According to a NY Times article today NY State’s Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, is pushing for a bill that will keep level 3 sex offenders from registering on sites like Facebook and Myspace. While I applaud the effort I wonder if the bill is just window dressing for an upcoming political season.
The bill proposes that higher level sex offenders must register an email address with their probation officer. States would then be able to share these email address and cross check them with the Facebook data base. Last time I checked getting an email address was a tad easier than picking up a hot dog at a 7-11.
Think about it. I have more email address than I can handle, look I just signed up for another one, its that easy. Currently both Myspace and Facebook bar any sex offender from registering on their sites and Myspace has a team of individuals that monitor new accounts looking for sex offenders.
Mr. Cuomo stated that he did not believe the bill would restrict the rights of any sex offenders but it will be interesting to see if anyone takes up the case when the law passes. The real problem is that creating a social profile is increasingly easy and incredibly difficult to control.
This is a problem I wish I had a solution for, it is something that can keep you up at night. What if we find an effective way to stop sex offenders from using Myspace and Facebook, won’t they just turn to Xbox Live and Playstation Home next.
If politicians and Corporate America are serious about halting sex offenders from using social networks sterner actions need to be taken. The problem then becomes, who sets these limits. Do Facebook and Myspace require a Social Security numbers or maybe a drivers licenses to register ? Do we want those companies having that kind of information. I don’t know.
The problem of sex offenders and the internet will not be solved by passing a bill that requires individuals to register an email address. I would love to hear if anyone out there can think of a solution to this problem. Let me know.