writes in to let us know about a new law passed in NY State that requires any sex offender to register any email addresses and screennames with the government
. Any time a sex offender registers a new name or email address, he needs to alert the state within 10 days. While you can understand the grandstanding reasoning behind this ("protect the children!"), this really does seem fairly pointless. It's similar
to a federal proposal, and all it really does is create a huge bureaucracy. Despite what the mainstream media has portrayed, the vast majority of sex offenders are not online stalking people. Most involve people known to the offender (all too often family members). In fact, recent research has shown that the whole "internet threat" thing is totally overblown
. This isn't to absolve sex offenders of their crimes -- but to question the reasoning behind this sort of law. Those who are really
out to stalk kids online will simply ignore this law -- and all NY State gets is a big bureaucratic mess tracking usernames and emails.