A law banning “sexually explicit Internet communication between an adult and minor” has been struck down by a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, according to Fox News. The law was struck down because it was so comprehensive in its censorship and may have unnecessarily banned talking about things that would not necessarily lead to sexual acts.
Judge Cathy Cochran’s opinion in the case claimed that discussing books such as “50 Shades of Grey” or events such as Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl would be considered illegal under the scope of the law. The reason for the law’s broad scope was that it aimed to prevent sexual predators from talking with minors and gaining their trust prior to taking advantage of them.
All of these concerns about the law, of course, are related to the freedoms granted by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which covers the country’s right to freedom of speech.
According to Cochran’s opinion, the law “may protect children from suspected sexual predators before they ever express any intent to commit illegal sexual acts, but it prohibits the dissemination of a vast array of constitutionally protected speech and materials.”
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The trouble with curbing sexually explicit online communication between adults and minors is that the Internet is widely accessible, as well as incredibly anonymous. It’s difficult to tell whether or not a user is a minor, and it’s often difficult to understand a potential predator’s actual intentions unless they are explicitly stated.
The law was struck down in a unanimous ruling, although the law against the sexual solicitation of minors is still intact in the state.