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Is Indiana sex offenders’ Facebook ban unconstitutional?

Federal judge hears arguments today

INDIANAPOLIS – A federal judge is considering the constitutionality of an Indiana law that bans registered sex offenders from social networking sites that are also used by children.

The judge heard arguments Thursday in the challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana that the 2008 law violated sex offenders’ free speech rights. Federal judges have barred similar bans in Nebraska and Louisiana.

The ACLU maintains it’s unconstitutional to bar sex offenders who are no longer in prison or on probation from using online services such as Facebook, LinkedIn and dozens of other sites.

The Indiana attorney general’s office argues that social networking sites aren’t the only forms of communication and that the laws are needed to protect children.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt has says she expects to rule within a month.