Thursday, December 3, 2009

Online networking sites start purging sex offenders

I recently posted this link to my twitter and it garnered a lot of questions.
First, I would like to mention NY is not the first state to pass an "E-stop" law. The first I recall was Illinois, there will be others if there has not been already.

What is an E-stop law?

“We created e-STOP to help put an end to sexual predators using the Internet as a tool to prey on the innocent,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Facebook and MySpace are successfully using e-STOP to help make the Internet safer, and it’s time for all social networking sites to do their part to keep others from being senselessly victimized.”

E-STOP requires convicted sex offenders to register all their e-mail addresses, screen names and other Internet identifiers with the state."

This is a confusing law. Do I think it will keep sex offenders off the internet? Nope, not really. They broke they law when they chose to act in a predatory way and didn't care. Do I think it is a really useful tool? Yes.

Here's why.

My understanding from speaking casually with both attorneys and law enforcement is that this is a tool to prosecute more than prevent. Most importantly it will require these offenders to officially register their whereabouts online (email, websites, instant messengers, etc.) The registered email addresses could be monitored in some way. When they (offenders) create anonymous, unregistered accounts and get caught using those- it can lead to an E felony for the first violation.

How will they be caught? Worse case scenario in the event a new victim goes to law enforcement. More likely, people like you will turn them in.

In recent news there have been stories about felons casually using networking sites that lead to their capture
Similarly, I expect others to be caught.

With tools like google few are completely safe from their past. Before these tools if someone didn't bump into those familiar with their conviction, they were comfortable to live anonymously and re-offend. Jobs and universities have been using social networking for years to "screen" the lives of their applicants. All those drunk, risque pics are coming back to haunt a lot of co-eds entering the business world.

The moment these offenders begin participating in social networking they are making themselves available for public scrutiny. They can choose not to do so. Involvement in networking sites is a privilege not a right. A truly rehabilitated individual should have no problem with registering their email address. People choose to give up their rights when they break the law. Want to retain the right to vote, own a gun, and freely use social networking without an appeals process...behave.

How do I report someone in violation?
Call 9-1-1
your local/state police

these are some states that are prosecuting North Carolina Texas

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