Public Policy Updates
"Just as we assume a responsibility to guard our young people up to
a certain age from the possible harmful effects of alcohol and tobacco,
so do I believe we have a right and a responsibility to protect them from
the even more harmful effects of exposure to smut and pornography. We can
and must frame legislation that will accomplish this purpose without endangering
freedom of speech and the press."
- Ronald Reagan
January 5, 1967
National Public Policy efforts aimed at protecting children online.
Kids Name Act of 2001
- Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000 (CIPA)
CIPA requires public schools and libraries receiving federal
e-rate funds to use a portion of those funds to filter their
Internet access. They must filter out obscenity on library computer
terminals used by adults and both obscenity and harmful-to-minors
materials on terminals used by minor children.
- Child Online Protection Act of 1998 (COPA)
COPA makes it a crime for commercial websites to make pornographic
material that is "harmful to minors" available to juveniles.
The purpose of COPA is to protect children from instant access
to pornographic "teaser images" on porn syndicate Web pages.
This much needed legislation requires pornographers to take
a credit card number, adult verification number, or access code
to restrict children's access to pornographic pictures, and
allow access to consenting adults.
The ACLU challenged the constitutionality of COPA in federal
court. The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments
on COPA on November 28, 2001 to decide whether the Act is constitutional.
Statute. More on COPA:
COPA Commission, a congressionally appointed panel, was
mandated by the Child Online Protection Act, which was approved
by Congress in October 1998. The primary purpose of the Commission
is to "identify technological or other methods that will help
reduce access by minors to material that is harmful to minors
on the Internet."
The Commission released its final
report to Congress on Friday, October 20, 2000.
The Report advised Congress that it could take steps to protect
children online, by dedicating more resources to the prosecution
of Internet obscenity and child pornography. The Report also
identified a number of technologies that may satisfy the affirmative
defense requirements of the Act. One of the suggestions supported
by all members of the Commission was the recommendation to educate
America's parents about what measures are available for protecting
- Child Protection and Sexual Predator Punishment Act
This law increases protections for children from sexual predators.
This Act has two central provisions: The first requires Internet
Service Providers (ISPs) to report evidence of child pornography
and abuse violations to law enforcement, and the second establishes
a "zero-tolerance" policy toward the possession of child pornography.
The possession law allows prosecution for illegal possession
of even one item of child pornography.
- Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 (CPPA)
CPPA was enacted to close a loophole in the nation's child pornography
laws. The loophole would have allowed pedophiles to use new
technologies to create computer generated child pornography,
which could have been legal to possess, distribute, and produce,
if the government could not identify or prove that the child
depicted in the pornography was an actual child.
CPPA supporters argue that both real and computer generated
images of child pornography are used in the commission of child
sexual molestation and are equally inciting to pedophiles and
seductive to child victims.
Since its enactment in 1996, CPPA has been challenged in federal
court by the pornography industry and the ACLU. The United States
Supreme Court heard oral arguments on October 30, 2001 to decide
whether the Act is constitutional. More
- Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA)
CDA was the first legislative effort to protect children from
pornography on the Internet. Although the United States Supreme
Court struck the indecency provisions of the CDA in ACLU v.
Reno, the obscenity amendments survived - an important victory
for the protection of children and families online.
- Legal organizations who fight for the protection of children
from the dangers of pornography and sexual predators: