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Top court says social media can't block US sex offenders

AFP  |  Washington 

The US Supreme unanimously struck down today a North Carolina that barred registered sex offenders from using

The suit in the nation's highest goes back to a seemingly harmless event in April 2010, when a man named Lester Packingham learned that authorities had dropped proceedings stemming from a traffic ticket he had been given.

Packingham went to his page and wrote how relieved he was. "No fine. No court cost, no nothing spent... Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks, JESUS!" he wrote.

A police officer in Durham, North Carolina who was working to hunt down sex offenders online read the post.

Eight years earlier, at the age of 21, Packingham had been convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

He got a suspended sentence of 10-12 months and his name was placed on a registry of sex offenders. And under a much disputed enacted in North Carolina in 2008, Packingham was barred for 30 years from using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all other

So Packingham was convicted again, this time for using before the 30-year deadline was over. Police who searched his home after the post was read found no evidence of any new sexual misbehavior toward minors.

He appealed, saying the North Carolina violated his right to freedom of expression.

In his legal battle over the past six years, Packingham has won the support of libertarians and groups opposing internet restrictions.

In the other corner, Louisiana and 12 other states backed North Carolina, saying it was important to block sexual predators from collecting information on potential victims.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 19 2017. 21:13 IST