The american highest Court decided indeed that even sex offenders can't be banned from using social media and that their use is a legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights.
In an unanimous decision, the Supreme Court judged unlawful a North Carolina law that prohibits sex offenders in the state from using a wide swath of the internet,
Lester Packingham, a sex offender celebrated in a Facebook post a waived parking ticket that got him in trouble with the North Carolina statute. He wrote "No fine, no court cost, no nothing spent. Praise be to God Wow Jesus !" in 2010 , eight years after pleading guilty in 2002 to taking indecent liberties with a 13-year-age-old minor when he was a 21-year-old college student. He received a suspended sentence and two years probation and was made to register as a sex offender.
Bad luck for him: this message was read by a Durham police officer and he was charged with a felony after he wrote this post on Facebook.
He was convicted of violating his statute with a prison sentence and was registered as sex-offender,
North Carolina law made it a felony for registered sex offenders to access a commercial social networking website if the sex offender knows the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal web pages for 30 years
Packingham challenged the law, claiming it violated his First Amendment right to free speech
During this 6 years long fight, he claimed for the support of libertarian and conservative associations fighting against restrictions of internet use.
On the other side, Louisiana and 12 other federal states supported North Carolina State, efforts for the ban of sex offenders to be able to collect informations about potential victims.
But, US Supreme Court equated today’s internet to community parks: "Social media allows users to gain access to information and communicate with one another about it on any subject that might come to mind” and wrote that "Even convicted criminals—and in some instances especially convicted criminals—might receive legitimate benefits from these means for access to the world of ideas, in particular if they seek to reform and to pursue lawful and rewarding lives"
Such a broad ban would be cutting someone off from what has become the most robust forum for politics, free speech and commercial activity
Find enclosed the Supreme Court decision : [PDF]Packingham v. North Carolina - Supreme Court of the United States
Read this article in the original french version Peut-on être interdit de Twitter et de Facebook ?