Lawfully surfing the Net: Disabling public library Internet filters to avoid more lawsuits in the United States

Mary Minow


As the 1 July 2004 E–rate deadline approaches, many U.S. public libraries are scrambling to understand the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in July 2003. Of paramount importance are disabling policies that must be administered without significant delay. The Court and the FCC have given little guidance on this issue, leaving it to the libraries to establish norms and weather future lawsuits. To minimize the risk of an "as–applied" lawsuit, the safest position is one that minimizes overblocking and maximizes the ease of disabling the filter (or TPM) for adults, and unblocking for children.

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