A new precedent for chilling 1st Amendment rights.
Last November, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 35,
the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act. Like “tough on
crime” anti-trafficking legislation around the country, Proposition 35
was presented as bolstering law enforcement's ability to fight human
trafficking by introducing a bundle of new laws that, most prominently,
increased penalties for those convicted of trafficking human labor, made
prostitution a sex crime, and with less public attention, created a new
requirement for registered sex offenders.
Under this last provision, all 73,000 registered sex offenders are
required to submit their Internet service providers and "Internet
identifiers” to their local police department within 24 hours of
creating each new one, or face up to three years in jail. “Identifiers”
include every name or username a registrant uses for any online
activities he engages in, from posting a comment in a news outlet to
The day after Prop 35 was voted into law, the Electronic Frontier
Foundation and the ACLU of Northern California filed a class action
complaint on behalf of two anonymous registrants and the advocacy group,
California Reform Sex Offender Laws, against the provision under
question, claiming that it was unconstitutionally broad and would create
a chilling effect on registrants’ free speech and associative rights.
In response, the District Court immediately issued a temporary
restraining order on Nov. 8, 2012, and eventually, a preliminary
injunction on Jan. 11, 2013.