Judge blocks NJ state law on online sex ads

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A federal judge has dealt a setback to a New Jersey law that would hold Internet providers liable for content sent over their services.

The law was intended to combat the sexual trafficking of minors. It was challenged earlier this year by Backpage.com, a classified advertising website.

In June, the judge issued a temporary restraining order. On Friday, he issued a preliminary injunction preventing the law from being enforced.

The judge acknowledges that the state has a compelling interest in stopping sex trafficking. But he says the state law conflicts with federal law that gives Internet providers a measure of immunity for content provided by third parties.

The law’s sponsor, state Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle, says she hopes the decision will be overturned on appeal.

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