The day before, a Louisiana bill forbidding registered sex offenders from using social networking sites was approved by a state House committee.
“If you’re convicted of a crime and you serve your time, there are very few things that extend beyond that — like some states have felony disenfranchisements and that sort of stuff,” Robson explains.
The aim of these approaches is understandable, but their effectiveness is questionable, and some experts see potential for it to backfire.
What’s more, the breadth of these restrictions, and the inexactness of who is targeted, raise an issue unlikely to garner much sympathy: fairness to sex offenders. Schneiderman announced that through an initiative dubbed “Operation: Game Over,” several major gaming companies had removed the profiles of more than 3,500 registered sex offenders in the state.
“But when the United States Supreme Court upheld civil commitment and sex offender registries and all of that, they talked about it as civil and as not criminal.” Now, in evaluating whether bills like the one in Louisiana infringe on First Amendment rights, courts “don’t have an analogy, so sometimes they go toward criminal law, as though these people are in prison and as if this is part of punishment.” Of course, many people believe that there are compelling reasons for that.
Constitutionally speaking, where can the line be drawn?There are already strict restrictions placed on where sex offenders can live in the real-world — how far can we go in limiting their existence in the virtual realm?