Cyberbullying has become a growing concern in the digital age, prompting lawmakers to enact statutes that address the issue. This article will discuss the laws that are most significant in combating cyberbullying, including who sponsored them and how they work to protect individuals from this harmful behavior.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) was passed in 1986 and is one of the earliest and most significant laws addressing cyberbullying. The law aims to prevent unauthorized access to computer systems and data and to combat malicious activities such as hacking, cyberbullying, and cyberstalking. The CFAA makes it illegal to access someone else’s computer without authorization and to use someone else’s computer to bully or harass others online. The CFAA is sponsored by the US Congress.
Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
How to prevent the bullying
The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was enacted in 2000 and requires schools and libraries that receive federal funding to implement internet safety policies and technology protection measures to prevent minors from accessing harmful or inappropriate online content. The law addresses cyberbullying by requiring schools and libraries to monitor internet use to prevent and identify cyberbullying incidents. CIPA is sponsored by the US Congress.
Failure to comply with CIPA may result in the loss of federal funding. The law aims to protect minors from online predators and harmful content, including cyberbullying, by promoting responsible internet use and ensuring that schools and libraries have the tools to prevent and respond to these incidents.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was enacted in 1974 to protect the privacy of student education records. FERPA ensures that these records are kept confidential and prevents the unauthorized disclosure of information related to cyberbullying incidents. The law requires that records related to cyberbullying incidents are treated with the same level of confidentiality as other educational records. FERPA is sponsored by the US Congress.
FERPA protects the privacy rights of students and their families and prevents the unauthorized disclosure of information related to cyberbullying incidents. This law ensures that victims of cyberbullying can report incidents without fear of retaliation or breach of privacy.
Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA)
The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) were enacted in 2018 to combat sex trafficking and hold accountable individuals and websites that facilitate it through online means. These laws also make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute individuals and websites that facilitate online harassment and abuse, including cyberbullying. SESTA and FOSTA are sponsored by the US Congress.
SESTA and FOSTA enable law enforcement to target websites that enable cyberbullying and provide victims with more effective recourse. These laws aim to crack down on online sex trafficking, but they also help prevent cyberbullying by making it easier for law enforcement to prosecute those who engage in this harmful behavior.
State-level Anti-Bullying Laws
Many states have also enacted laws specifically targeting cyberbullying. These state-level anti-bullying laws aim to provide protection and recourse for victims of cyberbullying and to discourage this type of harmful behavior. For example, some states criminalize certain types of cyberbullying behavior, such as harassment, intimidation, or threatening behavior online. Other states require schools to implement policies and procedures for addressing cyberbullying, including reporting and investigation requirements. Some states also provide resources and support for victims of cyberbullying, such as counseling and other forms of assistance.