Glossary

Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

What is CIPA

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was enacted by the United States Congress in 2000 to restrict children’s access to obscene and harmful online content. Schools and libraries must comply with its requirements in order to remain eligible for the E-Rate discount program, which makes telecom and information technology more affordable for these organizations.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, CIPA requires schools and libraries to meet the following requirements:

  1. Internet Filtering

    Certify that they have an Internet safety policy that includes technology protection measures. An Internet safety policy must include technology protection measures applied to all computers that are accessed by minors that blocks or filter Internet access to pictures that are obscene, are child pornography, or are harmful to minors.

  2. Internet Monitoring

    Adopt and enforce a policy to monitor online activities of minors, and must provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior.

  3. Safety Policies

    Adopt and implement a policy addressing:

    • access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet;
    • the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications;
    • unauthorized access, including so-called “hacking,” and other unlawful activities by minors online;
    • unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors; and
    • restricting minors’ access to materials harmful to them.

Why CIPA is important

If you are a school or library, you now have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure a safe learning environment. Ensuring that your organization is CIPA compliant can create an additional workload on your IT staff. It is important that you find technical solutions that ensure CIPA compliance with minimal extra cost and administrative time.

How Barracuda can help

The Barracuda Web Security Gateway provides specialized capabilities that are ideal for helping schools achieve and demonstrate CIPA compliance. It makes it easy for you to establish granular web access policies for individual users or groups—for instance, to define and enforce different policies for younger students, older students, teachers, and administrative staff.

In addition, the Web Security Gateway comes with a Chrome extension that enforces security and access policies on Chromebooks—whether or not they are connected to your network. This means that students are protected even when they access the internet through their home networks or unsecured public Wi-Fi networks—and your network is protected from potential cyber threats that might otherwise infect their devices when using unsecured networks.

To learn more about how Barracuda helps K-12 organizations comply with CIPA and keep their community’s children safe, please visit our K-12 Education page. You can also download this in-depth CIPA Compliance Whitepaper about Barracuda and CIPA compliance.

Do you have more questions about CIPA? Contact us today.