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National

KY: Judge strikes down Kentucky’s social media ban for sex offenders

UPDATED – Kentucky’s registered sex offenders have the constitutional right to use Facebook, Twitter and other online social media, a federal judge ruled Friday. Full Article

Related

Plaintiff’s discussion on reddit.com (added 10/21)

Opinion

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  1. G4Change

    Another one bites the dust!!!!

  2. AlexO

    I’m confused. They did another judge have to rule on something SCOTUS already said isn’t legal? I thought a SCOTUS ruling became national and binding?

    • G4Change

      Nothing ever seems to be national and binding when it comes to helping us. However, when it comes to destroying our lives and the lives of our families, it seems to be national and instantaneous. Sucks!!!

    • AJ

      @AlexO:
      Sort of. SCOTUS struck down instances that match NC’s law. So what happens is States argue that theirs isn’t as restrictive, or it’s materially different, etc. Packingham didn’t yield an outright, “thou shalt not ban RCs from social media sites,” directive; it instead established that the State must narrowly tailor any sort of restriction to achieve the stated and intended outcome. As the article points out, “Kentucky…told [the court] that the social media ban was a narrow restriction that should be considered constitutional.”
      —–
      I really like the one comment someone posted: “There is a very simple solution to all of this….Ban Children from the internet….they have no constitutional right to be on a chat site as long as they are under 18…..we don’t let them into bars or smoke etc etc…there won’t be a problem with kids on the Internet if you ban them from it. I’d (sic) it’s that dangerous for kids to be on the Internet why don’t we protect them like we do from other adult activities.” A valid point, but one I don’t foresee gaining any traction…ever.
      =====
      I think it’s not too far off before the Internet in general (and perhaps even Twitter, FB, etc. specifically) gets classified, if not by a legislature then by the judiciary, as a public utility (https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Public+Utilities). The more one is required to conduct life online and the more public officials and even private enterprises use FB as their primary means of communication, the more easily the utility argument can be made. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone isn’t formulating a lawsuit out there somewhere, based on Packingham, to attack FB’s ban certain demographic groups (not just RCs). SCOTUS has already established social media as effectively being the new public square…and yet the owners of said public square are hindering certain groups (in an RC’s case, outright preventing) from their First Amendment rights of assembly, speech, and petitioning their Government. (I cannot engage in public discussion with others–or the official herself/himself–on my Rep’s/Sen’s/Gov’s FB page or Twitter account. I can listen, but cannot speak.) At some point it will tip, of that I’m sure.

      • Tim L

        KEEP YOUR KIDS OUT OF THE STREET! That way they won’t get run over!

      • JoeM

        Aren’t phone services and cable TV already regulated “public utilities” in a sense? You can’t just go build a cell tower on your property. You have to have an FCC license and local approval. Cable is or has been regulated down to the local level forever. Think about how cable services had to have a public access channel where damn near any kind of weird show could be shown. If people have First Amendment based mandatory access to the cable “airwaves” why should it be any different for access t internet service PROVIDED BY CABLE COMPANIES at a minimum. It is not a huge jump from that to requiring that social media companies that use the “cable internet” for free to make money can’t ban you. Social media has, by its own business model, become the “public access channel”

        • David Kennerly, Living in a kind of Tupperware

          The “jump” is that social media companies would have to be declared to be a “common carrier” for them to be regulated at the level that would compel them to offer membership to all people.

          Personally, as much as I hate FB, I would hate the government’s regulation of it even more. We have to consider how those regulations might also interfere with the right to assembly and to speech, too. That’s not a path I want to see it go down.

          Besides, FB is not an immovable boulder like “Plymouth Rock.” There are no guarantees that it will survive into the future as a market-dominant force.

          Right now, FaceBook is the least of our worries. Government is the greatest of our worries.

      • Michael

        “I really like the one comment someone posted: “There is a very simple solution to all of this….Ban Children from the internet …”

        You know. I have always said the same. Where the hell are parents at? Do they allow their kids to hang around bars, strip clubs and heroin dens? Shouldn’t the parent bear some responsibility here? I didn’t allow my son to have social media accounts before he turned 14. Which was about the time he got a smartphone. They don’t *need” either.

        ….

  3. Double A

    Does Facebook or any other social media websites still have a ban on registrants? I remember hearing a few registrants had their profiles shut down because of Facebook’s policy. Have things changed?

    • jo

      This is a feel good ruling because Facebook will ban you anyway, so what is the point?

      • David Kennerly, Child-Resistant Package

        The point is that it is no longer enforced by law. That is a huge “point.”

      • Michael

        How are they going to ban you? Are they conducting background checks on all of it’s members? For that matter, Facedbook could probably be sued in some states for discriminating against someone who is or was required to register. Do they ban people convicted of domestic violence or other violent crimes? Newsflash!! There are people committing LIVE murders on Facedbook. If a business can be sued for not baking a cake for a same-sex couple, then why not a “sex offender?”

        ….

        • AlexO

          Being and RC is not a protected class which is why FB can ban us without recourse. What they can’t do is bring legal action against you simply for having an account. They may or may not do active cross-checking themselves, but I personally know of at least 2 people who have had their accounts shut down with the explicit reason being due to their RC status and that being against their ToS. I have no idea how they obtain this data though. AJ and others have stated the government actually sends them RC information periodically to cross-check against. Someone can also report you.

          I wouldn’t expect anything to legally change in this realm until the government declares an RC to be a protected class, protected against any and all forms of discrimination. But good luck with all of that.

    • David Kennerly, Tamper-Proof Package

      “How can I report a convicted sex offender?
      Convicted sex offenders aren’t allowed to use Facebook. If you’ve encountered an account that may belong to a convicted sex offender, please report it to us.”

      https://www.facebook.com/help/210081519032737?helpref=uf_permalink

    • Gabriel

      FB is the only SM platform I’m aware of that specifically mentions RCs in their TOS.

  4. mike r

    I like that AJ, if it’s so damn dangerous then ban kids from the internet, like you said, they have no constitutional rights to the internet.

  5. stephen

    FB can still take you to court if you Violate their terms of Service.

    • Michael

      No they can’t.

      https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/07/court-violating-terms-service-not-crime-bypassing

      I’ve had an account on there for over a decade. Them bitches at Facedbook can suck it.

      ….

      • CR

        I don’t use FB, but as far as I know, they don’t actively screen their customers to see if they are registered citizens, or “convicted sex offenders”.

        I think the risk is that if someone reports to FB that you are a “convicted sex offender” they will kick you off.

        FB doesn’t appeal to me, but I know it is important to many people. I hope you get to continue to use FB for as long as you like.

  6. David Kennerly, 1st Amendment Absolutist

    On what basis? It’s not going to happen. It would be a huge mistake for them to do that. Imagine the issues that would come up in court.

    • stephen

      Terms of service are Equal to a Contract. Just like No trespassing signs Protect property Owners.
      Or How about No shoes, No shirt no Service posted on store Doors. Watch what the Supreme Court rules on the Bakery that refused to make a cake for the Gay Couple.

      • David Kennerly, 1st Amendment Absolutist

        Signing up for FB as a Registrant is not sue-worthy. All they can do is suspend them as users.

      • AJ

        @stephen:
        I agree with David Kennerly on this. I don’t think FB would bother, it’s much easier, cheaper and faster to just block and ban. It’s probably in the TOS what the recourse is for violating. I’m sure it includes the ability to sue, but in reality I’m guessing FB wouldn’t bother unless you keep doing it.

        As for the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before SCOTUS, it has nothing to do with the customers being gay. Had the heterosexual parents or friends of one (or both) of the men asked to have the cake decorated for the gay wedding, he still would have refused his artistic services. In other words, *regardless* who came in asking for his decorating services for the cake at the event, he would have turned them down due to the event. Therefore, he was not refusing service to a person, he was refusing to contribute to an event with which he patently disagrees. The event has no civil rights, fundamental rights, liberty interests, or anything else. I foresee this case being akin to Wooley v Maynard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wooley_v._Maynard) and/or WV Bd of Ed v Barnette* (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Virginia_State_Board_of_Education_v._Barnette), which precludes the State from compelling speech, and from speaking against one’s deeply held religious beliefs. Oh and btw, the case is about his *decorating* a cake, not about baking or selling a cake. Even the suing couple admit he willingly agreed to sell them anything in the shop. So no, he did not refuse to bake a cake for the gay couple, or anyone else. I highly recommend you read the details of the case, then consider the Free Speech (compelled speech) aspect of it, not to mention the Exercise of Religion aspect. Both are fundamental rights from the First Amendment, and therefore subject to strict scrutiny.

        *This case is particularly important for anyone wanting to discuss the current issue of athletes taking a knee. Can the NFL “fire” or fine players? Maybe. Can HS and college students lose privileges? Maybe, but doubtful if it’s with a public school, college or university.

        • Michael

          SCOTUS has listed the Masterpiece Cakeshop case for 14 conferences. As far as it stands. and as far as Colorado and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Masterpiece Cakeshop is guilty of discrimination.

          ….

          • AJ

            @Michael:
            What’s your point? The number of re-listings is of no consequence. Masterpiece was granted on June 26, 2017, and scheduled for oral argument on December 5, 2017.

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