Internet Law

Federal Judge Blocks Internet Disclosure Mandate in Voter-Approved Sex Trafficking Law

A federal judge in San Francisco has issued a temporary restraining order blocking an Internet disclosure requirement in a sex-trafficking law approved on Tuesday by California voters.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson cited First Amendment concerns in his order, report the San Francisco Chronicle and the Bay City News Service. The blocked provision apparently requires the state’s 73,000 registered sex offenders to give police their email addresses, online user names and Internet service providers, according to a press release.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed the suit on behalf of two registered sex offenders and a group called California Reform Sex Offender Laws.

The suit challenges the disclosure requirement, but not other provisions in the law, which increases prison sentences and fines for those convicted of sex trafficking. According to the complaint, the disclosure requirements require sex offenders to reveal membership in online groups, including groups devoted to political reform, and infringe on their right to engage in anonymous speech on the Internet.

Henderson will consider a longer-lasting injunction on Nov. 20.

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