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NetChoice v. Griffin

Key Takeaways:
  • AR’s SB 396 violates the First Amendment by mandating that leading websites collect and verify sensitive personal information about their users to allow them access to digital communication tools.
  • The United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas granted NetChoice's request for a preliminary injuction to stop the law going into effect.
What's At Stake
  • Arkansans’ First Amendment rights are under threat from the government forcing them to provide sensitive information to websites to view them.
  • SB 396 risks the leaking of sensitive information, like photos of driving licenses, by forcing websites to collect and process this information.
  • The law puts the government in charge of how young people use the internet, rather than families and parents.
  • It also burdens all Arkansans with sharing personal information to be able to use online services regardless of their age.
Case Brief

Case Status: Injunction Granted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas

Latest Update: August 31, 2023

Attorneys:

  • Paul Clement
  • Erin Murphy
  • James Xi
  • Joseph DeMott


Firms:
Clement Murphy

Timeline
  • District Court
    6/29/2023 NetChoice Files Initial Complaint
  • District Court
    7/7/2023 NetChoice Files Request for Preliminary Injunction
  • District Court
    8/15/2023 Preliminary Injunction Hearing in U.S. District Court
  • District Court
    8/31/2023 Preliminary Injunction Request Granted

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

Link to bio

Nicole Saad Bembridge – Associate Director of Litigation

Link to bio

Paul Taske – Litigation Center Counsel

Link to Bio

Court Filings

The Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division, issued its decision on August 31, 2023, granting NetChoice’s request for a preliminary injunction.

Court Documents Associated with the Preliminary Injunction Request:

Filings in Support of Our Motion for a Preliminary Injunction

On November 28, 2023, NetChoice filed a Motion for Summary Judgment to the U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, Arkansas.