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Action: Legislation and Policymaking

The Online Policy Group provides the following collection of legislation and policymaking status reports so that readers may learn more about online policy issues and take action as they see fit.

For now, the Online Policy Group tracks only legislation, policymaking, and court cases related to proposals requiring use of Internet blocking technology, such as in public schools and public libraries.

If you know of any updates or news stories related to blocking technology legislation or policymaking, please email them to

Here is the legislation, including media coverage and links to organizations and related publications.

Internet Blocking Legislation and Policymaking

*   United States 2000: Childrens' Internet Protection Act
McCain's legislation to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to make an elementary school, secondary school, or library ineligible to receive or retain universal service assistance under such Act unless it certifies to the Federal Communications Commission that it has selected and installed (or will install) a technology for computers with Internet access which filters or blocks material deemed harmful to minors, United States (December 15, 2000)

Recent Legislation

Media Coverage

*   Library Decision for Unfiltered Net Access May Cost Federal Dollars
The City Library Board's approval of a proposal that allows some computers unfiltered Internet access might mean the loss of thousand of federal dollars, Associated Press via USA Today (November 19, 2003)

*   India Bans a Yahoo Group
The Indian government has banned a Yahoo group, alleging that it has anti-India content, CNET (September 23, 2003)

*   Porn Filters Found to Be Ineffective Tools
The Borough Assembly will soon vote on whether to force the public library to install expensive, ineffective Internet censorship filters on all its public and staff computers, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (September 6, 2003)

*   Appeals Court: Vermont Law Can't Stop Internet Sites That Discuss Sexuality
Citing the First Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled that a Vermont law cannot stop a nonprofit organization and the American Civil Liberties Union from publishing information about sexuality on the Internet, Associated Press via KCBS (August 28, 2003)

*   Minn. Librarians Settle Internet Porn Case
The city's public library will consider using Internet filters to restrict patrons' access to online porn, and will pay $435,000 to a dozen librarians who said easy access to the images resulted in a hostile work environment, the librarians' lawyer said Friday, Associated Press via Yahoo! News (August 15, 2003)

Recent Coverage

Organizations and Related Publications

*   New First Report: Net Filters in Libraries
Internet Filters and Public Libraries by David L. Sobel (OPG Advisory Board member) is a new First Report now available from the First Amendment Center, First Amendment Center (November 12, 2003)

*   Children’s Internet Protection Act Study of Technology Protection Measures
On August 15, 2003, NTIA released a report pursuant to section 1703 of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), Pub.L.No. 106-554, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A-336 (2000), evaluating the effectiveness of technology protection measures and safety policies used by educational institutions, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (August 15, 2003)

*   "Pay as You Surf?" or "Bringing Home the Gold to Cable and Phone Monopolies"
Amazon's Misener and his Coalition of Broadband Users and Innovators, which includes Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, Disney, and others, are urging the FCC to adopt a safeguard that would prevent cable or phone giants from "impair [ing] consumer access to Internet content", Center for Digital Democracy (July 28, 2003)

*   San Francisco Reacts to Supreme Court LGBTIQQ Rights Ruling
A broad coalition of San Francisco community organizations has called an event to protest or celebrate, depending on the outcome of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Texas sodomy statute, QueerNet Project of Online Policy Group (June 12, 2003)

*   Declaration on Freedom of Communication on the Internet
Among other points, the declaration states: "In order to ensure protection against online surveillance and to enhance the free expression of information and ideas, member states should respect the will of users of the Internet not to disclose their identity", Committee of Ministers, Council of Europe (May 28, 2003)

Recent Publications

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