ACLU, EFF challenge law targeting online activities of sex offenders

A voter-approved law targeting human trafficking violates the free speech rights of sex offenders, the groups say

Two civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit challenging parts of a California ballot measure that requires registered sex offenders to turn over their Internet identities and service providers to police.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation said parts of Proposition 35 restrict the constitutionally protected speech of all registered sex offenders in the state. About 81 percent of Californians voted to approve the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act, which increases prison sentences and fines for human traffickers.

Portions of Proposition 35 would require all registered sex offenders -- even those with decades-old, low-level offenses like misdemeanor indecent exposure -- to turn over information about their Internet accounts to police, the EFF and ACLU said in a press release. It's unclear what information sex offenders would be required to turn over, but the information could include email addresses and user names for a variety of websites, the groups said.

The law would require more than 73,000 Californians to turn over the information to police, the groups said. Under the law, sex offenders would be required to report any new Internet accounts and screen names to police within 24 hours, with potential prison time for those who don't.

Many California prosecutors, law enforcement officials and politicians endorsed the measure, which was pushed by Chris Kelly, Facebook's former chief privacy officer.

Supporters said the law will protect children against online predators.

"The Internet has changed the way we live, mostly for the better, but it has given criminals new means to prey on their victims," Kelly said in an earlier statement. "It became clear to me while working at Facebook that, to build a safer online infrastructure, we need better and enforceable laws to deter online predators."

On Wednesday, the day after the election, the EFF and ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit against Proposition 35 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

"The ability to speak freely and even anonymously is crucial for free speech to remain free for all of us," Michael Risher, staff attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, said in a statement. "Stopping human trafficking is a worthy goal, but this portion of Prop 35 won't get us there."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Michael RisherregulationsecurityAmerican Civil Liberties Union of Northern CaliforniagovernmentChris KellyinternetprivacyElectronic Frontier FoundationFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?