InformationWeek is reporting on the latest blow to the Child Online Protection Act, or COPA. COPA imposes heavy fines on libraries and schools (among other institutions) that fail to prevent children from "content harmful to minors."
If you're asking just what constitutes "harmful to minors", so did the ACLU and US courts on multiple occasions. Most recently,
A federal court on Tuesday upheld a ban on the Child Online Protection Act, saying it's too vague, overly broad, and unnecessary.
A federal district court and a federal appeals court ruled that the law violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution. In 2004, the Supreme Court upheld the decision and returned the case to the district court to determine whether technology impacted the law's constitutionality. For example, the court had to decide whether commercially available software could still block content deemed "harmful to minors."
Despite appeals by the federal government, courts and opponents continue to point out that "There are more effective, less intrusive tools available to limit what minors can access on the Internet." Content filters are our friends, folks, even if the feds aren't.