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Weekly News Digest

January 22, 2001 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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ALA Votes to Legally Challenge Filtering Law

The executive board of the American Library Association (ALA; http://www.ala.org) has voted to initiate legal action challenging the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which was signed into law on December 21, 2000. The decision came after more than a week of intense discussion among leaders and members during the association's annual Midwinter Meeting held in Washington, DC. The ALA contends the act is unconstitutional and creates an infringement of First Amendment protections. [See the December 26, 2000 Weekly News Digest at http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/wnd001226.htm]

The federal rider, which was attached to the Labor HHS Education Appropriations Bill, mandates that libraries and schools install content filters on all computers that offer Internet access as a prerequisite to receiving federal grant funds. Funding sources include the e-rate program, the Library Services and Technology Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. All three programs help ensure schools and libraries provide access to the resources communities need to thrive in the Information Age. CIPA runs counter to these federal efforts to close the Digital Divide for all Americans.

According to the ALA and other opponents of the legislation, no filtering software successfully differentiates constitutionally protected speech from illegal speech on the Internet. Even the federal commission appointed to study child safety on the Internet concluded that filters are not effective in blocking all content that some may find objectionable, but they do block much useful and constitutionally protected information. The ALA is researching and exploring its options in preparation for litigation. No further information is available at this time.

Source: American Library Association



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