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NC: Supreme Court bars registered sex offenders from some social media sites

he N.C. Supreme Court has upheld a state law prohibiting registered sex offenders from using Facebook or other social networking sites that minors can join.

In the split opinion issued Friday, the justices reversed an N.C. Court of Appeals ruling that found the 2008 law too broad and vague, and therefore unconstitutional. Full Article

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  1. Eric Knight

    Bad news from North Carolina Supreme Court. They upheld a state law that prevents registered citizens from using most sites like Facebook and others in a razor-thin split decision.

    http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article43460847.html

  2. G4Change

    This is clearly a violation of the 1st Amendment. This is insane!!!

  3. mike t

    Can the defendant turn right around and challenge this in a federal court? There are a lot more facets to Facebook than simply using it as a means for hooking up with teenagers. It has become a virtual passport to communicate and comment on myriad websites. Without an account free speech is chilled, as You cannot comment on most news forums without a Facebook account anymore. It’s a case of narrow-minded judges appealing to pop culture disenfranchisement-ism of registrants.

    • JohnDoeUtah

      They can appeal to SCOTUS.

      • Nicholas Maietta

        And if they do, wouldn’t apply to ALL states?

        That’d be worth a collective effort to ensure this happens.

    • td777

      Considering that Facebook doesn’t allow registered citizens in the first place, does this really matter? Facebook is a company, which generally means they can refuse service to those registered if they so choose.

      One might also note that, while Facebook policies prevent a registered citizen from using their site, as a publicly traded company, they can’t prevent a registered citizen from owning stock…even in North Carolina!

      • Timmr

        Facebook does not own the Internet. It is allowed to use it I presume, like radio stations use the air waves, under license. Like it or not, it is using the public’s electronic infrastructure, and therefore should not arbitrarily discriminate against whose infractions were not committed through use of its sites. No?

        • td777

          It’s still a business, they still have the right to allow who they choose to use their services. You can’t use eBay or Amazon freely without following their terms, correct? This is no different.

        • Timmr

          Besides minors, sites like Amazon and Ebay deny certain USES of their software, not GROUPS of people. Let them try to deny gays, communists, Democrats, people over 55, Republicans, even Christians and they would face a challenge — and lose. Because you are on the registry does not mean prima facie, that you are going to abuse other users on the site, but that is their jist.

  4. anonymously

    How does this Edmunds get away with claiming the rights of children would be violated by allowing registrants to participate in political discourse such as that of the 2015 Democratic Presidential debate on CNN just last month, which required FaceBook membership to ask questions? If he is not claiming this, then he is unduly burdening free speech. Questions to the candidates were taken directly from FaceBook at one point in the debate. Does Edmunds think registrants in North Carolina should have snailmailed their questions to the live debate on CNN? Or just shouldn’t be allowed to participate at all?

  5. jo

    This is good news in disguise. This is a one way ticket to higher court challenge and there is no way it can’t be overturned with a good attorney. Someone like the ACLU could step in here, its so high profile. The funny thing is that despite the court challenges, Facebook still does not allow registrants to have an account despite what the government says, so it’s curious to see how it all plays out. Facebook is becoming similar to a utility, like the phone, a necessity to communicate. The phone company would have a hard time banning registrants from owning a phone by saying someone could use a phone to contact minors. The more Facebook pushes to become the source for communication, which they are, the more they are destined for government regulation if they continue this ban. I had my personal account of years pulled down when an ex contacted them out of spite and “reported” me. And my business profile, which had thousands of followers and years of money spent in ads was collaterally pulled down as well. This must be challenged and stopped.

    • Eric Knight

      I don’t believe there are other state Supreme Courts that have counterbalancing rulings that would designate a split. There are several federal rulings, including the 7th and 9th circuit court, which essentially negate NC Supreme Court’s ruling, but this is not technically a “split.” He COULD take it to the federal level in North Carolina, but I’m not sure the implications of doing so, especially since he will now be sentenced and have to spend the next few years in prison for his original offense.

  6. nvmike

    My favorite part of the article is if you want to commwnt, you have to log in and do it through Facebook

    • Timmr

      Now if some North Carolinian registrants try to comment on this article in the only way available, they face prison time. Now if that is not an abridgement of free speech, then pigs really can fly.

      • ab

        Watches in awe as pig magically glides off steep cliff and gracefully floats on air in an impressive downward direction at high velocity. Yep…pigs do fly.

        PS: this ruling is ridiculous and hopefully will be proven to be unconstitutional by the United States supreme court in the future along with the Facebook policy of not letting sex offenders use it.

  7. anonymously

    td777 said “It’s still a business, they still have the right to allow who they choose to use their services.”

    So long as they are not basing their denial of service on race, religion, ethnicity, status as a California registrant, etc.. If they do use these illegal criteria, they can and should face lawsuits. In PC 290, it’s spelled out that 25k is available for each registrant violated by FaceBooks illegal Terms and Conditions. 100k registrants multiplied by 25k is 2.5 billion FaceBook could be liable for. 2.5 Billion is still a mere drop in the bucket compared to how much money it would take to buy a majority of shares of FaceBook stock, to then be able to bring FaceBook in line with California law due to their criminal Terms and Conditions.

    You can’t use eBay or Amazon freely without following their terms, correct? This is no different.”

    eBay and Amazons terms are not in violation of California PC 290, like FaceBook’s is. In North Carolina and other states where the FaceBook-to-Prison pipeline has been installed by Kelly/FaceBook, breaking the FaceBook terms and conditions carries a punishment of prison time for being in violation of failure to report laws. Usage of eBay and Amazon in a non-sanctioned use which violates their terms but does not break any other laws does not carry with it a punishment such as arrest and likely prison time, as do the FaceBook-to-prison cyber-Nazi Chris Kelly laws such as requiring registrants to report their internet identifers to law enforcement and the banning of registrants from social networks whose membership is required to be able to participate politically in todays society.

  8. anonymously

    I am happy that one major candidate from both major political parties has made stopping corporate inversion part of their platform. Corporate inversion is when a corporation like FaceBook makes a phony offshore headquarters to shield them from paying taxes, In FaceBook’s case, they set up their bogus headquarters in Ireland and only pay 2% on international profits. FaceBooks real headquarters is in California. In 2007, they only employed 350 people. Now they employ under 10,000 people. Yet still for the exorbitant profit they rake in, they don’t employ that many people in California. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both mentioned stopping corporate inversion as part of their platform. FaceBook is ripping off and has ripped off the American taxpayer, which made Kelly rich and able to use that money, to attack the US Constitution.

  9. anonymously

    So let me get this straight…the stopping/chilling of free speech, which is tangible with real examples such as registrants in NC not being able to ask questions of the candidates in real time in both Democratic and Republican Presidential debates, which violates the US Constitution’s 1st Amendment is “incidental” to stopping the conduct of non-existent and therefore unsubstantiable sex crimes on or using the internet by registrants. This Barney Fife head of the NC Supreme Court is saying that real injustice is incidental to useless and harmful measures that purport to reign in conditions where evidence for their existence is based on unsubstantiated fantasy and propaganda.

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