back to article You can't take the pervs off Facebook, says US Supreme Court

Facebook is a sex offender-friendly zone – by order of the Supreme Court. The unanimous decision by the justices strikes down a North Carolina law that forbade anyone found guilty of a sex crime from using "commercial social networking websites" such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, using the logic that they allow minors to …

  1. Woodnag Silver badge

    Ex-pervs, not pervs

    Convicted sex offenders are presumed to be ex-pervs after doin' da time. So the lede "You can't take the pervs off Facebook, says US Supreme Court" is inaccurate. "The pervs" are still incarcerated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Childcatcher

      Re: Ex-pervs, not pervs

      Haven't you heard? Normal rules don't apply to sex offences. Please report to your nearest re-education camp.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Ex-pervs, not pervs

        were all those folks who did time for being gay "rehabilitated" when they came out?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Ex-pervs, not pervs

          "were all those folks who did time for being gay "rehabilitated" when they came out?"

          it depends on what you mean by 'came out'

          (I don't think this has happened for a few decades, or am I wrong?)

  2. kain preacher

    Hun were did you get that idea. If that was the case they would not be required to register and notify the police. In places like California failing to register can get you civil committed to the phyc ward up to 180 days.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course they want 'm banned...

    It makes the lives of the enforcement a whole lot easier: now they wouldn't have to take the effort to actually look into what these people are doing, they can simply down the hammer whenever they spot signs of "social media".

    Maybe I'm an old cynic but still... I have no love lost for people who abuse children. If it were up to me they'd spend half their lives in jail for that. But I also think that when they served their time you should also give them a fair chance to redeem themselves and sort it all out. And suggestions like these don't do that. As said: I think it only benefits law enforcement more than anyone else.

    And the reason for my skepticism? Simple: this is what the government, in general, is very good at: trying to do less work for its citizens while still demanding the same amount of taxes for it. You see this happening in most countries throughout the Western world.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Of course they want 'm banned...

      "But I also think that when they served their time you should also give them a fair chance to redeem themselves and sort it all out"

      exactly. but the SJW's and "for the children" crowd want to punish these people *FOR* *LIFE*. Personally, I think it's already "gone too far" with the 'sex offender' registries and unnecessary restrictions on where they can live or work, etc.. There have been cases where a minor who takes naked pictures is now on an offender list for child pornography, or a case where an 18 yo has sex sith a 16 yo girlfriend and some SJW decides to ruin the 18yo's life [though the 2 get married later on]. And they were dating before the 18yo turned 18. So go figure.

      If the law is merely an excuse to SCREW SOMEONE you don't particulaly like, or something to use as a stepping stone to greater power and influence, something's wrong with the law.

      and when people are overly SJW "offended" and "outraged", I quote Shakespeare: "The lady doth protest too much". Or, a new twist on a familiar bible quote: those ninny nannies who are busy getting 'motes' out of other people's eyes should pay attention to the LOGS in their own, and last I checked, a 'mote' is a teensy piece of the SAME THING that the LOG is made from...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

    It's pretty easy to be labeled as a sex offender without doing anything even remotely close to what people think. For example, an 18-year-old having sex with a 17-year-old who is prosecuted would be forced to register as a sex offender. Unfortunately, the prosecutorial zeal to nail as many scalps as possible to their walls - especially ones they can dump a nasty label like "sex offender" on - is considered massively career-enhancing. That makes it difficult to sort out the genuinely bad people from those who simply were a target of convenience for law enforcement. This is similar to felonies in the US - "felony" has been defined down so far that the label alone doesn't really mean as much as it should.

    Some other things that can get you labelled:

    Sharing nude photos as a minor with another minor

    Visiting a prostitute

    Public urination

    Flashing / streaking

    Sibling incest (gross... but really a felony?)

    And, my favorite, a 13-year old was labelled for trying to hug another student. No shit.

    Anyone who thinks this is just right-wing nutjobbery (and most of it is) should also look at California's Affirmative Consent law.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

      My favorite was last year when a football team was going to have a team picture, and one player dared another to stick the top of his penis out of his pants. The picture was taken, and no one knew except those two guys, and thus the photo was printed in the school's yearbook.

      When it became known (not clear whether he or his friend blabbed it) he was charged with 69(!) counts of indecent exposure - one for every person who was present when the photo was taken! PLUS a felony count of "furnishing items harmful to a minor" because 3400 copies of the yearbook were printed and distributed to the school, which has plenty of minors of course. Guess he's lucky they didn't charge him with a felony for every yearbook given to a minor.

      Now I've heard of people getting arrested for indecent exposure for flashing/streaking/etc. but never for multiple counts adding up all the people that might have seen them. Someone streaking in a stadium at a sporting event could be locked up for life, especially if they got on national TV before the censor could hit the button!

      Why the hell did England have to send us the Puritans? Couldn't you have sent them to Australia and given us the convicts?

      1. Meph
        Coat

        Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

        @DougS

        "Guess he's lucky they didn't charge him with a felony for every yearbook given to a minor.

        It sounds to me like someone wanted to make an example of him to curb similar pranks in the future. Personally, I think it's a little heavy handed, but then I also feel that younger generations appear to have less grasp of "actions have consequences" than they possibly should.

        "Why the hell did England have to send us the Puritans? Couldn't you have sent them to Australia and given us the convicts?

        I'm not totally sure that anyone that up-tight would have survived the great land of Oz. Similarly, I don't think the typical Australian larrikinism would have worked very well for the leaders of the free world.

        1. Diogenes

          Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

          No we got them as well - we call them "wowsers" rather than Puritans

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Meph

          I'm not totally sure that anyone that up-tight would have survived the great land of Oz.

          You say that like its a bad thing.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

          "but then I also feel that younger generations appear to have less grasp of "actions have consequences" than they possibly should."

          Can you point out to a specific generation who actually had such a grasp that they never did something like that? Because as a 40+ year old, I don't see anything out of the ordinary in younger generations. Stupid pranks are stupid pranks, they're not something new. A penis printed in a yearbook so small that nobody noticed it until told probably won't have caused too many cases of blindness.

          1. Meph
            Meh

            Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

            @AC

            I did attempt to use language that would indicate it as a personal opinion, rather than a sweeping judgement, but there you go.

            Warning: Anecdotal evidence incoming.

            Speaking as another 40+ year old, I recall when I was still in school there was a specific point where the actions == consequences dynamic shifted. For the most part, children my age had a fair grasp of where the lines were. Almost all of us also knew which ones could be pushed, and which ones to avoid like the plague. For example, none of us would have dreamed of physically assaulting a teacher.

            While I was in high school, the "things you can't do to kids" message started coming out. While I agree with the spirit of the message, it's pretty clear that the delivery of the message was fumbled badly. To the point where a kid threw a compass (think circle drawing) at a teacher. The teacher ended up with half an inch of steel spike stuck in his leg, and the student got a two week holiday from school for his crimes. This is one example of many that occurred at that particular school. While I'm aware that demographics have an impact on this type of thing, the demographics for this particular school hadn't changed in the six year gap between these events, and this was a comparatively small school. Furthermore, before this point in time, even the schools in the area with the worst possible reputation did not have reported incidents of this type, however after this time, such reports have become common.

            I remember many stupid pranks being performed by people my age and older. I've also heard about many other old-time pranks that may have been over the top, and involved petty larceny or minor property damage. What I don't recall hearing about regularly until much more recently are stupid pranks that led to criminal records, permanent disability, or even death.

            I should point out that you latched on to my comment about actions having consequences (and specifically highlighted that young people in general, regardless of generation, don't seem to grasp it), but ignored the fact that I felt that in the specifically discussed case, that I personally think they were heavy handed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

        Before 1776, all convicts sentenced to transportation were sent to North America and the West Indies. This was from the 1600s onwards. So you got both lots. The Puritans went voluntarily of course.

        Owing to the revolting Americans later transportation was to Australia

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

          Before 1776, all convicts sentenced to transportation were sent to North America and the West Indies. This was from the 1600s onwards. So you got both lots. The Puritans went voluntarily of course.

          Owing to the revolting Americans later transportation was to Australia

          We should bring "transportation" back!

          I'm sure there's some feudal middle eastern warzone we could get permission of the govt(s) to leave pepole

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Teiwaz

        Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

        "Why the hell did England have to send us the Puritans? Couldn't you have sent them to Australia and given us the convicts?"

        > He He, nope, Puritan emigration was mostly voluntary - you can blame the UK for the Irish due to mismanagement during the famine though - that's fair...

        > Rightwing nutjob population level slowly creeping up in the UK again though - we need a new frontier to pack these types off to.

        1. Oengus

          Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

          Rightwing nutjob population level slowly creeping up in the UK WORLD again though - we need a new frontier to pack these types off to.

          Can I suggest Mars or a centuries long trip in a colony vessel to another solar system (don't particularly care which one)?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

          "> Rightwing nutjob population level slowly creeping up in the UK again though - we need a new frontier to pack these types off to."

          Doesn't Britain still control St. Helena? If not, how about sending them to Antarctica to count penguins, krill and monitor melting ice?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

            "If not, how about sending them to Antarctica to count penguins"

            If we sent the present and past members of the Bullingdon Club they'd keep counting wrong. "Boris, please don't stand there, I counted you in again."

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

            " If not, how about sending them to Antarctica to count penguins, krill and monitor melting ice?"

            hey, don't foist them on us! Why not send them to count the albatrosses, petrels, and sticks near Inaccessible Island?

            Pingu, Tux and Skipper

            1. DropBear
              Trollface

              Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

              " If not, how about sending them to Antarctica to count penguins, krill and monitor melting ice?"

              I suggest sending them digging for precious, rare geological bedrock samples from the North Pole...

      4. GrapeBunch

        Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

        Reportedly, in USA they load up the charge sheet so that the accused will plead "No Contest" to some minor charge (such as, I don't know, Disrespecting the State Flag) which will result in a sentence of parole, rather than face a tense and expensive court case with the slight but real possibility of a 1,000 year sentence. So there's a plea bargain with a "No Contest" and (if White) the other kazillion charges being dropped. Of course, it is an abuse of the legal system, and abuse of the innocent. Hmm, we were just talking about something like that.

        I agree that North Carolina went too far with its law. IANALBIPOOTI.

      5. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

        When it became known (not clear whether he or his friend blabbed it) he was charged with 69(!) counts of indecent exposure - one for every person who was present when the photo was taken!

        How does that work then? Surely the exposure only becomes indecent if one or more of the people present can't cope with it and makes a complaint against the exposer? If nobody objects then nudity is not an offense AFAIK.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @werdsmith - indecent exposure laws

          It is different in various states. Some require intent to arouse either the viewer or the displayer, so if someone was sunbathing nude in a fenced backyard, and a neighbor's kid climbed 20' up a tree and saw them, the sunbather couldn't be prosecuted. That wouldn't stop them from being arrested by a cop who didn't know the law, or visited by one who did who informs them of their neighbor's complaint and asks them to refrain.

          I don't know the law in NC, but 69 counts was especially ridiculous because even if everyone on the football team knew about it, most of them couldn't have seen it even if they tried. That's a stretch of the law I've never seen before, where simply knowing someone is exposing themselves is enough. I wonder if the DA who filed those charges realizes that everyone walking around is completely naked underneath their clothing?

      6. Patrician
        Happy

        Re: Sex offenders covers a lot of ground

        ..."Why the hell did England have to send us the Puritans? Couldn't you have sent them to Australia and given us the convicts?" ...

        We didn't "send" you any puritans, they went of their own free will; we did send, generously, quite a few convicts though just to be fair and spread them around a bit.*

        * an estimated 52,000 convicts were sent to America between 1718 and 1775.

  5. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    This is very close to being "if you've previously been convicted of crime X you are forever banned from ever communicating with any other human being ever".

    Computers are today's "using a pencil". Email is today's "writing a letter". Social media is today's "talking to friends". Would any offence in the past have resulted in you being banned from using a pencil or writing a letter, let alone just plain opening your mouth and letting words come out in the direction of your mates in the pub?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Would any offence in the past have resulted in you being banned from using a pencil or writing a letter ...

      Actually yes. One of my grandfathers was banned from writing letters for telling a few jokes about the father of the nation, Joe Stalin. Of course, that was on top of 10 years of penal servitude; he didn't get the maximum considering that this was his first offence. He was never heard from again, although he apparently nearly made it to the end of the term.

      All in all, not so dissimilar from how your average sex offender would be treated by the land of the free today.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      just plain opening your mouth

      Yes. Have a look at the history of convictions for sedition.

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      But what about Bank Robbers?

      Why are Bank Robbers still allowed to have bank accounts and use money? Shouldn't North Carolina ban this too - the logic looks good to me.

  6. FozzyBear
    Facepalm

    Dancing baby with music in the background and they issue a take down notice, Seriously!!!

    Well they say the law is blind, they just never told me it lacked common sense.

    1. Justin Case
      Mushroom

      But someone makes money?

      If the video goes viral, many people are entertained. Should people not pay for their entertainment? Somebody probably gained something, I don't know, from advertising alongside the video?

      Was the reason for the popularity merely the dancing baby? Or was it the combination of the efforts of the music makers and the proximity of a jiggling sprog? If it was the former then a silent video would have done, or a nice piece of royalty free music pap. Otherwise, why should YouTube, baby's mother and all, profit from this and the musicians not?

      Freetards the lot of you!

      1. David Nash

        Re: But someone makes money?

        "Otherwise, why should YouTube, baby's mother and all, profit from this and the musicians not?"

        The musicians or other rights holders presumably profit from the mother's playing of the music, or the radio station if it was such. The inclusion in the background is using that music, yes, but *fair* use. Not copyright infringement.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Well they say the law is blind, they just never told me it lacked common sense."

      It did once (common law) but that didn't provide the big fees, so Statute Law was introdiuced. It's written by Civil Servants and passed by MPs or representatives who don't have time to read it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Common Sense

      anyone who is part of the US Law Enforcement, Legal, Justice and Local and State Governments has to undergo a frontal lobotomy where every vestige of Common Sense and Fair Play is surgically removed from their body.

      Rulez is Rulez and they must be obeyed to the ultimate letter.

      Once you understand that then the handing down of 1,000 year sentences seems to make sense yet the little bit of common sense left in me says really? Is that 70 year old man who pled guilty to a heinous crime of Public Urination such a threat to society that he needs a thousand year sentence?

    4. Bernard M. Orwell

      "the court decided that copyright holders have to "consider fair use" before sending takedown notices "

      I wonder how this law will end up sitting with the companies that run web-crawlers on sites such as YouTube to identify copyright content? As I understand it, these bots are let loose to find *any* video that has no copyright information on it and then immediately slap a takedown notice on them in order to provoke either royalty payments or a copyright infringement claim regardless of whether there is a legal claim or not, and seemingly ignorant of fair use rules. Anyone have any direct experience of this issue?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, a social media ban is just too wide-ranging these days.

    Some of these individuals may be truly reprehensible and ongoing threats to society, but you can't restrict a whole class of people from career opportunities, social interactions or valid political expression that is involved in a ban.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Yes, a social media ban is just too wide-ranging these days.

      Since when was Linkedin social media? I guess if you ban people from "social media" all that's left is anti-social media like stormfront - this could explain a lot of the NC news that we read about.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, a social media ban is just too wide-ranging these days.

        >Since when was Linkedin social media?

        Since they rolled out Faecebook-like changes.

    2. wayward4now
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Yes, a social media ban is just too wide-ranging these days.

      "Some of these individuals may be truly reprehensible and ongoing threats to society, but you can't restrict a whole class of people from career opportunitiesSome of these individuals may be truly reprehensible and ongoing threats to society, but you can't restrict a whole class of people from career opportunities"

      Here's the fun part, there are FIVE forms of abuse, not one. Emotional, intellectual, sexual, physical and spiritual. Yet the focus is on sexual. Plus, almost 90% of new sex offenses occur with either family, friends of family, friends of the victim or other authority figures. In other words, the "Registry" points to obvious offenders but not the most likely offenders. Stupid is as stupid does.

  8. Solarflare

    "The state's argument, which its supreme court agreed with, was that rights are often infringed when it comes to certain types of criminal convictions"

    You can easily remove the end of that statement and it is still just as true, in the land of the free...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is a ban necessary at all? Its just so they're seen to be doing something. Really would a ban help stop anything? If you're intent on doing bad things, ignoring a ban is going to be pretty low on your list of things to care about, especially seen as you'll probably be using a different name on the site.

    The other thing about banning people from "teenage dating chat", ok, but they're probably breaking several other laws doing that (as soon as they start talking to someone, I guess), so why the need for a ban.

    "Don't chat up kids or you'll go to prison" is more concise and fit for purpose. thats why the law is already there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not all offences involve children?

    2. wayward4now

      "Don't chat up kids or you'll go to prison"

      Suppose you don't know you are chatting with a child?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unbelievable optimism here..

    I'm skipping the whole sex offenders bit because I don't think I'm an expert on that.

    However: exploring the vast realms of human thought and knowledge (from the judgement).

    No, just no. Nobody in their right mind considers social media a source of knowledge...

  11. JaitcH
    Go

    Highlighting the BIG difference between Britain and the USA (and Canada)

    The Constitution of the USA makes such a difference to living in that regime,

    Compare that to the UK, where the Queen's SUBJECTS reside, where MAY can have a wet dream and wake up and pass legislation that affects everyone's daily life.

    Canada even has a Constitution AND a Bill of Rights!

  12. DagD

    Adults get on facebook?

    I thought that site was just a juvenile bashing, political brainwashing experiment gone bad.

    Interesting.

  13. The Nazz

    What now follows?

    If i've understood the article correctly, or even sufficiently enough, the gist of it says :

    SCOTUS says you cannot ban people from social media such as Facefook because it, social media, is too ingrained in the fabric of modern life that to do so would deny people their first amendment rights.

    Yet, the article also sates that Facebook themselves do that, or seek to do that, to deny the very same people their first amendment rights. So THEY are breaking the law? Or, at least, leaving themselves open to further (heavy sigh) civil litigation.

    A propsoed solution : draconian maybe but remove "minors" from any site with "adult" content.

    I recall a conversation i was having at the gym as to how i had heard/read that the minimum age of joining Facefook at 13 (already too low in my eyes) is flaunted, that kids under that age we're signing on.

    Up chirps a woman, "yeah, my seven year old has her own account".

    £ to a penny, $ to the cent, it is exactly that sort of woman who will complain about the "exposed penis" in the football team picture.

    1. MK_E

      Re: What now follows?

      It's the difference between the government telling you you're not allowed to go to the pub, and Big Dave down at the Dog & Duck saying "get out, you're barred".

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