Thousands of sex offenders have been prosecuted for engaging in activity which most of us take for granted. In many jurisdictions, it is a felony for a registered sex offender to access the internet for any reason. Some statutes also prohibit offenders from creating Facebook profiles using LinkedIn, or using any forms of social media. These prohibitions make it virtually impossible for offenders to even own a smartphone. They create great hardship, preventing people from seeking jobs, places to live, or even from communicating with family members. The recent Supreme Court case of Packingham v. North Carolina makes it clear that such blanket prohibitions will no longer withstand judicial scrutiny.
For many people, especially those of certain age, life is lived in the social media spotlight. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have become the popular way to communicate. Ordinary citizens are not the only people who use social media. User beware: If your friends can see your posting, so can law enforcement. A recent survey of agencies throughout the country found that over 80% of those agencies use social media in their criminal investigations. Lawyers also routinely use it to discover evidence about litigants, witnesses and even jurors.