Sex Offenders Cannot Be Barred From Social Media, Top US Court Says

The US Supreme Court unanimously struck down Monday a North Carolina law that barred registered sex offenders from using social media.

The suit in the nation’s highest court goes back to a seemingly harmless event in April 2010, when a man named Lester Packingham learned that authorities had dropped court proceedings stemming from a traffic ticket he had been given.

Packingham went to his Facebook page and wrote how relieved he was. “No fine. No court cost, no nothing spent… Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks, JESUS!” he wrote.

A police officer in Durham, North Carolina who was working to hunt down sex offenders online read the post.

Eight years earlier, at the age of 21, Packingham had been convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Sex Offenders Cannot Be Barred From Social Media, Top US Court Says
He got a suspended sentence of 10-12 months and his name was placed on a registry of sex offenders. And under a much disputed law enacted in North Carolina in 2008, Packingham was barred for 30 years from using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all other social media.

So Packingham was convicted again, this time for using Facebook before the 30-year deadline was over. Police who searched his home after the post was read found no evidence of any new sexual misbehavior toward minors.

He appealed, saying the North Carolina law violated his right to freedom of expression.

In his legal battle over the past six years, Packingham has won the support of libertarians and groups opposing internet restrictions.

In the other corner, Louisiana and 12 other states backed North Carolina, saying it was important to block sexual predators from collecting information on potential victims.

 

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media
Facebook Gives Users in India More Control Over Their Profile Pictures

Facebook has announced that it is piloting new tools that will give people in India more control over who can download and share their profile pictures. “In India, we’ve heard that people want more control over their profile pictures, and we’ve been working over the past year to understand how …

Social Media
Facebook to Keep Wraps on Political Ads Data Despite Researchers’ Demands

Facebook said it would not disclose information about political campaign advertising or related data such as how many users click on ads and if advertising messages are consistent across demographics, despite arguments from political scientists who want the data for research. Details such as the frequency of ads, how much …

Social Media
Hike 5.0 Brings Redesigned Interface and Wallet Feature With UPI-Based Payments

Hike Messenger on Tuesday at an event in New Delhi unveiled a completely redesigned offering with the introduction of Hike 5.0. Apart from a complete revamp, the company also launched the Hike Wallet feature, complete with UPI-based payments. Detailing availability of the update, Hike 5.0 and its features will be …