Within the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act that was signed into law on March 11, 2009, is an earmark to i-SAFE, Inc. of Carlsbad, California. The $300,000 earmark, requested by Congressman Don Young of Alaska, is to help the company expand its services and provide data it collects to the FBI, local law enforcement, the US Patent & Trademark Office, as well as firms such as the RIAA and ASCAP. The earmark declaration indicates that part of the funds will be used to develop an “E-Rate Certification Compliance Package” related to the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act.
A section of the Broadband Data Improvement Act, called the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, created additional certifications that schools receiving E-rate funding must make in regards to their Internet safety policy which includes “educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.”
To date, the FCC and USAC have not issued guidance about how and when these new certifications will be implemented into the E-rate program. The Act does not indicate that schools may have to rely on a third party to assess if the requirements for these new certifications have been met.