The Associated Press is reporting that registered sex offenders are fighting hard in US courts to gain access to social networking sites like Facebook — sites which they're currently blocked from using to help protect people against potential abuse.
The legal battles are taking place across the US, in the courts of Indiana, Nebraska and Louisiana. Sex offenders are challenging restrictions to social networks by arguing that the laws "infringe on free speech and their right to participate in common online discussions".
The bans strictly forbid registered sex offenders from joining social networks or using instant-messaging software. Authorities claim the restrictions are needed to protect potential victims from future abuse.
The laws, however, are old — and campaigners point out that access to online communication tools like Facebook has become virtually indispensable for free speech, which is true. I'm just glad I'm not the judge who has to decide if that's a good enough reason to lift the bans. [Associated Press]