A 2008 Indiana law prohibited certain sex offenders from using any social media that was also used by minors. However, that law has now been overturned by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on the grounds that the law constituted a “blanket ban” and a violation of free speech rights.
The judges wrote in their ruling that the law “broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communications to minors… The goal of deterrence does not license the state to restrict far more speech than necessary to target the prospective harm.”
There is already a law on the books in Indiana making it illegal for sex offenders to make contact with children on the Internet, but the 2008 law would have taken it a few steps further by banning all social media use outright. The ACLU, which filed the suit along with an Indiana resident, pointed out that the use of social media has become such a big part of everyday life that a blanket ban on its use is almost impossible to place on anyone, even sex offenders. Do you think that sex offenders should have the same online rights as regular citizens? Would a limitation of those rights constitute a violation of their First Amendment rights?
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