NY State Demands Email Addresses/Usernames Of Sex Offenders

from the grandstanding-to-protect-the-children dept

Chris 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.

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    PaulT (profile), 19 May 2008 @ 12:11pm


    "How is the state going to know how many nicknames or email addresses one person has?"

    They won't.

    "personally, I would like to kill all of them (at least child molesters)"

    ...and that's the real can of worms. Should child rape automatically carry higher penalties than adult rape? What constitutes molestation? - there have been countless reports where the term has been misused for everything from a parent spanking their kid to a teacher holding a kid to stop them from beating on another child - where's the line? What about those people who are technically guilty of child rape, even though they were only 14 at the time themselves? How do you separate those who represent a real danger from those who got caught out doing something minor (the aforementioned mooning offences, for example).

    Sadly, I think I'm asking more pertinent and realistic questions here than anyone involved in this kind of legislation ever does - easier to make it look like you're doing something than actually doing something that will be effective.

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