- The 2020 guide to live TV streaming for cord cutters 3 Years Ago
- Popular dating app Growlr just suspended its users 3 Years Ago
- Apple warns coronavirus expected to cause iPhone ‘supply shortages’ Monday 7:59 PM
- Will ‘The Bachelor’ end without an engagement? Monday 7:44 PM
- This ‘Little Women’ scene just became a meme Monday 7:03 PM
- Playable version of Blizzard’s ‘StarCraft: Ghost’ leaks online nearly 15 years after cancelation Monday 6:31 PM
- This Twitter extension can block unsolicited nudes from your inbox Monday 6:01 PM
- Jeffree Star wears cornrows after being accused of cultural appropriation Monday 4:49 PM
- Jeff Bezos says he’ll commit $10 billion to combat climate change Monday 4:18 PM
- A TikTok user went on a mission to turn his urine blue by chugging food coloring Monday 3:55 PM
- YouTuber’s vacation in ‘Bali’ was actually staged at Ikea Monday 3:14 PM
- Video shows liquor store manager calling employee ‘f*cking worthless’ Monday 1:16 PM
- Instagram influencer scams followers out of $1.5 million Monday 12:22 PM
- Why did the Israeli military tweet this thirst trap? Monday 10:43 AM
- Jake Paul wants you to have financial freedom… by paying him a monthly fee Monday 10:40 AM
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that a North Carolina law barring convicted sex offenders from using social media was unconstitutional—effectively declaring that having access to social media is protected by the Constitution.
The nation’s highest court ruled 8 to 0 in Packingham v. North Carolina, a case that argued the validity of a law that made it a felony for registered sex offenders to access social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter if they may encounter minors.
The decision, although potentially controversial due to the underlying case, bolsters the role of social media as crucial platforms for constitutionally protected speech in America.
“A fundamental principle of the First Amendment is that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen, and then, after reflection, speak and listen once more,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the court’s decision. “Even in the modern era, these places are still essential venues for public gatherings to celebrate some views, to protest others, or simply to learn and inquire.”
The case involved Lester Packingham, a registered sex offender who posted about his time in traffic court and was subsequently convicted of breaking North Carolina’s law in 2010.
Newly appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch did not take part in the court’s decision.
The First Amendment was the basic foundation of the court’s decision.
By prohibiting sex offenders from using those websites, North Carolina with one broad stroke bars access to what for many are the principal sources for knowing current events, checking ads for employment, speaking and listening in the modern public square, and otherwise exploring the vast realms of human thought and knowledge,” Kennedy wrote in the Supreme Court’s decision.
Many technology advocacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), fought against North Carolina’s law, believing that it was unconstitutional.
In 2016, the EFF wrote that the law “sweeps far too broadly.”
“Social media are one of the most important communication channels ever created,” EFF wrote at the time. “People banned from social media are greatly handicapped in their ability to participate in the political, religious, and economic life of our nation.”
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).