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US Prisoners Sent to Solitary Confinement Over Facebook – Digital Watchdog

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In the South Carolina prison system, accessing Facebook is an offense on par with murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking.

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Hundreds of inmates in the US state of South Carolina prison system have been sentenced to years of solitary confinement for accessing Facebook and other social networking sites, the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in a press release.

“Through a request under South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act, EFF found that, over the last three years, prison officials have brought more than 400 hundred disciplinary cases for ‘social networking’ — almost always for using Facebook,” the EFF said on Thursday. “The offenses come with heavy penalties, such as years in solitary confinement.”

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Some inmates have family members accessing their online accounts for them, while others access the internet directly through contraband cell phones, according to the internet watchdog.

The inmates’ actions have resulted in harsh punishments by prison authorities that include nearly 40 years of solitary detention and 74 years’ worth of lost telephone and visitation time, as well as restrictions on canteen privileges.

“In the South Carolina prison system, accessing Facebook is an offense on par with murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking,” the EFF said.

The EFF is a leading nonprofit organization founded in the United States in 1990 amid rapid global internet adoption that defends digital civil liberties and online free speech and fights illegal surveillance by government agencies.

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