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IN: Facebook Sex Offenders Ban Ruled Unconstitutional By Indiana Court

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana law that bans registered sex offenders from using Facebook and other social networking sites that can be accessed by children is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago overturned a federal judge’s decision upholding the law, saying the state was justified in trying to protect children but that the “blanket ban” went too far by restricting free speech. The 2008 law “broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communications to minors,” the judges wrote. Full Article

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I’m a resident of California and I was on Facebook from 2008 to 2010. I kept in touch with family and friends. When i went to log in one day I discovered that Facebook had disabled my account. Upon looking closely at the terms and conditions, the website does state the following….. **Registration and Account Security: -You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender. -If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission. http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms The first question I had was how did they know? I had my privacy level set so… Read more »

I think the issue comes down to the difference between individual rights and the appropriate (or not) use of governmental power concerning individual rights. The government can not pass a law that takes away an individual’s constitutional rights, such as free speech. So for IN to pass a law like this gets overturned because that level of government overstepped their power and violated the rights of individuals. But Facebook is not the government. They are just a business that provides a service. this gives them more leeway. The law states a business may not discriminate or deny service based on… Read more »

The California statue, to my knowledge, makes it unlawful for a business to deny service to any registrant. While that may hold water when the company private, the IPO should increase face book’s requirement to adhere to laws against discrimination. The statute also claims to prevent discrimination against registrants according to general laws in place: “any protected group of individuals” and leaves it vague, as these laws generally tend to do. I understand these laws have been analyzed and are found to protect politicians and police organizations more than they protect the public as they claim to do. They serve… Read more »

I was very shocked and happy to see this article today. I’ve read articles where Texas, New Jersey, and New Mexico are trying to justify their up and coming restrictions for registrants online by using Indiana as an example. I didn’t know that the Indiana Law was being heard on a higher appellate after they’d won last time. Does anyone know of challenges to the Louisiana Law declaring that registrants must State that they are a “Sex Offender” on social networking sites? I really hope so as that is the true spirit of the scarlet letter (Primitive). It’s all about… Read more »

Texas has a law pending that would force registrants to expose their circumstances on any social network site. My thoughts are that this violates a person’s rights against self incrimination. I don’t know enough about law to determine if this only applies in the pre-conviction phase. Exactly what are the guidelines? What if the person is barely literate; or does not posses proper grammar or usage. What then? Will the state step in and post something damaging on that person’s page? Will the company interject verbiage about danger – even if the registrant has been found to pose no risk… Read more »

DZ that was fantastic info
thank you!

DUH

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