Court Realizes Lifetime Internet Ban Is Unreasonable

from the seems-a-bit-extreme,-right? dept

We’ve discussed how ridiculous it is for courts to ban people from the internet entirely just because the crime they committed took place on the internet. You don’t see people getting banned from using the telephone because their crime involved a phone. However, judges keep putting such a ban in place. An appeals court has now overturned such a ban, pointing out how excessive it appeared to be. In this case, the guy was “prohibited from accessing any computer equipment or any ‘online’ computer service at any location, including employment or education. This includes, but is not limited to, any Internet service provider, bulletin board system, or any other public or private computer network.” As the article notes, that would mean he basically couldn’t use a mobile phone (or VoIP phone) these days. And, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find a job or class that doesn’t involve computers and the internet in some manner. To ban it completely, for the rest of this guy’s life, was clearly extreme — and it’s good that the appeals court has agreed. As for the lower court, it sounds like they just were so interested in the “internet” angle to the case, they didn’t quite realize the consequences of a complete ban for life.


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Comments on “Court Realizes Lifetime Internet Ban Is Unreasonable”

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21 Comments
P.logo says:

Re: Hey, don't do the crime if you can't do the t

Your comment about sex offenders makes sense because there is significant evidence that the nature of the crime is such that it is physically violent and it is often repeated. But I think you’re comparing apples and oranges if you think that any non-violent crime committed that involves use of the internet should result in a lifetime ban on the internet. Have you never gotten a parking ticket? Forgot to return a library book on time? By your logic a person should never be allowed to drive a car, or be banned from the library for life. Sometimes common sense does actually work.

To get back to the actual case, there are already laws against child porn, and the man was sentenced to prison. Creating arbitrary and unenforceable additional punishments that won’t get to the root of the problem doesn’t help anybody.

You can’t pull out the “think of the children” card unless you’re willing to actually think it through.

krob says:

Re: Re:

anyways, that is a very different genre of crime. Child molesters are banned from being near young children, but are not banned from using the restroom ? Using the internet is the equivalent to using the restroom these days, without it, you are essentially living on the fringe of society. anyways, people who you speak of as the saying goes perfectly fits, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” but these people generally are mentally ill to some degree and emotionally disturbed. The major problem in this country is the lack of nut houses, which the US government in it’s infinite wisdom decided to get rid of a while back, now using the prison system as it’s new nut house + violent criminal storage facility.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t know, I’ve seen repeat drunk drivers banned from ever getting a drivers license again. Several states ban felons from voting or running for office following their release from prison. I think I’ve seen convited doctors prohibited from ever practicing medicine again. Same goes for lawyers convicted.

Also, it must be pointed out that in the case of internet predators, often part of their sentencing deal is a restriction on internet in exchange for less time in prison. Rarely does a felon get the max time in the clink. They barter off years or decades with exchanges of other liberties.

Michael Whitetail says:

Perma ban

This verdict is over-reaching and unconstitutional as it directly impacts the mans ability to work for a living.

As the article states, it is extremely difficult to find work that doesnt make you use “computer equipment or any ‘online’ computer service at any location, including employment or education that includes, but is not limited to, any Internet service provider, bulletin board system, or any other public or private computer network.”

So by these guidelines, the guy couldnt even work at a Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell, or gas station because the registers are networked to those companies private networks, as are the time clocks, phones, and ordering systems.

He couldnt work at a retail store because the credit card machines are networked, nor could he work at a Best Buy, Circuit City, or even as an auto mechanic because these companies have all of their employees working with computers of one type or another.

Basically this guy was sentenced to be forever on welfare because he wouldnt be able to find a job. Thats overly broad and IMHO, cruel and unusual punishment.

Mike4 says:

Re: Perma ban

I agree wholeheartedly, Michael Whitetail, and was thinking the same exact thing when I read this article. The idea of not being able to work with or near a computer seems absurd, but the kicker for me was the idea of this guy trying to get an education without being able to use a computer. Where is that going to happen nowadays?

At this point, there are computers everywhere and more and more of them have the ability to access the internet as time goes on. I don’t think we’re far off from seeing internet-enabled computers built into cars.

An internet-enabled car shouldn’t be an issue for this guy, though, because for the reasons you pointed out, he will never be able to get a decent job again in his life to afford one.

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