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N.J. Appeals Court: Sex Offenders Can Be Barred From Social Networking

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A New Jersey state appeals court on Tuesday ruled that paroled sex offenders can be barred from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networking platforms.

Offenders had gone to court to challenge that restriction, saying social networks are important ways to get news, information and find business opportunities.

But a three-judge panel ruled Tuesday that the offenders can be kept off social network as a term of parole. The judges say the restriction is in place to keep them from having "unwholesome interactive discussions" with potential victims.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Jack Sabatino wrote in the ruling that while sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn have uses beyond "interactive communications with third parties," the Parole Board still has to make rules that balance offenders' interests with public safety, the Star-Ledger reported.

In the same ruling, the judges found parole officers can also require offenders to submit to polygraph tests.

A similar law has been in place since 2008 in New York state.

Under that law, sex offenders registered with the state must provide all their screen names and e-mail addresses, with regular updates. The information is sent to two dozen social networking sites which then block the offenders.

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