Knowledge is Freedom: CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA Explained Succinctly

Learn important facts: CIPA requires schools have a procedure for disabling a filter, COPPA doesn't prevent students from using email, & FERPA allows web services to be considered school officials!


Slides


Knowledge is Freedom: CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA


Disclaimer


The information contained in this web site does not constitute legal advice and we are not acting as your attorney. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site and its associated sites. The law changes very rapidly and, accordingly, we do not guarantee that any information in this presentation or in the accompanying web sites are accurate and up to date. Additionally, the law differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and is subject to interpretation of courts located in each county. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case and the tools and information provided to you may not be an appropriate fit in your case. Nothing that you read or is provided on this web site should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.

Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

  • FCC Summary
  • Judicial Interpretation of CIPA's Unblocking Provision: According to the Supreme Court, a library that is required to filter can either disable the filter or unblock a site in response to an adult patron request to do so. Justice Rehnquist stated "[a]ssuming that such erroneous blocking presents constitutional difficulties, any such concerns are dispelled by the ease with which patrons may have the filtering software disabled. When a patron encounters a blocked site, he need only ask a librarian to unblock it or (at least in the case of adults) disable the filter." FCC Order 03-188 subsequently instructed libraries complying with CIPA to implement a procedure for unblocking the filter upon request by an adult.
  • FCC Order 03-188: In upholding CIPA, the Supreme Court emphasized “the ease with which patrons may have the filtering software disabled,” and that a patron who encounters a blocked site ... need only ask a librarian to unblock it (or at least in the case of adults) disable the filter.” The plurality also highlighted the government’s acknowledgment at oral argument that “a patron would not ‘have to explain ... why he was asking a site to be unblocked or the filtering to be disabled.’”

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
  • FTC FAQs (Cached)
  • Note: COPPA applies only to commercial entities, not non-profits or schools. The burden is on the commercial entity.
  • Note: Even so, schools excel at collecting "verifiable parent consent" - we call this permission slips.
  • Note: "COPPA allows... schools to act as agents for parents in providing consent for the online collection of students’ personal information within the school context."
  • Note: "COPPA does not apply to the website operator’s collection of personal information from participating children where a school has contracted with an operator to collect personal information from students for the use and benefit of the school."

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Also: Schools are NOT required by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) to block all web 2.0 sites (or to archive all student email). See also eDiscovery requirements and archiving student email.

Note: The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) applies only to Federal Agencies, but many states have similar Sunshine laws, including California's Public Records Act (PRA).

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