children have access to while using the Internet at the school or college.