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!


Knowledge is Freedom: CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA Fall CUE 2011


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Welcome Activity

Why are we here? (What do you want to get out of this session? And, what is our mission as educators?)

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)

Other Related Laws
Reflection Activity

What was your "ah ha" moment during this session?
Who will you empower with your new knowledge?