The state of Arkansas is undermining the First Amendment due to a new law, SB 396. The law mandates that leading websites verify the identity and age of users. Our lawsuit against Attorney General Griffin over SB 396 will protect the First Amendment and keep online communication safe.
The law undermines the First Amendment by requiring that Arkansans hand over sensitive and private information to be able to use digital communication services. Hinging access to social media and other sources of important information on uploading personal information will harm free speech in the state.
SB 396 also undermines cybersecurity by requiring residents to hand over, and requiring websites to process, sensitive personal information that is highly valuable to bad actors like organized crime groups and online hackers. The law could even require Arkansans to give over this sensitive information to organizations with which they have no prior relationship, just to use basic internet services.
Rather than empower families to lead in the cultural debate over how children and young people use tech, Arkansas has decided that it can use the power of the government to make decisions in the place of the state’s parents.
Additionally, SB 396 violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. constitution by conflicting with federal laws to protect children online, and violates the Commerce Clause by regulating the internet outside of the state’s borders.
Read NetChoice’s complaint, filed 29-June, here.
Chris Marchese – Director of Litigation
Nicole Saad Bembridge – Associate Director of Litigation
Paul Taske – Litigation Center Counsel
The Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division, issued its decision on August 31, 2023, granting NetChoice’s request for a preliminary injunction.
- NetChoice’s press statement on the decision.
Court Documents Associated with the Preliminary Injunction Request:
- NetChoice Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, filed July 7, 2023, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas
- Memorandum in Support of Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, filed July 7, 2023
- NetChoice Reply to the State’s Memo in Opposition, filed August 3, 2023
- NetChoice Supplemental Briefing, filed August 9, 2023
- U.S. District Court’s ruling, granting NetChoice’s request for a preliminary injunction, issued on August 31, 2023
Filings in Support of Our Motion for a Preliminary Injunction
- Filings in Opposition to Our Motion for a Preliminary Injunction