In 2012, a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional for Nebraska law enforcement to collect online information from registered citizens. Just this year, in the Packingham case, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down North Carolina’s law prohibiting registrants from accessing social media sites.
Despite these rulings, it seems the Douglas County, Nebraska, sheriff’s office is making things up as it goes along. Although it is illegal for the sheriff to collect this information, Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Woodward asked a registrant for his email address during the registrant’s regular check-in on Thursday, November 2, 2017.
The registrant informed the deputy that he is not permitted to gather that information.
Deputy Woodward shouted to a colleague, asking if he can ask for email addresses and “Facebook, or stuff like that.”
Deputy Woodward then asked if there were “any changes.” The registrant said “no.” Despite that, Deputy Woodward continued to ask a series of questions which might or might not have pertained to the information he is legally entitled to record.
The registrant reports that each time he checks in, he is asked for slightly different information. This is the second time the sheriff’s office has attempted to gather email and other information to which law enforcement is not legally entitled.
NEBRASKA registrants should know that they are not required to give their sheriff’s office any information about their email addresses or any other internet use.