In 2008, Congress passed the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act that updated the Children’s Internet Protection Act known as CIPA. The FCC released an Order today to add language to their rules to reflect the statutory language. Beginning with Funding Year 2012, that starts July 1, 2012, applicants will need to certify they have updated Internet Safety Policies that addresses these issues.
Here are highlights of the Order:
- The Order adds a certification provision that a school’s Internet safety policy must provide for the education of minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response;
- The Order clarifies that although a school’s Internet safety policy may include the development and use of educational materials, the policy itself does not have to include such materials;
- E-rate applicants who receive Internet access or internal connections must certify on its FCC Form 486 or FCC Form 479, beginning with funding year 2012, that it has updated its Internet safety policy;
- The Form 486 and 479 do not need to be amended because the existing language already incorporates a certification of compliance with all of the statutory requirements. The instructions to these forms will be revised to list each requirement individually, including the requirements listed in this Order;
- The Order adds a rule provision requiring a local public notice and a hearing or meeting to address any newly adopted Internet safety policies pursuant to CIPA. This requirement only applies to an entity that has no previous Internet safety policy or did not provide public notice and a hearing or meeting when it adopted its Internet safety policy.
The FCC recognizes that there are some open questions regarding CIPA as it pertains to portable devices and has indicated they will seek public comment in a separate proceeding.