Supreme Court strikes down sex offender social media ban

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 20, 2017

Supreme Court on Monday struck down an N.C. law banning convicted sex offenders from Facebook and other social media services. The justices ruled unanimously Monday in favor of former Durham resident Lester Packingham Jr.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy emphasizes the internet's vital importance to freedom of speech.

While we now may be coming to the realization that the Cyber Age is a revolution of historic proportions, we can not appreciate yet its full dimensions and vast potential to alter how we think, express ourselves, and define who we want to be.

'That goes way, way too far, ' Goldberg said.

North Carolina convicted over 1,000 sex offenders based on its statute barring access to all social platforms. Packingham was convicted of violating the social media law in 2010. They argued the section of law at issue "imposes criminal punishment for activity fully protected under the First Amendment". "Man God is Good!" he wrote.

The court has ruled that in this day and age if someone isn't on a social network, they will not be able to frequently interact with society even if they have the purest of motives.

"No fine, no court costs, nothing spent..." Praise be to GOD, WOW!

This case, as noted in the opinion, is one of the first that the Supreme Court has taken to clarify the relationship between the First Amendment and modern-day means of online communication.

The Court also concedes that while there have been discrepancies regarding where the most important places are for the exchange of ideas, the answer is now clear: cyberspace.

Social media allows users to gain access to information and communicate with one another on any subject that might come to mind.

After the office saw the Facebook post, Packingham was found guilty of violating the law that says "it is unlawful for a sex offender who is access a commercial social networking site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages on the commercial social networking site".

The justices were mindful to note that child exploitation is a most serious crime and an "act repugnant to the moral instances of a decent people".

Acknowledging that every advance in technology leads to new abuses by criminals, the notion that states can bar access altogether is anathema to the high court.

"So it will be with the Internet and social media", Kennedy wrote.

However, Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas warned that the ruling, and Kennedy's "loose rhetoric", could make it harder for state's to police (or restrict) sex offenders' use of the internet.

Alito, in agreeing that "the law in question can not satisfy the standard applicable to a content-neutral regulation", also wrote that the majority spoke too glowingly about the Internet.

"The Court is unable to resist musings that seem to equate the entirety of the internet with public streets and parks", he wrote, warning of unintended consequences.

"The Court is unable to resist musings that seem to equate the entirety of the internet with public streets and parks", Alito wrote, noting that the decision could lead some to believe that states "are largely powerless" to place any web site restrictions on "even the most risky sexual predators". It also exempted chatrooms and photo sharing sites.

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