Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

57 Federal Communications Law Journal 555 (2005)


Congress introduced the Children's Internet Protection Act ("CIPA") in order to filter obscene and indecent material in response to a perceived threat to members of the public, specifically minors, who are exposed to pornographic material on the Internet. The provisions of CIPA have provoked tension between two competing interests: protecting minors from cyberpornography, and safeguarding First Amendment rights. This Note argues that the Supreme Court erred by upholding the constitutionality of CIPA. As a result of the Supreme Court's decision, the nation's youth will have restricted access to constitutionally protected information. The Court improperly relied on a provision of the Act permitting adults to request that library filters be disabled upon request. Part II of this Note provides background on CIPA and the litigation surrounding it. The decisions of both the district court and the Supreme Court are analyzed in detail. Part III explains what an Internet filter is and how filters work in the context of CIPA. Part IV identifies the burdens that libraries face as a consequence of CIPA. Part V recognizes several less restrictive alternatives to the implementation of CIPA. Part VI expounds upon the substantial effect that CIPA will have on today's youth. The Note concludes by arguing that CIPA simply does not accomplish what it was designed to do.