CIPA, The Children’s Internet Protection Act, and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) will be explored in this paper. These acts were created to protect children from things that pose a threat to the innocence of children throughout social media and with the use of technology.
Children thirteen years of age and younger are who the acts are supposed to cover and protect. Online companies have to make sure they’re abiding by the rules put into place by the FTC. Congress passed the Children’s Internet Protection Act, which became a federal law, to weed out offensive content on the internet (FCC, 2015).
CIPA requires all schools and public libraries to have appropriate filters, software, and protection to keep their minor users from being able to access unapproved and distasteful sites. The Cipa was passed in 2000, and its main purpose is to make sure children are protected from viewing obscene material, child pornography, and other potential threats found within the internet.
CIPA doesn’t list the specific types of filtering that one should use and is the third law Congress passed to work towards the watching of children’s access to the internet. “Kids face online predators and other inappropriate things in chat rooms, online games, pictures of teens drinking, drugs, sexual messages, and even false information about them written online before they are eighteen” (Grama, 2011). Almost every place you visit nowadays has some type of device that the internet can be accessed on, whether it be at home, at school, families houses, libraries, public places with Wi-Fi, and in work places. Many people also have cell phones through which they can access the internet as well. With technology rapidly advancing, it paves the way for new ways of living and learning, but it also poses new and advanced threats to children.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), is another congressional act that
was created due to advances in technology. Over the years the internet has served as a source for tons of information and computers became something that many people started adding to their households. This made the need of children being protected from their privacy being at risk of being invaded while using technological devices even a greater ordeal. The CIPA was created in 2000, and its purpose is to serve as protection for those thirteen years old and younger on websites that are solely for the use of children. This act requires that the owner of the website to let the user know upfront how their personal information will be used and whether or not they sell the information to third party sites or not (Rein, 2014).
An example of this act not being enforced would be a website collecting information on a child and selling it to a third party person or company, who could potentially be a predator, putting them in harm’s way. Because of the creation and implementation of COPPA, children can use the internet with ease of not wondering whether or not they’ll be a victim of cyber crimes.
The Federal Trade Commission put forth certain acts to help protect and keep children safe because of the internet being something millions use daily. The CIPA and the COPPA were both put in place to protect children on online websites. Both acts were questioned on whether or not they were constitutional.
The COPPA only pertains to the information sent over the internet for commercial reasoning, whereas CIPA requires of libraries and schools to have certain filters on their internet supplied computers and to obtain funding and discounts for computers and computer access from federal agencies. This law affected the libraries directly and their ability to provide legal information free to their consumers.
In return, the American Library Association and the Freedom to reading Foundation filed a
lawsuit to try and overturn the CIPA. On June 23, 2003, the Supreme Court, had a 6 – 3 decision that ultimately led to upholding the constitutionality of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (ALA, 2000).
COPPA and CIPA both faced challenges, but the one that was the most difficult for them both were assuring that everyone has the appropriate filters in place and that those filters are always up to par. For each act, the difference in age requirements is that for someone thirteen and younger, stealing their identity, is a lot easier because they don’t have a huge trail for their identity. This is the reasoning behind why COPPA requires protection of the children aged thirteen and under and why CIPA requires filters for children seventeen and under, due to the host of predators on the internet.
The main opposition between COPPA and CIPA is the fact that CIPA is implemented in schools and libraries, whereas COPPA is not. I have the belief that eventually the law will change and will be in some type of accordance with the other. Both will eventually require that institutions for children and adults carry the same rules and guidelines so that it will fully protect our children and not just half way or in some aspects of life.