By Sara Rizzo . . . People on the sex offender registry in New York State can now access the internet and social media platforms without restrictions, except in some cases. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), Rutgers Law School Constitutional Rights Clinic, and Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York secured a settlement on January 24 ending the ban.
The original Jones et al. v. Stanford complaint was filed against the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and New York Board of Parole in March 2020. The complainants challenged New York’s Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP) and DOCCS Directive 9201.
In 2008, e-STOP was put in place by former Governor Andrew Cuomo while he was Attorney General. The act originally targeted social media platforms like MySpace, AIM and Facebook to keep sex offenders off of those sites. According to NYCLU, e-STOP has since expanded its definition of social media to include websites with profiles, log-ins and subscription services.
The DOCCS website currently says e-STOP applies for those on the sex offender registry if they meet one of the following criteria:
- The victim of the offense was under the age of 18 at the time
- They have been designated a Sex Offender Registry Level 3 sex offender
- The internet was used to facilitate the commission of the crime
According to the amended Jones et al. v. Stanford complaint, Directive 9201 completely banned all internet access for sex offenders under community supervision. This complaint was filed in June 2020.