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.

The first question I had was how did they know? I had my privacy level set so high that it didn’t show anything. My only explanation for it was that other vigilante organizations out there were looking for me on a daily basis as I had proof of this is other areas of my life. So I assumed they reported me.

I let it go and moved on without Facebook but it does always bug me once in a while because I have to find out from other friends what my siblings are up to. or to see photos of my nephews etc. Anyway I guess the ignorant question I have is this… How can courts make rulings like this for specific states when Facebook is a private company and can exclude whom ever they like? Are there some rights I’m missing or not aware of?

As much as I don’t want to give anymore of my time to someone like Chris Kelly (even though he is not currently associated with Facebook) who funded prop 35, I know I’ve missed out on many networking opportunities for employment and still just feel left out of every single social conversation I have. If I had a dime for every time I’ve had to say “No i’m not on Facebook” and lie about why..i’d be quite rich

My offense did not happen through a social networking site, and I’ve been through 5 years of mandated counseling and probation and have been free of that for over a year.

I’d love to hear if anyone has any thoughts on my question though!
Thanks so much.

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 shaming human beings for past mistakes. Thanks for sharing this article CARSOL.

DZ that was fantastic info
thank you!