The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a 2008 Indiana law that bars convicted sex offenders from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
ALCU officials claim that the ban violates the first amendment right to free speech. Ken Falk is the legal director of the ACLU of Indiana. He says the Supreme Court has upheld that social media is a form of speech protected by the first amendment, and that the current ban goes too far.
“Everyone wants to protect children but again, we have to recognize that in crafting solutions to deal with our problems, we have to stay within constitutional bounds and this statute goes far beyond that,” he says.
The ban applies to most social media sites that require a password and allow children under age 18 to sign on. Falk says Indiana is not the first state to have groups attempt such a challenge.
“There have been a number of states that which attempted this, theres a statute that was struck down in Louisiana, there’s litigation concerning a similar statute in Nebraska,” he says.
A spokesperson for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, Bryan Corbin, says the Attorney General will defend the current law.
“In passing a law making it a crime for certain convicted sex offenders to use Internet social networks, the Legislature sought to protect young people,” he says.
The plaintiff in the case is a convicted sex offender who finished his sentence in 2003.