Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9:05 pm
Sex offenders testify against social networking ban
"One after another, nearly a dozen John Does took the stand in a fifth-floor federal courtroom in Lincoln this week.
You wouldn't know it by looking, but they all are convicted of crimes that landed them on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry.
And they all are suing the state over changes state lawmakers made to it in 2009 -- specifically, a provision that says they have to provide to their local sheriff's office any remote communication device identifiers and addresses, including serial numbers, telephone numbers and account numbers.
They're also suing over a provision that sets out a penalty for those who knowingly and intentionally use any social networking site, instant messaging or chat room service that allows anyone younger than 18 to access or use it.
The state says the laws serve a significant governmental interest: to protect children from predators [sic]
The three dozen John Does say they violate their First Amendment rights and that, as written, the definitions could be construed to apply even to landline phone calls, cellphone texts and blogs.
Among those who testified were business consultants, IT contractors and retailers who make musical instruments and sell high-end car stereos.
Wednesday morning, one man, who has a software design and consultant business in Omaha, said the Internet is an extension of the real world."