Federal court rules sex offenders can’t be banned from Facebook

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a 2008 Indiana law forbidding registered sex offenders from using instant-messaging and social-networking sites like Facebook is an unconstitutional infringement of First Amendment-protected speech.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the legislation “broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communications to minors.” (.pdf)

The case, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of unnamed sex offenders, follows court rulings against similar laws in Nebraska and Louisiana.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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