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34 U.S. Code § 20917 - Checking system for social networking websites

(a) In general
(1) Secure system for comparisonsThe Attorney General shall establish and maintain a secure system that permits social networking websites to compare the information contained in the National Sex Offender Registry with the Internet identifiers of users of the social networking websites, and view only those Internet identifiers that match. The system—
shall not require or permit any social networking website to transmit Internet identifiers of its users to the operator of the system, and
shall use secure procedures that preserve the secrecy of the information made available by the Attorney General, including protection measures that render the Internet identifiers and other data elements indecipherable.
(2) Provision of information relating to identity

Upon receiving a matched Internet identifier, the social networking website may make a request of the Attorney General for, and the Attorney General shall provide promptly, information related to the identity of the individual that has registered the matched Internet identifier. This information is limited to the name, sex, resident address, photograph, and physical description.

(b) Qualification for use of systemA social networking website seeking to use the system shall submit an application to the Attorney General which provides—
the name and legal status of the website;
the contact information for the website;
a description of the nature and operations of the website;
a statement explaining why the website seeks to use the system;
(5) a description of policies and procedures to ensure that—
any individual who is denied access to that website on the basis of information obtained through the system is promptly notified of the basis for the denial and has the ability to challenge the denial of access; and
if the social networking website finds that information is inaccurate, incomplete, or cannot be verified, the site immediately notifies the appropriate State registry and the Department of Justice, so that they may delete or correct that information in the respective State and national databases;
the identity and address of, and contact information for, any contractor that will be used by the social networking website to use the system; and
(7) such other information or attestations as the Attorney General may require to ensure that the website will use the system—
to protect the safety of the users of such website; and
for the limited purpose of making the automated comparison described in subsection (a).
(c) Searches against the system
(1) Frequency of use of the system

A social networking website approved by the Attorney General to use the system may conduct searches under the system as frequently as the Attorney General may allow.

(2) Authority of Attorney General to suspend useThe Attorney General may deny, suspend, or terminate use of the system by a social networking website that—
provides false information in its application for use of the system;
may be using or seeks to use the system for any unlawful or improper purpose;
fails to comply with the procedures required under subsection (b)(5); or
uses information obtained from the system in any way that is inconsistent with the purposes of this Act.
(3) Limitation on release of Internet identifiers
(A) No public release

Neither the Attorney General nor a social networking website approved to use the system may release to the public any list of the Internet identifiers of sex offenders contained in the system.

(B) Additional limitations

The Attorney General shall limit the release of information obtained through the use of the system established under subsection (a) by social networking websites approved to use such system.

(C) Strict adherence to limitation

The use of the system established under subsection (a) by a social networking website shall be conditioned on the website’s agreement to observe the limitations required under this paragraph.

(D) Rule of construction

This subsection shall not be construed to limit the authority of the Attorney General under any other provision of law to conduct or to allow searches or checks against sex offender registration information.

(4) Payment of fee

A social networking website approved to use the system shall pay any fee established by the Attorney General for use of the system.

(5) Limitation on liability
(A) In general

A civil claim against a social networking website, including any director, officer, employee, parent, contractor, or agent of that social networking website, arising from the use by such website of the National Sex Offender Registry, may not be brought in any Federal or State court.

(B) Intentional, reckless, or other misconductSubparagraph (A) does not apply to a claim if the social networking website, or a director, officer, employee, parent, contractor, or agent of that social networking website
engaged in intentional misconduct; or
(ii) acted, or failed to act—
with actual malice;
with reckless disregard to a substantial risk of causing injury without legal justification; or
for a purpose unrelated to the performance of any responsibility or function described in paragraph (3).
(C) Minimizing access

A social networking website shall minimize the number of employees that are provided access to the Internet identifiers for which a match has been found through the system.

(6) Rule of construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed to require any Internet website, including a social networking website, to use the system, and no Federal or State liability, or any other actionable adverse consequence, shall be imposed on such website based on its decision not to do so.

Editorial Notes
References in Text

This Act, referred to in subsec. (c)(2)(D), is Pub. L. 110–400, Oct. 13, 2008, 122 Stat. 4224, known as the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008, and also known as the KIDS Act of 2008, which enacted this section and section 20916 of this title, amended section 20981 of this title, and enacted provisions set out as notes under sections 10101 and 20981 of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title of 2008 Act note set out under section 10101 of this title and Tables.


Section was enacted as part of the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008, also known as the KIDS Act of 2008, and not as part of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act which comprises this subchapter, or as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 which comprises this chapter.

Section was formerly classified to section 16915b of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, prior to editorial reclassification and renumbering as this section.