VIRTUAL BANISHMENT: The Effort to Ban Registered Citizens from the Internet / Social Media
    Derek W. Logue of
    February 5, 2017


    Over the years, a series of laws have passed in an attempt to regulate Internet activity of all Americans. As with every law
    designed to chip away at the US Constitution, laws designed to limit the online activity of registrants are merely a part of
    broader Internet censorship efforts. The US Supreme Court is set to decide the rights of registered citizens to use social
    media websites in Packingham v NC. This article covers the brief history of these efforts and the legal challenges facing
    them, as well as analyzing the primary arguments against the social network bans.


    (*Note: For purposes of this article, this discussion focuses only on laws that affect censorship of “sexual” materials. Other
    laws like the DMCA, SOPA, and PIPA are not discussed here.)

    The Internet is merely another form of communication, and over the years has become the primary form of information
    gathering, surpassing older forms of communication such as print media, radio, and even television. It is not surprising that
    the government would take steps to regulate this new form of media. As with previous laws governing media materials
    deemed pornographic, [1]  laws that targeted child pornography and the more broadly defined obscenity are intertwined, and
    often the protection of children from child porn or even sex trafficking has been used to justify sweeping laws that limit
    material that may not be connected in any way to the crimes the laws purport to deter.

    The first attempt to regulate Internet activity was the Communications Decency Act of 1995, [2]  sponsored by Sen. Exon,
    J.James [D-NE] and co-sponsored by Sen. Gorton, Slade [R-WA]. The bill was incorporated into the Telecommunication
    Act of 1996 under Title V. This law was derisively called “Great Internet Sex Panic Act of 1995” with good reason; the
    CDA “sought to regulate ‘indecent’ or pornographic material by criminalizing its use by anyone under the age of 18 and by
    limiting speech that was deemed to be “obscene” or “indecent” to individuals under the age of 18…Free speech advocates
    worried that many things, including reading or writing about already in-print novels, saying words deemed to be “dirty,” or
    even accessing or providing medical information could potentially qualify as criminal action.” [3]  The censorship provisions
    of the CDA were overturned in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union; [4]  Justice Stevens, writing for the majority of the
    Court, [5]  stated:

    “We are persuaded that the CDA lacks the precision that the First Amendment requires when a statute regulates the content
    of speech. In order to deny minors access to potentially harmful speech, the CDA effectively suppresses a large amount of
    speech that adults have a constitutional right to receive and to address to one another. That burden on adult speech is
    unacceptable if less restrictive alternatives would be at least as effective in achieving the legitimate purpose that the statute
    was enacted to serve… It is true that we have repeatedly recognized the governmental interest in protecting children from
    harmful materials. But that interest does not justify an unnecessarily broad suppression of speech addressed to adults. As we
    have explained, the Government may not ‘reduc[e] the adult what is fit for children.’”

    In response to Reno v ACLU, Congress passed the ‘Child Online Protection Act.” [6] COPA criminalized online material that
    “‘taken as a whole,’ appeals to ‘the prurient interest,’ that depicts sexual contact, and that ‘lacks serious literary, artistic,
    political, or scientific value for minors’ (i.e., anyone age 16 and younger). The law applies to those content providers that
    spend some time or attention trying to earn a profit and that cause the harmful material to be posted online. Id. at § 231 (e)
    (2)(B). COPA provides websites with an affirmative defense if they restrict access by minors by requiring the use of a
    credit card or other means.” [7] The story of COPA is more complicated but was ultimately struck a fatal blow in ACLU v.
    Mukasey. [8]  After SCOTUS had ruled on previous decisions on COPA, remanding the case back to the 3rd Circuit after
    deciding “community standards” alone wasn’t enough to declare COPA unconstitutional, [9] the 3rd Circuit ultimately ruled
    COPA would not meet “strict scrutiny” since COPA was not narrowly tailored and did not use the least restrictive method
    of protecting children.

    In 1996, Congress passed the Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) of 1996.[10]  CPPA prohibited “any visual
    depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture” that “is, or
    appears to be, of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct,” as well as “any sexually explicit image that was advertised,
    promoted, presented, described, or distributed in such a manner that conveys the impression it depicts a minor engaging in
    sexually explicit conduct.” The CPPA was struck down in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition [11]  as overbroad, as CPPA
    abridged “the freedom to engage in a substantial amount of lawful speech.”

    The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) details what a website operator must include in a privacy
    policy, when and how to seek verifiable consent from a parent or guardian, and what responsibilities an operator has to
    protect children's privacy and safety online including restrictions on the marketing to those under 13. Due to this law, many
    websites prevent children under 13 from creating online accounts. [12]  Despite this, it was reported around 7.5 million
    children under age 13 had active Facebook accounts in 2011.[13]

    The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), passed in 2000, requires that K-12 schools and libraries in the United States
    use Internet filters and implement other measures to protect children from harmful online content as a condition for federal
    funding. This law included provisions to require filtering software to filter out, among other things, obscenity, child porn,
    and other material deemed “harmful to minors.” [14]  This Act was upheld in 2003’s SCOTUS ruling in United States v.
    American Library Association. [15]

    The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act of 2003, [16]  
    introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), added a number of definitions to the CP statutes in addition to other provisions
    advertised to protect children, including AMBER alerts, mandatory minimums, and eliminating pre-trial release and statutes
    of limitations for certain sex crimes. The PROTECT Act was a reaction to the SCOTUS ruling against the COPA. The
    PROTECT Act also established “Operation Predator,” a joint initiative between the United States Immigration and Customs
    Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security to work on child porn and sex trafficking cases. Through this
    program, ICE has boasted of 8000 arrests between 2003 and 2012. [17]

    Congress introduced, but failed to pass, the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006. [18]  If DOPA became law, minors
    would have been restricted from accessing chatrooms or social networks using school or library computers without
    parental guidance. Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) testified that “Social networking sites such as MySpace and chat rooms
    have allowed sexual predators to sneak into homes and solicit kids, and this bill requires schools and libraries to establish
    those protections to prevent children from accessing MySpace and chat rooms while in school and libraries unless parents
    are there or unless there is supervision.” Opponents testified the law was redundant, overbroad, and rushed through
    legislation. [19]

    Up to this point, legislation did not attempt to ban registered citizens from using social media or the Internet altogether. The
    typical steps taken by these laws were to restrict the dissemination of materials deemed pornographic and to restrict
    children’s access to harmful materials or sites that they believed may put them at risk for sexual exploitation. The Keeping
    the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators (KIDS) Act of 2008 [20] doesn’t actually restrict registered citizens from using the
    Internet, despite the clever acronym. Instead, the KIDS Act merely requires registrants to register “all Internet identifiers (i.
    e., email addresses and other designations used for self-identification or routing in Internet communication or posting),” and
    this information is not listed publicly.

    While the KIDS Act is not a ban on social networking, requiring registered citizens to register online identifiers is still a form
    of censorship for registered citizens. Facebook officially banned registered citizens from using their website in May 2008.
    [21] In this instance, the government is turning to businesses to perform functions the government is not legally allowed to
    do. Art Bowker of elaborates on why Facebook would carry out a banishment clause:

    “Why would Facebook have such a policy? They are a private concern and have a right to set their policy as long as it
    doesn't discriminate. Sex offenders, last time I checked are not a protected class. So they can set their policy to not exclude
    them. Some users may actually join Facebook or at least feel some comfort in joining because of this policy. They join with
    the belief that sex offenders aren’t allowed on the website, a belief that is enforced by Facebook’s policy on reporting sex
    offenders for action. That is what is called “freedom of association,” another one of those constitutional rights we have. So
    a private company sets up a rule excluding a non-protected group from joining, a group that represents a risk to minors. I
    am sure the courts will decide whose rights are more compelling, the sex offender’s first amendment right or the general
    public’s to associate with whom they chose.” [22] The case Bowker mentions is Packingham v. NC., the case up for
    SCOTUS review.


    The justification for laws regulating registrant activity online is the same assumption that inspires physical presence
    restrictions, namely the erroneous perception that a registrant’s only purpose online is to lure children. Adding to the virtual
    panic is the belief that the Internet is rife with online predators. The “50,000 Internet predators are currently” myth is
    attributed to controversial TV personality Chris Hansen and his "To Catch a Predator" series; Hansen admits he conjured the
    number out of thin air. [23] Clint Van Zandt, MSNBC analyst & former FBI profiler, proclaimed in 2006, ““Federal
    authorities believe that at least 500,000 to 750,000 predators are ‘on-line’ on a daily basis, constantly combing through these
    sites, crawling around in Internet chat rooms and on-line dating services, pretending to be someone and something they’re
    not.” [24] In reality, the number of actual online child exploitation arrests in 2006 was only 635 for “online predation” and
    3100 for online solicitation of officers posing as minors. [25]

    Why do the Media prefer large and nicely rounded numbers? Famed FBI profiler Ken Lanning refers to the 50,000 stat as a
    “Goldilocks number,” meaning the number is a number that doesn’t sound like too many or not enough. The number 50,000
    has been applied for many unknown numbers --Korean War casualties, deaths and annual deaths from second hand smoke,
    number of children allegedly sacrificed to Satan during the satanic cult scares of the 1980s. [26]

    In 2009, MySpace deleted 90,000 accounts tied to registered citizens; Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
    sounded the fear by stating, “Almost 100,000 convicted sex offenders mixing with children on MySpace — shown by our
    subpoena — is absolutely appalling and totally unacceptable. For every one of them, there may be hundreds of others using
    false names and ages,” Ernie Allen of the NCMEC could not give an accurate assessment of the danger, stating, “We don’t
    know if that’s 80 percent of the population targeting kids on the Internet or 1 percent.” [27] Blumenthal was in the minority
    among a task force of 39 State Attorney Generals, which has released a report just weeks earlier that concluded the problem
    of bullying among children, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors
    by adults. Blumenthal and Roy Cooper of NC publicly accused the social networks of facilitating the activities of pedophiles
    and pressured them to remove registered citizens from their services. [28]

    It is extremely likely that Blumenthal was at least partially influenced by the controversial TV show “Dateline NBC: To Catch
    a Predator” (TCAP). While the show was ratings gold for the struggling NBC network, ethical questions plagued the show.
    NBC hired Perverted Justice, an online vigilante group who rose to fame trolling “would-be pedophiles” and headed by a
    man who called the civilian victims of al-Qaeda "shameless and pathetic" on his blog, and once pretended to be a woman to
    seduce an online enemy in an attempt to ruin him. Phillip von Eide (alias Xavier von Erck) set up a non-profit for his
    organization and used the funds from the non-profit to pay a six-figure salary to his closest allies and Erck himself. [29] A
    number of controversies led to the demise of the show, including poor criminal investigation techniques led to acquittals in a
    number of the show’s cases, [30] the $100,000 per episode payout to Perverted-Justice led to accusations of conflicts of
    interest, [31] and a lawsuit against NBC by the family of one accused solicitor who committed suicide while camera were
    rolling. [32] A decade after the show’s heyday, TCAP remains popular and influential; TCAP’s former host Chris Hanson
    raised nearly $90,000 in 2015 to revive the concept though a Kickstarter campaign. [33]

    Despite what people influenced by TV shows like TCAP or politicians like Blumenthal think, much of what we believe about
    so-called “online predators” is patently untrue.

    The Crimes Against Children Research Center has conducted a series of “Youth Internet Safety Surveys” in 2000, 2005,
    and 2010, respectively. Each YISS study asked questions to 1500 juveniles between ages 10 and 17. Below is the
    description of the sexual solicitation questions from the YISS:

    “The incidence rates for sexual solicitation, unwanted exposure to sexual material, and harassment were estimated based on
    questions about unwanted experiences while using the Internet in the past year (“past year” refers to the year before the
    interview). The questions used in the current article were identical across all YISS studies. Unwanted sexual solicitations
    were defined as requests to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk or to give personal sexual information that was
    unwanted or made by an individual >5 years, whether wanted or not. The incidence rate for sexual solicitation was
    estimated based on endorsement of at least one of the following three screener questions:”

  • “In the past year, did anyone on the Internet ever try to get you to talk online about sex when you did not want to?”
  • “In the past year, did anyone on the Internet ask you for sexual information about yourself when you did not want to
    answer such questions? I mean very personal questions, like what your body looks like or sexual things you have
  • “In the past year, did anyone on the Internet ever ask you to do something sexual that you did not want to do?”

    “Additionally, youth who said they had an online sexual relationship with an adult were included to capture possible statutory
    sex crimes (n =0 from YISS-1; n=8 from YISS-2; n=1 from YISS-3). We also defined a subgroup of aggressive sexual
    solicitations, in which solicitors attempted or made offline contact with youth through regular mail, by telephone, or in
    person.” [34]

    The results of the three YISS surveys found the prevalence of risky online sexual behavior has lowered somewhat over the
    past 10 years:  “Unwanted sexual solicitations declined from 19% in 2000 to 13% in 2005, and finally to 9% in 2010; thus,
    there was a total 50% decline in reports of this problem between 2000 and 2010. However, aggressive solicitations (in
    which offline contact was attempted or made) did not change significantly across the three surveys (3%, 4%, and 3% in
    2000, 2005, and 2010, respectively)… there was a decline in youth reports of unwanted exposure to pornography between
    the 2005 and 2010 YISS surveys, from 34% to 23%. This decline followed an increase between 2000 and 2005 (from 25%
    to 34%).” [35]

    The researchers believe a number of factors have influenced the declining sexual risk numbers, including the migration from
    chatrooms to social network sites, education on the dangers of talking to strangers online, and even increased prosecution
    of online solicitation cases. The researchers point out that most solicitations are made by someone close in age to the
    juvenile, not by adults; most solicitations are rejected; and successful offline activity was considered flattering and desired
    by participants. Ultimately, it cannot be assumed that one in 10 juveniles was solicited online by adults. Also, the decline in
    exposure to unwanted sexual materials like pornography could be attributed to a combination of better education programs
    and filtering software. [36]

    Oftentimes, victim advocates quote (and misuse) the YISS-1, which found that 19% of those surveyed had “experienced an
    unwanted sexual solicitation” in the past year. (For example, Safety Zone Advocacy, a website run by online vigilante Judy
    Cornett, claims “1 of 5 children who use a computer chat room has been approached by a pedophile.”) [37] In reality, the
    term “sexual solicitation” has been interpreted includes anything from sexual spam to someone asking if a person “got
    lucky” on a date. Only one in 33 experienced an "aggressive sexual solicitation," or a request to contact offline. Of those
    who made a “sexual solicitation online,” 24% came from adults, 48% came from other juveniles, and 24% from unknown
    people; only 4% of the solicitations came from someone over age 25. About a fourth of these solicitations were considered
    “distressing.” Interestingly, 13% of online solicitations were made by females. Most “aggressive solicitations” were rejected
    by the one solicited. None of the solicitations led to any offline sexual contact between adults and juveniles. [38] The victim
    industry’s claims the solicitations are from “pedophiles” is erroneous.

    The characteristics of both online solicitors and those who agree to meet in person have also been misrepresented by the
    victim industry. Finkelhor, et al., found that very few instances of online solicitation involved any trickery or violence. Only
    5% of those who were arrested for online solicitation of minors lied about their ages. Older teens are more likely to meet a
    solicitor offline as they are more independent. Those who agreed to offline contact engaged in riskier online behavior such
    as talking about sex online, posting or searching for provocative photos, or even bullying behavior. The researchers warn us
    that we should “(a)void descriptions of the problem that characterize victims as young children or emphasize violence and
    deception.” [39]

    A survey from Cox Communications and the NCMEC found 14% of teens met in person with someone they had previously
    only met online, but never asked what the nature of the meeting entails. (The survey does not mention sexual behavior
    online.) Most of those who met offline, however, were 16 and 17-year-olds. [40] Both the YISS and the Cox/NCMEC
    studies agree, however, that educating youth on proper Internet use and the potential dangers of sharing improper
    information online reduces the likelihood of victimization.

    The bottom line is the perception of so-called “online predators” in American society is inaccurate. Finkelhor succinctly
    describes the common type of online solicitation below:

    “[T]hese are not mostly violence sex crimes, but they are criminal seductions that take advantage of common teenage
    vulnerabilities. The offenders lure teens after weeks of conversations with them, they play on teens’ desires for romance,
    adventure, sexual information, understanding, and they lure them to encounters that the teens know are sexual in nature with
    people who are considerably older than themselves [...] What puts kids in danger is being willing to talk about sex online
    with strangers or having a pattern of multiple risky activities on the web like going to sex sites and chat rooms, meeting lots
    of people there, kind of behaving like an Internet daredevil.” [41]


    Thankfully, few states have passed laws restricting registered citizens not currently on probation or parole from unrestricted
    use of the internet. Below are the laws on the books as of January 2017:

  • Guam [9 GCA 89.03(i)]: Prohibits registrants from accessing, creating, or maintaining a personal web page, profile,
    account, password, or user name for a social networking website, instant message or chatroom program that allows
    individuals under 18 to also create accounts, unless the website limits the ability of adults to add those under 18 as
    “friends, buddies or associates.” All computers or internet-capable devices belonging accessible to the registrant are
    subject to unannounced searches by law enforcement personnel performing a “lawful investigation.”   
  • Kentucky [KRS 17.546]: Registrants who use social networks that allow access/ use the website to anyone under 18
    is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Louisiana (RS 14:91.5): Registrants convicted of crimes involving minors are prohibited from “intentional use” of
    social networking sites. Violations are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine for the first
    offense. Those registrants not governed by RS 14:91.5 may use social media but must post a notice on their social
    media account they are registered citizens [RS 15:542.1(D)].
  • North Carolina (NCCS 14-202.5): It is a Class I Felony for a registered citizen to access any “commercial social
    networking web site” where the registrant knows the site allows minors to become members or maintain personal
    web pages. A commercial social networking Web site does not include an Internet Web site that either: (1) Provides
    only one of the following discrete services: photo-sharing, electronic mail, instant messenger, or chat room or
    message board platform; or (2) Has as its primary purpose the facilitation of commercial transactions involving
    goods or services between its members or visitors.
  • Some states restrict Internet usage for those on probation or parole. [42]


    Technology has become prevalent in our society, yet those who are forced to abide by the laws (and even those tasked with
    enforcing these laws) find it difficult to understand the confusing laws. (With little wonder, as John McCain, who has
    pushed a number of Internet laws over the years, is admittedly computer illiterate.) [43] One registered citizen, “Trevor,”
    reported he was confused as to whether a Furby toy would place him in violation of the Internet ban, and had only became
    aware of his Internet restrictions after he found his parole conditions online. “This is the state of technology and the law
    when it comes to registered sex offenders - ignorance, confusion, misinformation and conflicting court decisions. Every
    state has its own set of laws about which offenders need to be monitored or banned from using the internet and to what
    extent… Parole and probation officers inconsistently hand out and enforce such restrictions, and the laws differ for those
    on parole, probation, community supervision and the registries.” [44]

    Privacy is another primary legal concern, especially for those on supervision. “With these monitoring practices, all privacy is
    eliminated; even mundane and legal computer activity becomes open to law enforcement scrutiny. Fear of violating parole or
    probation could prevent people from seeking help or advice related to their offense, undercutting public safety. Pushing and
    intimidating offenders off the internet makes it harder for them to find jobs, obtain social support, read the news and
    function in contemporary society.” [45]

    As of January 2017, the right of states to restrict Internet activity is pending SCOTUS review in Packingham v NC, Docket
    # 15-1194, with oral arguments due to be heard on Feb. 27, 2017. Before discussing the arguments presented by the parties
    in the case, it is important to review the lawsuits against various internet restrictions throughout the years.

    Utah: In Doe v. Shurtleff, [46] the 10th Circuit upheld a Utah law requiring registered citizens to register their internet
    identifiers in order to “assist in investigating kidnapping and sex-related crimes, and in apprehending offenders.” Doe had
    argued against UCA 77-27-21.5 as violations of his 1st Amendment right to anonymous speech, the 4th Amendment right to
    privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the ex post fact clause. The Court held the law was a
    “content-neutral regulation” (it does not prohibit speech or is aimed at expressing unpopular views). Under an intermediate
    scrutiny standard, a law is upheld if the act: (1) serves a "substantial" government interest and (2) is "narrowly drawn" to
    serve that interest without unnecessarily interfering with First Amendment freedoms.” Using this lower standard, the Court
    ruled the law did not have a chilling effect on free speech. The Court ruled Doe did not have a reasonable expectation of
    privacy in "information that he voluntarily transmitted to the third party internet providers," including his internet identifiers.
    It also ruled ex post facto does not apply because the law is a civil statute.

    Nebraska: In Doe v. State of Nebraska, [47] a US District Judge struck down parts of Nebraska's Internet blanket ban on
    many grounds, including the 1st Amendment, the Due Process Clause, Ex Post Facto, and the 4th Amendment for those
    convicted or removed from state supervision before Jan. 1, 2010. It is noted the law was deemed punitive in nature, as
    those who sponsored the law admitted the intent was punitive.

    “Plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality—both facially and as applied—of parts of three statutes: Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 29-4006
    (1)(k) and (s) , 29-4006(2), and 28- 322.05 (West, Operative Jan. 1, 2010). Generally, sections 29-4006(1)(k) and (s)
    require disclosure by persons required to register under the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act of remote
    communication device identifiers, addresses, domain names, and Internet and blog sites used; section 29-4006(2) requires
    registrants to consent to the search and installation of monitoring hardware and software; and section 28-322.05
    criminalizes some registrants’ use of social networking web sites, instant messaging, and chat room services accessible by

    The judge noted that the Nebraska legislature has “violently swayed from” the constitutional path and even the constitutional
    parts were "wrongheaded and counterproductive" (p.2). I the paragraph below, the judge deemed this law is punishment:

    “Fourth, and finally, these statutes are rife with other constitutional infirmities, and the blatant willingness of the Nebraska
    Legislature to violate the Constitution is strong evidence of animus. These laws gut the 1st and 4th Amendment and the Due
    Process Clause. These statutes retroactively render sex offenders, who were sentenced prior to the effective date of these
    statutes, second-class citizens. They are silenced. They are rendered insecure in their homes. They are denied the rudiments
    of fair notice. In Nebraska’s ‘rage’ and ‘revulsion,’ they are stripped of fundamental constitutional rights. In short, sex
    offenders who were sentenced prior to the enactment of these laws are punished."

    Indiana: In Doe v. Prosecutor, Marion County, Indiana, [48] the 7th Circuit held “Though content neutral, we conclude
    that the Indiana law is not narrowly tailored to serve the state's interest. It broadly prohibits substantial protected speech
    rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communications to minors.” It overturned the lower court ruling that
    “found the law implicates Doe's First Amendment rights but held the regulation is narrowly tailored to serve a significant
    state interest and leaves open ample alternative channels of communication.” In response, the 7th Circuit stated, “Because
    we conclude the law is not narrowly tailored, we need not reach the alternative channel inquiry.”

    Louisiana: In February 2012, the US District court ruled in Doe v. Jindal [49] the Louisiana Internet statute, known as the
    Unlawful Use or Access of Social Media Law (LSA-R.S.14:91.5), which prohibited persons convicted of indecent behavior
    or pornography involving juveniles, computer-aided solicitation of a minor, video voyeurism or any sex offense involving a
    minor from using social networking websites, chat rooms or peer-to-peer networks, was unconstitutional. The district court
    noted that the definition of “social networking website,” “peer-to-peer network” and “chat room” were so broad as to ban
    sex offenders from virtually every online site, including news websites and job search sites, and even the website for the
    federal courts. The Court ruled the law was not narrowly tailored as well as unconstitutionally vague, adding, “Although the
    Act is intended to promote the legitimate and compelling state interest of protecting minors from Internet predators, the near
    total ban on Internet access imposed by the Act unreasonably restricts many ordinary activities that have become important
    to everyday life in today’s world.”

    Shortly after this court ruling, Louisiana passed HB 620, [50] reinstating the social media ban (and also adding a provision
    that requires registrants to disclose their registry status on their allowed social media profiles) while rewording the law in
    hopes of passing Constitutional muster.

    North Carolina: The state had appealed the state’s appellate court decision which had found NC’s social media ban was not
    narrowly tailored, vague, lacks clarity, overbroad, and ultimately unconstitutional on its face. [51] The NC Supreme Court
    reversed the appellate court’s ruling; they found “the essential purpose of section 14–202.5 is to limit conduct, specifically
    the ability of registered sex offenders to access certain carefully-defined Web sites. This limitation on conduct only
    incidentally burdens the ability of registered sex offenders to engage in speech after accessing those Web sites that fall
    within the statute's reach. Thus we conclude that section 14–202.5 is a regulation of conduct.” The state Supreme Court
    determined the state’s social network bans does not govern speech (which requires strict scrutiny), but is merely a “content
    neutral regulation,” which is only subject to the lower legal standard of “intermediate scrutiny.” [52]

    The Packingham case was accepted for SCOTUS review in 2016.


    The most obvious Constitutional argument is the 1st Amendment right to free speech. It is also evident that social media
    should receive full First Amendment protection. An article in the Indiana Law Review presents a number of reasons why
    registered citizens (and felons in general) have the full protection of the 1st Amendment if one is not on supervision: “The
    lower federal courts that have examined the First Amendment rights of felons have found that these individuals are protected
    by the amendment’s breadth. All four of the federal courts that have examined sex offender social media bans have either
    impliedly or explicitly assumed that the individuals covered by the statutes were entitled to full First Amendment
    protection… As discussed earlier, a significant amount of political discourse takes place via social media, and the Supreme
    Court considers political speech to be the ‘core’ of the First Amendment. Beyond core political speech, social media allows
    users to take part in other activities that have been traditionally thought to be within the purview of the First Amendment.
    One commentator has even made the argument that the First Amendment protects activities that are only possible through
    social media, such as clicking Facebook’s ‘like’ button—which allows a user to express their appreciation for a particular
    piece of shared content. For all of the previously discussed reasons, sex offenders’ and other felons’ right to access social
    media is fully protected by the First Amendment and should continue to be for the foreseeable future.” [53]


    Eugene Volokh explains that, “The Supreme Court has held that content-neutral speech restrictions (e.g., limits on noise, on
    the size of demonstrations, and so on) can be upheld if they are “narrowly tailored” to an “important government interest”
    and leave open “ample alternative channels” for expression. Thus, relatively modest burdens on speech (ones that leave open
    ample alternative channels) are subject to relatively government-friendly review (the requirement that the law be narrowly
    tailored to an important government interest, with “narrow tailoring” being read in a not especially strict way). But more
    serious burdens on speech (ones that don’t leave open ample alternative channels) are subject to far more demanding
    scrutiny.” In criticizing the NC Supreme Court’s decision, Volokh notes that while the law prohibits NC registrants from
    LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, Myspace, and the New York Times Web site, the statute left open access to such social media
    sites as the Paula Deen Network, WRAL (a local TV station), (an online job searching tool), and Shutterfly;
    Volokh noted, “This looks more like a parody of the ‘ample alternative channels’ analysis than a serious application of that
    analysis.” [54]

    Volock points out that “sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become a prominent and uniquely effective form of
    communication for which there is virtually no equivalent substitute,” noting 71% of American adults use Facebook and 28%
    use Pinterest and LinkedIn, and 77% of employers use popular social media to recruit candidates. Facebook also lets users
    as readers get a wide range of information that originates or first becomes widely spread on Facebook. [55] Law professor
    Noah Feldman is in the minority among his peers by arguing that there are “ample” alternatives to Facebook and other
    popular social media. “There's no disputing the ubiquity of social media. But there are still other ways to express your ideas
    and communicate with other humans. Without social media, I can still create content and publish it. I can read a vast array
    of opinions of others. And I can communicate directly with other people, through e-mail and other platforms.” [56] David
    Post counters that “Communicating via website, or email, is not an alternative to communicating via social networking,
    because social networking is a social activity in a way that other media are not — that’s precisely what has made it so
    powerful and so indispensable for a vast array of communication.” [57]

    Volock joined of Profs. Ashutosh, Bhagwat, Richard Garnett, Andrew Koppelman, Seth Kreimer, Lawrence Lessig, Sanford
    Levinson, Robert O’Neil, David Post, Lawrence Sager, Seana Shiffrin, Steven Shiffrin, Geoffrey Stone, Nadine Strossen,
    William Van Alstyne, and James Weinstein in writing a brief in support of the petitioner in Packingham v NC case. [58] A
    centerpiece of their argument against the NC social media ban is City of Ladue v. Gilleo, [59] a case that struck down a law
    that banned all residential signs but those falling within 1 of 10 exemptions, for the principal purpose of minimizing the visual
    clutter associated with such signs. SCOTUS ruled regulating yard signs affected communication itself, the law “foreclosed
    an important and distinct medium of expression to political, religious, or personal messages,” and “alternatives such as
    handbills and newspaper advertisements are inadequate substitutes for the important medium that Ladue has closed off.”
    The Amicus brief notes, “Like in City of Ladue, there is no adequate alternative to the communicative impact of the
    forbidden social media… The Sixth, Seventh, and D.C. Circuits hold that alternative channels are ample only if they let a
    speaker reach essentially the same audience. The North Carolina Supreme Court holds that they are ample even when they
    reduce the speaker to a tiny fraction of his potential audience. And the Second and Ninth Circuits have precedents going
    both directions, without confronting the disagreements among the precedents.”

    But there is one important aspect that the legal experts seemed to have overlooked—many online media outlets use popular
    social media commenting programs that are banned by NC’s law. Bloomberg View, where Noah Feldman’s Op-Ed is
    currently published, uses the Disqus system for commenting; Disqus allows folks as young as 13 create profiles. In
    addition, the Op-Ed also proves a prompt to follow Feldman on Twitter as well as offer an email address. [60] In order to
    respond to Feldman’s article, I’m given three options here—Disqus, Twitter, and email—but only two are public forums in
    which my comments could be directly read by others with an interest in the article’s subject matter and reader’s opinions.
    The ban would sever any way to legally communicate with this person, as his Disqus profile lacks detailed personal
    information. One comment from a person with the user name “FrankAboutPolitics” responded, “How should they publish
    their content? WordPress is social media too, and has teen users.” [61] If registered citizens were banned from Disqus, how
    could I communicate with this anonymous poster to ask him to elaborate further? Some media outlets do not offer
    comments on a website, but operates a Facebook page for the purpose of discussing news stories. [62]

    Facebook is by far the largest social media outlet, accounting for 42.4% of all social media visits in October 2016, almost
    double the market share for Youtube (24.9%), eight times the market share for Twiter (5.2%) and about 35 times the
    market share for LinkedIn (1.2%). [63] In addition, Facebook is also the most popular smartphone app, outperforming
    Google, Youtube, and other social platforms with use by 79.9% by mobile phone users. [64] In recent years, a number of
    media outlets have opted to use the Facebook-only commenting system under the guise of “increasing civil discussion,”
    including ESPN, USA Today, the Miami Herald, and the Chicago Tribune. [65] (Note: By “Facebook-only commenting, I
    am referring to requiring a Facebook account to login and make comments on the webpage actual webpage of the original
    article, not the practice of having discussions on the media outlet’s official Facebook page.) Currently, registered citizens
    cannot have a Facebook page as it violates the company’s Terms of Service, so Facebook already censors the rights of
    registered citizens the opportunity to express their opinions online without creating fake accounts.

    Still, a number of Anti-Registry organizations, including, have official Facebook pages, [66] as it is
    currently not illegal to maintain business accounts with unpopular messages. In the Packingham case, the petitioner’s brief
    poses a good question, stating, “In its waning pages, the Opposition asserts, remarkably, that petitioner would not have run
    afoul of Section 202.5 had he asked a friend to access Facebook, post his ‘God is great’ comment, ‘and directly attribute
    the message to [petitioner].’ Opp.35. This late-breaking ‘alternative’ unravels the State’s principal arguments: If that means
    of expression is outside Section 202.5’s ambit, then, a registrant presumably may have a friend gather and print profile
    information about members of a high school cheerleading squad—even while North Carolina continues to punish as felons
    persons accessing sites themselves for no other purpose than to follow current events.” [67] However, not every person
    has access to non-registered persons capable of running Facebook pages on the behalf of another. In those cases, how can
    registered citizens share their ideas with other individuals on sites offering Facebook-only commenting? However, how does
    one maintain a page for another person if that person cannot have a Facebook page in the first place? Consider the fact that
    a number of states have pushed to ban prison inmates from social media even if the sites are run by third parties.  In
    addition, if a registered citizen is on the registry, his or her account can be deleted even if a third party runs the page.  

    Just as the Internet has helped organize larger movements like the Arab Spring, [69] Black Lives Matter, [70] and the
    Occupy Movement, [71] the Internet has been instrumental to the Anti-Registry Movement from the earliest days of the
    Internet. One of the first forums for registered citizens was Sex Offender Solutions & Education Network (SOSEN), which
    began as a Yahoo Group in 2003. [72] Yahoo’s only requirement for Yahoo Groups [73] is to have a Yahoo Account, which
    also allows those as young as 13 to open accounts without parental consent. [74] Thus, SOSEN’s Yahoo Group would
    have been outlawed under NC’s social media bans. In addition,, like other anti-registry activist groups, have
    relied heavily upon social media forums and social media-run comment sections on media articles to spread its message over
    the years, so banning registrants from Facebook alone has already made a negative impact on the ability of our Movement to
    spread our message of legal reform.

    The claim that banning registered citizens from popular social media, even if they were only legally banned from Facebook
    alone, does not leave “ample alternative channels” for expression. The activities of online citizen activist groups will be
    severely compromised, as the target audience will not be legally allowed to access Facebook.


    It seems rather ironic that a number media outlets are opposed to anonymous comments, especially considering most
    individuals prefer to leave comments anonymously. (A key selling point for Disqus is that pseudonyms account for 61% of
    comments made through their services.) [75] Facebook-only commenting policies have angered a number of individuals
    who do not feel safe discussing sensitive topics online. The outrage was particularly harsh when the Huffington Post
    switched to Facebook-only commenting. [76]

    While many regular Americans fear the worst acts related to the Internet, in including "doxing" (the practice of using the
    Internet to source out and collect someone's personal and private information and then publicly releasing that information
    online), [77] or ‘Swatting” (making a false emergency call to the police in an attempt to get a SWAT team to show up at the
    doorstep of a target), [78] this fear is especially strong for those forced to register as “sex offenders.” On April 25, 2016, a
    Facebook page called (a site connected to Chuck Roderick, a man who has been sued for extorting
    registered) made an attack post on founder Derek Logue while posting a link to a known extortion website.
    [79] A number of local individuals made threatening remarks on this Facebook posts, including one made by a former
    neighbor, a former co-worker, and a manager at a store in the neighborhood who responded to a threatening remark about
    asking for a current location so this person can ‘get him.” This is merely one example that illustrates the need for registered
    citizens to be legally allowed to speak anonymously while online.

    The EFF notes, “Many people don't want the things they say online to be connected with their offline identities. They may
    be concerned about political or economic retribution, harassment, or even threats to their lives. Whistleblowers report news
    that companies and governments would prefer to suppress; human rights workers struggle against repressive governments;
    parents try to create a safe way for children to explore; victims of domestic violence attempt to rebuild their lives where
    abusers cannot follow. Instead of using their true names to communicate, these people choose to speak using pseudonyms
    (assumed names) or anonymously (no name at all). For these individuals and the organizations that support them, secure
    anonymity is critical. It may literally save lives.” Anonymous speech has been a celebrated right from the founding of the
    USA, and “anonymity is the shield from the tyranny of the majority.” [80]

    The Courts, sadly, have been bipolar on the rights of registered citizens to be anonymous on the Internet. On September 27,
    2016, the US District Court for the Norther District of Florida filed a preliminary injunction against a Florida law which
    modified and expanded the definition of Internet identifiers, stating The definition is hopelessly vague, chills speech
    protected by the First Amendment, and is far broader than necessary to serve the state’s legitimate interest in deterring or
    solving online sex crimes.” [81] Just a few weeks later, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a similar law using the weak
    “intermediate scrutiny.” The logic of this Court is especially disturbing. “We conclude that the Internet disclosure provision
    advances the substantial governmental interest of preventing sex offenses against children and protecting the public from the
    danger of recidivist sex offenders. The disclosure provision identifies the locations on the Internet to which the sex offender
    has transferred expressive material from his computer or has otherwise engaged in communication. These disclosures
    empower the public, if it wishes, to make the informed decision to avoid such interactions. The information required for the
    public to protect itself is broad because any communication by a sex offender with the public is related to the statutory
    purpose.” [82] Law professor heavily criticized the Illinois case:

    “Any communication by a sex offender with the public is related to the statutory purpose (including, one must suppose, Mr.
    Minnis’s declaration that he “likes” Lady Gaga’s new album, or that his soccer club is meeting on Wednesday night, or that
    he’s really pissed off about the pace of construction on I-80 outside of Rockford, Ill., … anything, in other words, that
    might appear on his Facebook page or that he might post on the Facebook pages of others), so burdening all of Minnis’s
    speech — eliminating the right to speak anonymously for all of his online communications — is necessary to serve that
    purpose. If that’s all it takes to satisfy the Constitution, anonymous online communication is, for all intents and purposes, a
    dead duck. Remember: first they came for the Socialists…” [83]

    The Amicus brief by the Electronic Privacy Information Center notes the government is spending large sums of money to
    monitor all online activity as well as unwarranted investigations into the online activity of registrants, including the Facebook
    post from Mr. Packingham declaring “God is good.” The law essentially requires law enforcement to engage in wholesale
    monitoring in order to be effective. [84]


    Louisiana’s current social media law requires registered citizens, among other things, to disclose their registrant status on
    their allowed social media accounts. Obviously, this interferes with the ability to speak anonymously online, but the
    government takes this interference to the next level as it forces the individual to carry an unpopular government message.
    “Just as the First Amendment may prevent the government from prohibiting speech, the Amendment may prevent the
    government from compelling individuals to express certain views…” [85] SCOTUS has also held that states cannot compel
    a citizen to display a message offensive to one’s moral convictions [86] or force one to engage in forms of expression
    contrary to one’s personal beliefs. [87] In addition to forcing the registrant to place a government message on an individual’
    s social media account, the state triggers the removal of that social media account from Facebook altogether, as registered
    citizens are not allowed to maintain Facebook pages. Thus, the government is compelling a private business to aid it in
    bypassing constitutional safeguards.


    Regardless as to the level of scrutiny social media bans are given, there simply is no way to narrowly tailor the laws to
    simply prevent registered citizens from soliciting minors through social media. “These bans are not narrowly tailored
    because (1) the conduct they seek to proscribe is already illegal, (2) they apply to more offenders than necessary, and (3)
    the definitions they use to describe the forbidden websites and utilities are too expansive.” [88] Indiana, Louisiana and
    Nebraska already have laws on the books that make soliciting a minor using electronic communication, [89] thus making
    social media bans redundant from a punishment perspective. In addition, none of these states limited the bans to those who
    solicited minors through social media in the past; none of the courts even heard any stats claiming registered citizens were
    any more likely to solicit minors online than non-registrants. [90] Legal definitions of banned media were also subject to
    broad interpretation; Nebraska’s law could have been read in a manner that would make text messages through cellular
    phones illegal;  Louisiana’s statute applied to too many websites, which even included the Louisiana district court website.


    The Amicus brief written by the Cato Institute in the Packingham case also points out NC’s social media ban is
    “impermissibly vague” and violate the Due Process Clause, noting, “In particular, Section 202.5 requires those covered by
    the state to determine whether a given website ‘permits’ use by minors, whether in fact or in policy. An ordinary citizen’s
    inability to answer those questions makes it impossible to know in advance what conduct is proscribed and, at the same
    time, bestows on law enforcement virtually unbounded discretion to arrest and charge citizens for alleged violation. The Due
    Process Clause requires more. Especially where First Amendment freedoms are implicated and the risk of chilling protected
    expression falling outside the statute’s purview is high, legislatures must act with the utmost specificity. Yet Section 202.5
    lacks the basic specificity for North Carolinians to determine where the statute’s ambit ends and their freedom from criminal
    prosecution begins.” [92]

    “Legislation that either ‘fails to give ordinary people fair notice of the conduct it punishes’ or that is ‘so standardless that it
    invites arbitrary enforcement’ violates the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.” [93] The brief
    argues that Section 202.5 does not specify what it means for websites to “permit” minors to become members or maintain
    personal Web pages. The NC Supreme Court noted such vagueness but stated the person could have gleaned the
    information from the site’s Terms of Use, which is posted on the possibly prohibited website. [94] Thus, one may possible
    break the law just to see if that website is prohibited in the first place.

    The Amicus brief by the Electronic Frontier Foundation further argues NC’s definition of “Internet web site’ is also
    extremely vague. It points out that a single Internet website, like Google, offers numerous services including a search
    engine, email services, a translation service, a news aggregator, a scholarly research tool, and a photo sharing service, in
    addition to Google+, its own social networking service. All of these interconnected web pages constitute the “Google web
    site.” [95]


    The label of “registered sex offender” should not inhibit our free speech as freed citizens. The fact that a State may not
    burden “a narrow class of disfavored speaker” is well established in the courts, [96] and Courts have frequently condemned
    the act of discrimination among different users of the same medium of expression, [97] and that targeted laws would
    prevent registrants from expressing viewpoints unique to our arbitrary labels the government has bestowed upon us. [98] As
    previously stated, anti-registry activism is an activity unique to registered citizens and their loved ones who are suffering the
    negative effects of these laws. If the NC laws are upheld, our ability to recruit new members, share opinions, and organize
    activists to fight bad legislation are all extremely hampered.


    The arguments of agencies supporting the NC social media bans are weak and rely heavily on the same tired myths of “high
    recidivism” and claiming there are ample alternatives to Facebook or other popular social media banned by the law. The
    Amicus brief filed by the state of Louisiana (whose own laws will be impacted by this law) makes the argument personal by
    claiming that Packingham defied the law not for the purpose of exercising his Constitutional rights but the result of “poor
    impulse control” which they claim is “more indicative of recidivism than expressive activity.” Thus, the Louisiana brief
    laughably concludes, “While North Carolina has no gruesome facts to tell about this case, its actions (and the evidence that
    supports them) suggest that it protected society.” [99] Aside from a few extremist atheists who feel God should not be
    uttered anywhere, one may find it difficult to find people who feel “protected” knowing that Packingham is off the streets
    for proclaiming God is good on the Internet.

    The Amicus brief by “Stop Child Predators” and “Shared Hope International,” two victim industry organizations, fails to cite
    any court cases other than McKune v Lile [100] and Smith v Doe, [101] which cited McKune when it made the erroneous
    claim that recidivism rates for registered persons are “frightening and high.” In 2015, legal researchers Ira Mark Ellman and
    Tara debunked the High Court’s faulty claim. “McKune provides a single citation to support its statement "that the
    recidivism rate of untreated offenders has been estimated to be as high as 80%": the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Nat. Institute of
    Corrections, A Practitioner's Guide to Treating the Incarcerated Male Sex Offender xiii (1988). Justice Kennedy likely found
    that reference in the amicus brief supporting Kansas filed by the Solicitor General, then Ted Olson, as the SG's brief also
    cites it for the claim that sex offenders have this astonishingly high recidivism rate. This Practitioner's Guide" itself provides
    but one source for the claim, an article published in 1986 in Psychology Today, a mass market magazine aimed at a lay
    audience. That article has this sentence: ‘Most untreated sex offenders released from prison go on to commit more offenses-
    indeed, as many as 80% do.’ But the sentence is a bare assertion: the article contains no supporting reference for it. Nor
    does its author appear to have the scientific credentials that would qualify him to testify at trial as an expert on recidivism.
    He is a counselor, not a scholar of sex crimes or re-offense rates, and the cited article is not about recidivism statistics. It's
    about a counseling program for sex offenders he then ran in an Oregon prison. His unsupported assertion about the
    recidivism rate for untreated sex offenders was offered to contrast with his equally unsupported assertion about the lower
    recidivism rate for those who complete his program. [102] In fact, dozens of state, federal, and independent university
    studies have all concluded that sexual re-offense by those forced to register as “sex offenders,” are consistently low, not
    even a tenth of the erroneous 80% claim mentioned in McKune. [103] Instead, this brief relies on anecdotal and irrelevant
    examples to justify their dubious claims.

    The final Amicus brief supporting the Council of State Governments et al., makes a less-than-compelling argument that the
    standard should be intermediate scrutiny because the law is content-neutral. [104] These arguments have been covered
    thoroughly in this report.


    The courts have sided with the rights of registered citizens more often than not in regards to our right to use social media or
    the Internet in general, though some registrants, particularly those on probation/ parole, continue to suffer from strict
    limitations on Internet usage. Victim industry advocates and government agencies continue to spread debunked myths to
    justify wholesale banishment of registrants from social media. Our concern is that if SCOTUS sides with the state, we may
    see an increase of social media or Internet restrictions in the US, a law currently in place only in three US States and one US
    Territory (not counting state laws impacting those on supervision).

  1. Logue, Derek. “Sight Crime: The Complexity of Federal Child Pornography & Obscenity Laws.”
    Web. Nov. 14, 2016. Web. <>
  2. S.314 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)
  3. Watterson, Jeff. “Freedom Under Fire – The Unlikely Law That is Saving the Internet.” UA Herald. 6 Jan 2017. Web.
  4. 521 U.S. 844 (1997)
  5. There was only partial dissent from Connor and Rehnquist
  6. Initially H.R.3783 — 105th Congress (1997-1998), but was consolidated into the Omnibus Consolidated and
    Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R.4328 — 105th Congress (1997-1998), Title XIV under
    Society at Stanford Law School. 17 Nov 2008. Web. <
  8. American Civil Liberties Union v. Mukasey, 534 F.3d 181 (3d Cir. 2008)
  9. Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union, 542 U.S. 656, 670-73 (2004)
  10. H.R.4123 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)
  11. Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002)
  12. “Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.” Wikipedia. 2016. Web. <
  13. “CR Survey: 7.5 Million Facebook Users are Under the Age of 13, Violating the Site’s Terms.” Consumer Reports.
    10 May 2011. Web. <
  14. “Children's Internet Protection Act.” Wikipedia. 2016. Web. <
  15. United States v. American Library Association, 539 U.S. 194 (2003)
  16. S.151 — 108th Congress (2003-2004), Pub.L. 108–21, 117 Stat. 650, S. 151, enacted April 30, 2003
  17. “Operation Predator - Targeting child exploitation and sexual crimes.” US ICE. June 15, 2012. Web. <https://www.>
  18. H.R.5319 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)
  19. “CONGRESSIONAL RECORD— HOUSE.” July 26, 2006. p. H5885. Web. <https://www.congress.
  20. S.431 — 110th Congress (2007-2008), Public Law No: 110-400 (10/13/2008)
  21. Reitz, Stephanie. “Facebook, states set bullying, predator safeguards.” The Virginian-Pilot. 9 May 2008. Web. <http:
  22. Bowker, Art. “Facebook: Sex Offenders Need Not Apply!” 14 Feb 2011. Web. <http://www.>
  23. Radford, Benjamin. “Predator Panic: A Closer Look.” Skeptical Enquirer.  Sept 2006. Web. <http://www.csicop.
  24. Van Zandt, Clint. “Beware of cyber stalkers.” Today: The Abrams Report. NBC. 6 Apr 2006. Web. <http://www.>
  25. Wolak, Janis Finkelhor, David & Mitchell, Kimberly J. (2009) “Law Enforcement Responses to Online Child Sexual
    Exploitation Crimes: The National Juvenile Online Victimization Study, 2000 & 2006.” Crimes Against Children
    Resource Center
  26. Gladstone, Brooke. “On the Media: Prime Number.” NPR/ WNYC radio, 26 May 2006. Web. <http://www.wnyc.
  27. Wortham, Jenna. “MySpace Turns Over 90,000 Names of Registered Sex Offenders.” NY TIMES. 3 Feb 2009.
    Web. <>
  28. Stone, Brad. “Report Calls Online Threats to Children Overblown.” NY Times. 13 Jan 2009. Web. <http://www.>
  29. Cook, John. “How the Weirdos Behind 'To Catch a Predator' Blew $1.2 Million.” Gawker. 7 Apr 2011. Web. <http:
  30. Ariens, Chris. “Man Arrested in ‘To Catch A Predator’ Sting Acquitted.” TV Newser. 17 Aug. 2011. Web. <http:
    //>; Ellis, Tiara M. “Sex-
    predator arrests in Murphy rejected.” Dallas Morning News. 2 Jun 2007. Web. < https://web.archive.
  31. Montopoli, Brian. “More Criticism For "To Catch A Predator”. CBS News. 28 Mar 2006. Web. <http://www.>
  32. Stelter, Brian. “NBC Settles With Family That Blamed a TV Investigation for a Man’s Suicide.”
  33. Woodman, Spencer. “Chris Hansen Is Back to Catching Predators.” New Republic. 18 Oct. 2015. Web. <https:
  34. Jones, Lisa M. ,Ph.D.*, Mitchell, Kimberly J., Ph.D., and Finkelhor, David, Ph.D. “Trends in Youth Internet
    Victimization: Findings From Three Youth Internet Safety Surveys 2000 –2010.” Journal of Adolescent Health. 23
    Sept 2011. Web. <>, p.2
  35. Ibid., p.4
  36. Ibid., p.5-6
  37. “Welcome to Safety Zone Advocacy.” Safety Zone Advocacy. 2015. Web. <>
  38. Finkelhor, David, Mitchell, Kimberley, & Wolak, Janis. “Online Victimization: A Report on the Nation’s Youth.”
    Crimes Against Children Research Center. Jun 2000. Web. <> p.1-4
  39. Wolak, Janis, Finkelhor, David, Mitchell Kimberly J., & Ybarra, Michele. “Online “Predators” and Their Victims.”
  40. “New Study Reveals 14% of Teens Have Had Face-to-Face Meetings with People They’ve Met on the Internet.” Cox
    Communications & NCMEC. Press Release. 2006. Web. < http://www.cox.
  41. “Parenting the Internet Generation: 7 Potential Threats and 7 Habits for Internet Safety.” Covenant Eyes. 2010. Web.
  42. Ind. CA 35-42-4-12(b); Minn. Stat. 244.05(6)(c); Nev. RSA 176A.410(1)(q), 213.1245(1)(p); N.J.A.C. 10A:71-6.11
    (b)(23), 2C:43-6.4(f)(1); NY Pen. Law 65.10(4-b); S.C. CA 23-3-3555;  TX GCA 508.1861(b)
  43. Mother Jones. “McCain Admits He Doesn’t Know How To Use A Computer.” Huffington Post. 19 June 2008. Web.
  44. Extein, Andrew. “Digital Darkness and Silence for Sex Offenders in the Information Age.” Truth Out. 14 Feb 2015.
    Web. <
  45. Ibid.
  46. Doe v. Shurtleff, 628 F.3d 1217 (10th Cir. 2010)
  47. Doe v. Nebraska, 898 F.Supp.2d 1086 (D. Neb. 2012)
  48. Doe v. Prosecutor, Marion County, Indiana, 705 F. 3d 694 (2013)
  49. Doe v. Jindal, U.S.D.C. (M.D. La.), Case No. 3:11-cv-00554-BAJ-SCR (2012)
  50. HB 620 (2012), Act No. 205, Effective 1 Aug 2012 <>
  51. State v Packingham, 748 S.E.2d 146 (N.C. Ct. App. 2013)
  52. State of North Carolina v. Packingham, No. 366PA13 (NC Sup Ct. 2015)
  53. Hitz, John. “Removing Disfavored Faces from Facebook: The Freedom of Speech Implications of Banning Sex
    Offenders from Social Media.” Indiana Law Journal. Summer 2014. Web. <
  54. Volokh, Eugene. “Law forbids you from using Facebook — but, hey, you can use the Paula Deen Network instead.”
    Washington Post. 25 Apr 2016. Web. <
  55. Ibid.
  56. Feldman, Noah. “LAW: Sex Offenders Don't Have a Right to Facebook.” Bloomberg View. 12 May 2016. Web.
  57. Post, David. “On ‘ample alternative channels of communication,’ the First Amendment, and social networking.”
    Washington Post. 16 May 2016. Web. <
  58. Petition at
  59. City of Ladue v. Gilleo  512 U.S. 43 (1994)
  60. Disqus Terms of Service, <>
  61. FreankAboutPolitics. Disqus comment, 2016. Web. <>
  62. See Magnoli, Mike. “Local group wants to make changes to sex offender registry.” WPEC CBS 12. 30 Jan 2017.
    Web. <>,
    The site dos not contain an area for comments. However, the same media outlet created a Facebook post for the
    article at <>
  63. “Most popular social network websites in the United States in October 2016, based on share of visits.” Statista.
    2016. Web. <
  64. “Mobile audience reach of leading smartphone apps in the United States as of December 2016.” Statista. Dec 2016.
    Web. <>
  65. Shanahan, Marie. “More news organizations try civilizing online comments with the help of social media.” Poynter.
    The Poynter Institute. 16 July 2013. Web. <
  67. Packingham v. NC, SCOTUS Docket # 15-1194, Reply Brief for Petitioner, II-5-c. Found at <http://www.>
  68. Chammah, Maurice. “Should Prisoners Be Allowed to Have Facebook Pages?” The Marshall Project. 14 Apr 2016.
    Web. <
  69. Kassim, Saleem. “Twitter Revolution: How the Arab Spring Was Helped by Social Media.” POLICYMIC 3 July 2012.
    Web. <
    media> (“In Arab countries, many activists who played crucial roles in the Arab Spring used social networking as a
    key tool in expressing their thoughts concerning unjust acts committed by the government.”).
  70. Bijan Stephen. “Social Media Helps Black Lives Matter Fight The Power.” Wired. Oct 2015. Web. <https://www.>
  71. Ngak, Chenda. “Occupy Wall Street uses social media to spread nationwide.” CBS News. 13 Oct 2011. Web. <http:
  72. Logue, Derek. “A Concise History of the Anti-Registry Movement.” Once Fallen. Nov. 15, 2013. Web. <http://www.>
  73. “Yahoo Groups.” Yahoo. 2017. Web. <>
  74. “Yahoo Terms and Conditions.” Yahoo. 2017. Web. <>
  75. “Pseudonyms drive communities!” Disqus. 2013. Web. <>
  76. Kirkland, Sam. “HuffPost policy banishes trolls — and drives away some frequent commenters.” Poyter. The
    Poynter Institute. 7 Jan. 2014. Web. <
  77. Brindle, Beth. “What is doxxing”? How Stuff Works. InfoSpace Holdings LLC. 2017. Web. <http://computer.>
  78. “Public Safety Information on “SWATTING”. May 2015. Web. <https://www.911.
  80. “Anonymity.” Electronic Frontier Foundation. 2017. Web. <>
  81. Doe v. Swearingen, CASE NO. 4:16cv501-RH/CAS (US Dist Ct N.D. FL), Preliminary Injunction. Found online at
  82. People v. Minnis, 2016 IL 119563
  83. Post, David. “A setback for First Amendment protection for anonymous speech.” Washington Post. 31 Oct 2016.
    Web. <
  84. Brief of Amici Curiae Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Thirty Technical Experts and Legal Scholars,
    and Five Privacy and Civil Liberties Organizations in Support of Petitioner. Packingham v NC, SCOTUS Docket No.
    15-114. Found at <>, II-A,
  85. Supra, note 53, at 1360, footnote 245, citing United States v. United Foods, Inc., 533 U.S. 405, 410 (2001).
  86. Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 705 (1977)
  87. West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette 319 U.S. 624 (1943)
  88. Supra, note 53, at 1351
  89. Id., see also IND. CODE § 35-42-4-6 (Supp. 2013); LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 14:81.3 (Supp. 2013); NEB. REV.
    STAT. ANN. § 28-320.02 (LexisNexis 2009).
  90. Id., at 1353
  91. Id., at 1355
  92. Brief for Amici Curiae the Cato Institute, the ACLU, and the ACLU of NC in support of Petitioner. Packingham v NS,
    No. 15-1194 (SCOTUS). Found at <
  93. Id. At 18, citing Johnson v US, 135 S. Ct. 2551, 2556 (2015)
  94. Id., at 20.
  95. Amicus Curiae brief of Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and Center for Democracy in Support of
    Petitioner. Packingham v. NC, SCOTUS Docket # 15-1194, found at <
    content/uploads/2016/12/15-1194_amicus-petitioner-EFF.pdf>, p.29
  96. Id., at 26, citing Sorrell, et al. v. IMS Health Inc., et al. ___564 U.S. (2011) at 563; Citizens United v FEC, 558 US
    310, 340-341 (2010) [depriving “the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech” undermines their
    ability “to establish worth, standing, and respect”]; Arkansas Writers’ Project, Inc. v Ragland, 481 US 221, 232
    (1987) [state “cannot justify selective taxation of certain publishers”]; Niemotko v Maryland, 340 US 268, 272
    (1951) [denial of park permit to Jehovah’s Witnesses because of “dislike for… the Witnesses” was unconstitutional]
  97. Id., citing Poloce Dept. of the City of Chicago v Mosley, 408 US 92, 96 (1972)
  98. Id., citing Sorrell, 564 US at 565, RAV v City of St Payl, 505 US 377, 391 (1992), City of Ladue v. Gilleo, 512 U.S.
    43, 56 (1994)
  99. Brief of Amici Curiae State of Louisiana and Twelve Other States in Support of respondent. Packingham v. NC,
    Docket No. 15-1194, found at <
    1194_amicus_resp_louisiana.pdf>, p.17
  100. McKune v Lile, 536 US 24 (2002)
  101. Smith v. Doe, 538 US 84 (2003)
    ABOUT SEX CRIME STATISTICS. 30 Constitutional Commentary 495 (2015). Web. <https://papers.ssrn.
    com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2616429>, p.497-498
  103. Logue, Derek. “Recidivism 102—Sexual Recidivism Stats by Various Studies – Compiled by Once Fallen.” 2016.
    Web. <>
  104. Brief for Council of State Governments, International City/ County Management Association, and International
    Municipal Lawyers Association as Amici Curiae in support of North Carolina. SCOTUS Docket No. 15-1194. Online
    at <>
(c) 2007-2017 Derek W. Logue. No part of this website may be used in any way without expressed written consent of the site owner.