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Free Expression

Amicus Brief on Social Networking Service and Sex Offenders

A North Carolina statute bars registered sex offenders from accessing social networking services and other online content; in this brief, CDT joins Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge in arguing that this prohibition violates the First Amendment. Social networking services host an enormous quantity of speech, enabling access to information and providing platforms for individual expression, political and social organizing, and communicating with the government.  The statute’s broad reach, covering commercial websites that enable users to create profiles and communicate with other users, includes many sites beyond the most obvious “social networking sites”.  This compounds the burdensome consequences of the statute, which is not well-tailored to achieve the state’s aim of protecting children.  We urge the Court to strike down the North Carolina statute as a violation of the First Amendment.