NY: Social media ban ends for some sex offenders in NYS

 Source: news10.com 1/24/22

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — People on the sex offender registry in New York State can now access the internet and social media platforms without restrictions, except in some cases. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), Rutgers Law School Constitutional Rights Clinic, and Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York secured a settlement on January 24 ending the ban.

The original Jones et al. v. Stanford complaint was filed against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and New York Board of Parole in March 2020. The complainants challenged New York’s Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) and DOCCS Directive 9201.

In 2008, e-STOP was put in place by former Governor Andrew Cuomo while he was Attorney General. The act originally targeted social media platforms like MySpace, AIM and Facebook to keep sex offenders off of those sites. According to NYCLU, e-STOP has since expanded its definition of social media to include websites with profiles, log-ins and subscription services.

The DOCCS website currently says e-STOP applies for those on the sex offender registry if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • The victim of the offense was under the age of 18 at the time
  • They have been designated a Sex Offender Registry Level 3 sex offender
  • The internet was used to facilitate the commission of the crime

According to the amended Jones et al. v. Stanford complaint, Directive 9201 completely banned all internet access for sex offenders under community supervision. This complaint was filed in June 2020.

A major focus of the complaint was that sex offenders who did not use of the internet for the offense were also banned from using the internet. The complaint emphasizes what a vital part of life social media has become and the ban is a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

In September, a preliminary injunction was put in place, blocking the state from imposing social media restrictions on people convicted of sex offenses who did not use the internet. The approved settlement puts in place a permanent injunction.

“This is a crucial settlement that underscores the reality that in the 21st Century the internet and social media are prerequisites for speech and participation in society,” said Daniel Lambright, senior staff attorney at the NYCLU. “With this settlement in place, people convicted of sex offenses that did not involve the use of internet or social media will no longer be banished en masse from an essential resource that helps them reintegrate into society by staying in touch with family, searching for jobs and housing, and reading the news.”

Read the full article

The full settlement can be read on the NYCLU website.

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Although it’s an important first step towards the right direction it’s still not enough to restore a citizen’s “essential resource that helps them reintegrate into society by staying in touch with family, searching for jobs and housing, and reading the news.”

New York has ways to go in overcoming its fear and paranoia of Registrants that citizens feel through their ignorance and that politicians exploit to get more votes.

Well…not just New York…

I just realized Cuomo is no longer in office to keep pushing for legislation to put everyone away.

Anyway…. I’m still stuck on the registry. Although I have changed country and have been able to get another visa here I’m still worried one day I’ll find Marshals banging on my door.

I thought the supreme court in packinham lifted this curse already?

How ironic that Andrew Cuomo may have to register as a sex offender for his conduct that led to his resignation from Governor of New York. The “justice” system, and pretty much the whole government, is run by a bunch of corrupt, hypocritical, incompetents (and cowards).

I’m confused, even after reading through all the linked information.

Did the restrictions apply to just those on supervision or to all registrants?

And now, after the ruling, to whom does it apply?

The E-Stop law violates the First Amendment. “ Yes, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. In June 2016, the Court struck down a North Carolina law that barred registered sex offenders from using social networking websites. The court ruled that the law unconstitutionally limited offenders’ free speech rights. (Packingham v. North Carolina, Case No. 15–1194 (June 19, 2017).)”