Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Federal online sex offender registry bills

A bill introduced in the House of Representatives yesterday would amend & supplement the Sex Offender Registration & Notification Act by encouraging and providing the means for social-networking websites such as MySpace, Classmates, and Friendster to compare their lists of registered participants with the federal government’s sex offender database. (Article)

The present law requires provision of a convicted sex offender’s name, social security number, home & work addresses, license plate number, and a DNA sample and fingerprint & palm prints. Passage of this bill would add e-mail addresses and any regularly-used online identifiers, such as names used in chat rooms and for “instant messages,” and carries provisions for fines and up to 10 years in prison for non-compliance. It also makes it illegal for anyone to misrepresent his age in one of those social chat room settings for the purpose of attempting to engage in sexual activity with a minor.

The e-mail and other Internet information would not be included in generally disclosed public information, but would be available to social networking sites thru confidential applications to the Attorney General’s Office.

Critics in essence are saying, though well-intended, much of the effort would be unenforceable.

Another related effort introduced earlier this month would provide for the establishment of a “national sex offender risk classification task force” to create guidelines for a risk-based sex offender classification system. That bill is also in the House Judiciary Committee. (See Here)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The State of Utah just passed a law requiring Sex offenders to register all internet identifiers and PASSWORDS for each with local law enforcement. This is wholey UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!!!!

The Fourth Amendment of the Contitution of the United States states: "The right of the people to be secure in thier persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and siezures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be siezed."

Essentually the new law in Utah requires a sex offender, whom even is not on supervised released, to also relinguish thier internet passwords so that law enforcement can "monitor: thier account - failure to do so is a felony offense.

Basicially, you must waive your rights against unreasonable search and siezures without a properly issued warrant through probable cause, sworn to under oath, that an offense is occring; or, be arrested for failing to waive that right.

Additionally, this infomation will also be accessable to internet service providers who may deny you service just because you are a convicted sex offender. That in its self put massive restrictions on the freedoms of speech, assembly, and expression protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

These restrictions could also inhibit access of ex-offenders to attend online colleges or universities, by possible being barred from any or all internet service providers.

This law will not survive constitutional challenges, and is a complete waste of taxes - its only political posturing for the upcoming election.