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Calif. judge considers sex offenders' social media

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge is considering whether sex offenders' use of social media constitutes free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson on Monday said little during a nearly three-hour hearing and gave no indication of how he may rule. He earlier blocked part of a voter-approved requirement that sex offenders inform law enforcement officials of their Internet service provider, turn over chat-room usernames and disclose other vital digital information.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are challenging that provision of Proposition 35, arguing that the rule restricts offenders' rights to free speech.

California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 35 in November.

Proponents say courts elsewhere have rejected similar challenges.

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