Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Illinois Bans Social Network Use By Sex Offenders

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the good-feel-measure-vs.-bad-feel-felons dept.

Communications 587

RobotsDinner writes "Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law a bill that bans all registered sex offenders from using social networks. '"Obviously, the Internet has been more and more a mechanism for predators to reach out," said Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), a sponsor of the measure and a governor candidate. "The idea was, if the predator is supposed to be a registered sex offender, they should keep their Internet distance as well as their physical distance."'"

cancel ×

587 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (5, Insightful)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042119)

I see this dying quickly to a challenge on the basis of rights of association and free speech.

Yes, you can ban them from talking to the punishment here is far too harsh to not be challenged.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (1, Insightful)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042159)

Convicted felons are not allowed to purchase firearms, and that law has held up for awhile. This doesn't seem much different.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042237)

Except for the fact that guns are designed to shoot things. Honestly, I believe that disallowing non-violent felons from the right to bear arms or any other constitutional right is wrong, but social networks are simply talking, and honestly, you can't be molested online, despite what some people might think.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (0, Offtopic)

plopez (54068) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042261)

It could be argued that rape is an act of violence.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042331)

Not when we use the word "rape" to describe a 15 year old consenting to have sex with a 20 year old. You can try to argue semantics and claim that a 15 year old is not competent to give consent, but even so, it is not a violent crime. Rape of the variety that involves a gun pointed at someone's head is a violent crime, and I would not dispute that, but rape that involves no weapon or fighting is just not something I would call "violent."

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042471)

but rape that involves no weapon or fighting is just not something I would call "violent."

Bullshit. It's rape if one of the partners doesn't consent to the activity. The fact that the rapist wasn't armed really shouldn't enter into the calculation, except in so far as that they wind up charged with additional weapons offenses in addition to the rape charge.

Mind you, I don't think statutory rape should be regarded in the same manner as what I described above, but to say that rape isn't a violent crime just because no weapon was involved kind of misses the mark, IMHO. You don't regard it as a violent act to have something penetrate your body against your will?

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042659)

"You don't regard it as a violent act to have something penetrate your body against your will?"

If you:
  1. Do not fight, shout, shove, or resist in any way
  2. Are not being threatened with a weapon of some sort
  3. Were not poisoned or endangered

Then no, it is not violent. Violent crimes involve violence of some sort. A lack of violence makes the crime non-violent. The line has to be drawn somewhere, and it seems pretty fair to set the threshold of a "violent crime" to be "violence was involved." This is not to say that it is perfectly fine to rape someone -- violence is not the sole factor in determining whether or not something was wrong -- but I absolutely would separate a violent rape from a non-violent rape.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042717)

From Fun with offline trolls [kuro5hin.org] :

So I'm talking to the two of them, who by now felt they had to explain themselves to me. Seems they were from a town about thirty miles away, and had known wach other all their lives. Jarret and the other guy were mid thirties, Jen was 22 and had just graduated from SIU in Carbondale.

The other guy was married. "So where's your wife?" I ask. "She didn't want to come."

I guessed she knew Jarry then, but didn't say so. It seems that the married guy had a few beers, too, bacause he's telling me he was fucking Jennie when she was 15. She looks decidedly embarrassed. So I take a shot in her behalf. "Oh, then you're a pedophile?"

He blushes. "er, well, I was only 26"

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (5, Insightful)

Hamilton Publius (909539) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042309)

Agreed, but also not all convicted sex offenders are convicted for crimes that imply all of the outrage associated with the title "convicted sex offenders". As many other posters have pointed out, things like two underage people having consensual sex, public urination, texting a naked picture, etc require registation as a sex offender and apparently being banned from popular social networks. The Economist had a great article about this very subject (cover article actually). They pointed our rightly that the situation is unlikely to get better because no politician wants to be branded as being against coming down tough on "sex offenders".

Are all C programmers sex offenders? (3, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042477)

As many other posters have pointed out, things like ... texting a naked picture, etc require registration as a sex offender

Wow, does this mean ASCII art too? Then I must admit I'm a sex offender! I have sometimes used the expression if (C==8) in my programs...

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042397)

However, a good predetor can get almost any teen to do what they want.

I think it would be better to not allow them to go on to social networks and interact with kids.

And yes, the removal of consititutional ruights from someone who has done there time is wrong.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042501)

Look, if a person is a child predator and cannot be trusted with their rights, then leave them in prison for the rest of their life. Prisons are not just there as punishments; they are there to keep dangerous people separated from the rest of society. Keep the people who are likely to repeatedly molest children in prison, and you won't have to have politicians try to figure out what a "social network" is.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042601)

I accidentally gave this an incorrect tag of "Offtopic". Sorry about that. :(

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042645)

Liberal fag, quit defending these people, they shouldn't be allowed on social networking sites. Boo fucking hoo sex offenders are people too, they should be allowed anything that everyone else has, this is nonsense, you show sympathy because if other states follow these actions you no longer have the right to talk to little kids.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042647)

Except for the fact that guns are designed to shoot things.

And the right to bear them is guranteed by the 2nd amendment to the constitution.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042683)

And the right to bear them is guranteed by the 2nd amendment to the constitution.

Part of which (the Constitution) says:

"No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"

Thus it seems that for better or worse the Constitution has a provision that allows for the deprivation of the liberties of convicted criminals who have been accorded due process of law. If we can take away their right to vote and keep and bear arms, why not the "right" to use Facebook?

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (1)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042279)

The 1st Amendment has generally had stronger protections than the 2nd. You don't *need* a firearm to survive in Society, you do need the ability to communicate with your peers.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (1)

thebheffect (1409105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042565)

I communicate through other means than Facebook. Am I alone in this?

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042355)

I doubt it.

After you've been convicted of a crime, you can certainly have civil rights taken away as a punishment.

But there's something else people might not realize: civil rights under our system can be regulated if there is a compelling public interest in doing so and the regulation is narrowly tailored to serve that interest. My freedom of speech does not entitle me to speak my opinions through a bullhorn at 3AM in a quiet neighborhood. I am required to find other means of expressing opinions. A law against talking at 3AM would be too broad; a law against talking so loud that people inside their houses are unable to ignore it is narrow; it doesn't prevent me from communicating other ways or at other times.

Telling a sex offender he can't communicate with his friends ever again would be unconstitutionally broad. Telling him he can't use social networking sites to do so is a more narrow restriction, what's more there is a rational justification for it. A social networking site provides access to many, many more potential victims than tradtional ways of making and having friends. Not only is there a "law of averages" effect, it's an ideal laboratory in which to hone a script for convincing a victim to put himself at danger. You can be rejected hundreds or even thousands of times, but if you try something different at or near the point of failure, eventually you'll have a diabolically effective approach.

Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (5, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042433)

Telling him he can't use social networking sites to do so is a more narrow restriction, what's more there is a rational justification for it.

No, the "justification" is most irrational.

Lumping violent repeat rapists in with people who pee in the woods when they think they're alone, and claiming that "it's for the children" is 100% completely and totally emotional, and therefor about as far from rational as you can get.

Punishment doesn't fit the Crime (4, Interesting)

Cyner (267154) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042141)

I took a leak outside the bar one night when I was drunk and now I'm banned from Facebook for life.

What's wrong with this picture?

Re:Punishment doesn't fit the Crime (5, Insightful)

fearanddread (836731) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042197)

what's wrong is a society that treats public urination as a sex crime.

Re:Punishment doesn't fit the Crime (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042203)

you seem to want to use facebook

Re:Punishment doesn't fit the Crime (4, Funny)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042255)

I took a leak outside the bar one night when I was drunk and now I'm banned from Facebook for life.

You say that like it is a bad thing.

Re:Punishment doesn't fit the Crime (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042389)

In this case the Illinois legislature. I haven't read the bill, but it's common practice in laws or contracts to provide definitions of terms that are likely to be misinterpreted.

Re:Punishment doesn't fit the Crime (1, Insightful)

kindbud (90044) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042441)

Facebook is a fad, like Myspace, and Geocities. You won't be using it in 3 years.

Re:Punishment doesn't fit the Crime (2, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042503)

>What's wrong with this picture?

Other than urination in public isnt a sex crime in Illinois?

I live in Illinois and have done searches on sex offenders near me, and none of the charges are remotely comparable to your example. Lots of sexual assualt on a minor. A lot. At least half of them and Im not talking 19 yo guy with 17 year girl, but someone with a 10 or 11 year old. Illinois lists the ages of the victims. The rest are regular sexual assault and a few rape charges here and there.

While I have mixed feelings about sexual registrtion in general, I do not see it as the weirdo legal dystopia you suggest it is, at least in my state.

Re:Punishment doesn't fit the Crime (5, Funny)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042513)

I took a leak outside the bar one night when I was drunk and now I'm banned from Facebook for life.

What's wrong with this picture?

That's not the worst bit. You would be banned from Twitter too. At that point, there is little left to live for.

Re:Punishment doesn't fit the Crime (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042621)

Likely, you're also banned from /. for life as well. (It depends on how exactly the law is written.)

Social Networks? (5, Insightful)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042143)

And who decides what a "social network" is?

I wonder when we'll receive calls for govt. regulation of websites to keep it safe for children.

Re:Social Networks? (2, Informative)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042201)

October 1998. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Social Networks? (1)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042701)

More importantly, who cares? If there's a mass exodus of 15-24 year olds from Facebook because it's "uncool", does it really matter? Let them go on Facebook.

Does slashdot count? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042145)

Rob Malda may have to give up his little hobby.

This is stupid (5, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042149)

Either they've served their debt to society or keep them in jail. This half-assed "you're out of jail but you can only do X" is ridiculous.

Re:This is stupid (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042301)

It's kind of like the law makers are admitting the failure of the justice system, isn't it? I'm not necessarily against such an admission, but I don't think that's what was the intended message. *amused*

Re:This is stupid (-1, Troll)

OriginalSolver (552648) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042321)

The problem is sex offenders are not like other offenders. Murders actually have an extremely low re-offense rate. The re-offense rate for sex offenders is unfortunately high. This is why, despite my strong civil liberties leanings, I support a sex offenders register and other measures to keep an eye on them. The alternatives I can think of are all worse for the offenders themselves.

Re:This is stupid (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042381)

If they are so likely to commit their crime again, then keep them in jail. Why on earth would you allow someone out of jail if you expected them to commit their crime over and over again?

Re:This is stupid (2, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042495)

Why on earth would you allow someone out of jail if you expected them to commit their crime over and over again?

Well, one reason is because there is the concept of "due process of law" in this country, which makes it illegal to hold people indefinitely just because they worry you. People are convicted and sentenced for their crimes, and once they have served their sentence they have the right to go free. (*)

You could argue that sex offenders should have longer sentences, but you really don't want to give policement/guards/politicians the ability to keep prisoners in jail indefinitely just because they don't like them. That kind of power quickly leads to the kind of abuses that habeus corpus was made to prevent.

(*) In theory, anyway -- in practice, it seems you can get around this by calling the person a terrorist, at which point the person's civil rights magically evaporate. But just because the application of law is currently f*cked up doesn't mean we should try to make the situation worse.

Re:This is stupid (3, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042571)

"You could argue that sex offenders should have longer sentences"

Bingo. If sex offenders are so likely to recommit their crimes, then give them life sentences. I did not mean to say that they should be held longer than their sentence; they should have their rights restored after their sentence is served, and not live in fear of being arrested again just because they use a computer. If we are not willing to give sex offenders life sentences, then we should not start complaining about them logging on to Facebook when they get out of prison.

Re:This is stupid (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042587)

If they are so likely to commit their crime again, then keep them in jail.

Amen to that. It seems to me that if we kept all of the perverts in jail that this whole discussion about "registries" would be a moot point. May I suggest that we stop arresting ~900,000 people annually for marijuana related offenses in order to make room for the perverts?

Maybe that's the argument the legalization crowd should be making. "Think of the children! Legalize pot!"

Re:This is stupid (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042423)

If they aren't ready to be re-introduced into society then they shouldn't be, it should be as simple as that.

The idea was, if the predator is supposed to be a registered sex offender, they should keep their Internet distance as well as their physical distance

You thats where the problem lies - you know why people go to prison? To keep their Physical distance away from everybody. If they aren't able to handle that reimmersion they shouldn't be. If the guy can live on his own he should sure as hell be able to surf the net alone.

Re:This is stupid (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042431)

No, the rates are not "unfortunately high" compared to other offenders. Any serious examination of re-arrest rates for sex offenders will show that the rates are actually lower.

See the Bureau of Justice Statistics, for example (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/rsorp94pr.htm)

Re:This is stupid (4, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042491)

The re-offense rate for sex offenders is unfortunately high.

[citation needed]

I would like to point out that someone has posted recidivism rate for sex offenders is 5% [usdoj.gov] , whereas the recidivism rate for *all* violent offence is 62% [happinessonline.org] .

Please either cite your source, or admit that you are wrong.

This is incorrect (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042515)

While there are some sub-categories of sex offenders with high re-offense rates, common sense says there are many large, easily-identifiable sub-categories with extremely low rates. Statistics say that even as a whole, they have a lower after-being-caught re-offense rate than most low-level "street crimes" and "street-level organized crimes" such as burglary, theft, drug dealing, etc.

Sub-groups likely to have low offender rates (some of these apply to criminals in general):
* Those in an ongoing treatment program.
* Those who have gone a long time leading a verifiably clean life, usually after many years in a treatment program
* Those who have a proven history of being able deliberately avoid people or situations that fit their "temptation profile," and actually doing so
* Those whose crimes were age-based, but who have demonstrably "grown out of it." This typically means people who were in their mid-teens or younger at the time of their offense or who were in their late teens or early 20s with someone who was close to legal age.
* Those whose life partner/would-be-spouse-but-for-age happened to be underage, and who are still in a stable monogamous relationship
* Those who have had a life-altering experience that makes their old personality a bad indicator of their present one, and whose present personality is clearly not pathological
* Those who recognize that the odds of getting away with it again are very low AND who fear a return trip to prison

Also, those with stable family, housing, and employment situations are much less likely to re-offend than others.

Those who were caught as children or mid-teens and who got into a quality treatment program also have a lower risk profile.

Obviously, before decisions are made on what I just said it will need to be statistically verified. However, I fully expect "common sense" will match reality here.

Re:This is stupid (4, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042629)

This is why, despite my strong civil liberties leanings, I support a sex offenders register and other measures to keep an eye on them.

You're advocating punishing people for crimes hey might commit - I think you have a very confused notion of "strong civil liberties leanings".

Re:This is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042691)

The unspoken lie behind all of this is that "sex offenders" are stalking the InterTubes, waiting to lure your children away. Unfortunately, this is only true in a small minority of cases. The more likely places your kids will interact with sex offenders: at school, in relative's homes, at extracurricular activities. The vast majority of kiddy diddlers aren't sitting in a windowless van outside the elementary school, they're in it. Or leading a troop of 10 year olds on camping trips. Or coaching little league. Or giving the sermon in church. You get the idea.

If a parent is letting their young kid run off and meet strangers outside the home, they've pretty much failed to parent - and that's the only type of interaction with a sex offender this sort of legislation protects against.

Re:This is stupid (1)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042347)

How do you feel about probation then? There are a whole slew of restrictions that come along with that. (I'm not trolling, I'm actually curious)

Re:This is stupid (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042535)

How do you feel about probation then?

Probation is just a different type of sentence - it's no different from prison time in that it's imposed by a judge, after a conviction, on a case-by-case basis.

The problem with them whole "sex offender" thing is that it's an indiscriminate grab-bag of "evil boogeymen" for whom busybody politicians can dream up new restrictions at any time, just to show how much they are thinking of the children. It's political posturing at other people's expense.

(Not the OP, but thought I'd give it a try)

Re:This is stupid (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042663)

Probation is punishment. It's also temporary. Having to register as a sex offender really isn't considered punishment, it's `for the children'.

Re:This is stupid (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042679)

Probation doesn't last for the rest of your life.

Re:This is stupid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042353)

Unfortunately there are a lot of advantages to the current approach. Off the top of my head: The state doesn't have to pay for housing or worry about jail overcrowding, doesn't have to face court or public opinion challenges for unreasonable sentence lengths -- high school lovers where the male goes to jail might actually catch media attention if they were sentenced to life, and this way they get a PR boost every time they can think of a new way to screw over every supposedly-free person labeled a sex offender.

This is an instance of politicians doing a ridiculously good job of optimizing things; if only the voting public weren't so fucking stupid, there'd be a downside to it and their behavior would change.

Re:This is stupid (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042425)

Add parol to jail, and I agree.

A lot of people who broke the laws can be punished without incarceration.

Of course the union for prison guards fights that was of thinking tooth and nail, and they're on of the largest lobbiest. In fact, in California they are behind pretty much every goofy law made in the last 30 years.

Re:This is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042429)

If you drive and make a serious enough accident, in some countries, you can have your driving license confiscated and you'd never be allowed to drive again. The only problem is that the trouble makers won't care if they lose their license and they'll still drive on public roads.

Back to sex offenders: If you punish them and then restrict them from using one way to do their "job", they'll just find another way to do it.

You'll see a pattern soon, if you analyze the details of the system, because the laws are applied as if a doctor would treat the symptoms instead of the actual disease. There must be a way to end these dumb rulings that have nothing to do with the actual problem...

Bzzt! Wrong! (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042671)

Just because someone has gotten out of jail doesn't mean "their debt is paid". There are lots of things that felons are not allowed to do when they get out of jail, often depending on the crime. Many of them aren't allowed to vote or own firearms. If convicted of driving drunk they may be banned from operating a motor vehicle for a period of months to years. They may be barred from certain professions.

Parole and supervised release (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042685)

In many states, you serve "X to Y" - if you are an S.O.B. in jail, you serve longer. Otherwise, you are paroled with restrictions.

In the federal system, for new crimes there is typically no parole BUT there is supervised release for a fixed period of time afterwards. "60 months with 3 years supervised release" amounts to "5-8 years" in the state system, except you are guaranteed parole. For some federal crimes, the supervised release is for life. Of course, in the federal system, the President can always commute your punishment, and end the supervised release early.

The difference between parole/supervised release and sex offender laws is the sex offender restrictions are largely immune from "ex post facto" challenges: As long as there's a credible argument that the laws are protective not punitive is usually enough to get a judge to toss any "but it's ex post facto" suit. Unfortunately, the argument doesn't have to hold water, it just has to sound credible.

Re:This is stupid (4, Insightful)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042709)

Either they've served their debt to society or keep them in jail. This half-assed "you're out of jail but you can only do X" is ridiculous.

"Served his debt to society" is not coterminous with "does not pose a threat to the rights of others -- we would failing our duty to preserve those rights if we did not take reasonable steps to reduce the risk to society as we attempt to reintegrate prisoners into society. We know that some will succeed and some will fall back into crime but, of course, we don't know how it will play out in each individual case. We could keep them all in jail a lot longer because some are still dangerous or we could let them out under reasonable restrictions. The latter seems much more humane, IMO.

The most obvious is the law prohibiting convicted felons from owning firearms. On /. it's easy for people to insist that felons should have all their rights back but I can just imagine how the public would react to a politician that proposes restoring gun-ownership rights for convicts.

Another fairly clear-cut case are the provisions banning those convicted of certain white-collar financial crimes from taking a position of trust (aka, being accountants) over others' money. It seems reasonable that once you are convicted of embezzling your clients'/company's money, that line of work is off limits.

[ IMO, the instant case turns on how narrowly or widely the term "sex offender" is construed -- if it really means "violent people that prety on children" versus "had sex while he was 17 and she was 16". In the former case, I'm not going to lose sleep over child rapists not browsing facebook -- in the latter, well, that just goes to show how retarded our sex-crime laws can be. ]

Reminds me of ... (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042185)

... the sentence that Dade received [imdb.com]

But my question is ... for how long are they "banned" (cause for example a life sentence doesn't mean life anymore)?

Re:Reminds me of ... (1)

Cyner (267154) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042333)

In my state a Life Sentence means until rigor mortis sets in.

Sounds great! (1)

Tenek (738297) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042191)

Now we have a way to make sure that dangerous predators conceal their true identities on social networks.

What is a "sex offender" anyway? (5, Informative)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042223)

"At least five states require registration for people who visit prostitutes, 29 require it for consensual sex between young teenagers and 32 require it for indecent exposure. Some prosecutors are now stretching the definition of âoedistributing child pornographyâ to include teens who text half-naked photos of themselves to their friends. For example, Janet Allison was found guilty of being âoeparty to the crime of child molestationâ because she let her 15-year-old daughter have sex with a boyfriend. The young couple later married."

I'm glad you're banning all 600,000 people 2/3rds of which are said to be "no danger" according to a state's own review board.

Why are sex offenders treated worse than murderers (5, Insightful)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042243)

People labeled "sex offenders" (could be from mooning someone, urinating in an alley, having manga, and other little things) are treated worse than murderers in the US. Murderers don't have to tell the community after serving time that they killed someone. They can rent apartments almost anywhere. There's no online database anyone can browse to find murderers living in your area...

It saddens me as, basically, it's better for the perp's punishment to rape a child, kill them, and dispose of the body than just raping them.

Re:Why are sex offenders treated worse than murder (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042395)

On the other hand, the prison sentences for mooning, public urination, and ownership of manga are somewhat lighter than that for murder.

Re:Why are sex offenders treated worse than murder (1)

KraftDinner (1273626) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042517)

Except you get a lifetime sentence not in jail, but in public humiliation that you are now considered a rapist for mooning someone.

Re:Why are sex offenders treated worse than murder (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042445)

in your scenario, they would still be a sex offender.
Just sayin'

Re:Why are sex offenders treated worse than murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042493)

You can tell from just looking at a skeleton that it was raped?

Re:Why are sex offenders treated worse than murder (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042509)

"dispose of the body" was meant to imply that even if the body was found, there'd be no evidence of sexual assault. Chop it up, grind it, whatever. And murdering someone does not automatically mean the body will ever be found.

These sex offender laws just make some crimes much worse.

Re:Why are sex offenders treated worse than murder (2, Insightful)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042605)

in your scenario, they would still be a sex offender.

Yes, but not a registered sex offender. That was the point. Assuming they successfully disposed of the body they could still be convicted of murder but it would be much harder to prove rape. The murder charge would carry jail time, but there is a significant possibility of them eventually being released from jail and from that point on they would be in the clear. On the other hand, the sex offender charge would be a life sentence. Only part of that sentence would be jail time, but the time after release from jail could very well be worse than the time spent in jail.

This relates to the "law of unintended consequences". We all agree that rape is bad, but assuming that rape has been committed the current state of law provides incentive for murder. Having committed rape, the perpetrator is very likely better off killing and disposing of the victim rather than releasing them.

Re:Why are sex offenders treated worse than murder (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042615)

Not if it has a small chance of making them less likely to be caught. Then there is a huge incentive.

you question is wrong ... (2, Interesting)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042511)

... it should say "Why are murderers treated better than sex offenders"

Maybe the punishments for sex offenders are already ok, and the punishmnets for murderers should be more severe?

Murderers (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042567)

In most states murderers get free room and board for a long long long long time.

In some states they get free room and board for a significantly shorter time and BONUS they won't have to worry about living long enough to pay for retirement.

No internet for you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042263)

The internet is a social network, you know?

Internet Restraining Order (1)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042265)

The offender cannot access any web servers less than 10 hops away.

how is this enforceable? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042269)

How is this even enforceable?

Beuler?

Re:how is this enforceable? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042293)

It isn't; but it should net some votes, and provide another charge to stack, next time the DA needs to throw the book at some unsympathetic perp.

Are there levels of Sexual Offence??? (1)

newgalactic (840363) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042285)

What happens when a 18 year-old is convicted for statutory rape of his 17 year-old girlfriend when they have consensual sex? He's now most likely a registered sex offender. Is he banned from Facebook?

Re:Are there levels of Sexual Offence??? (2, Informative)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042317)

What happens when a 18 year-old is convicted for statutory rape of his 17 year-old girlfriend when they have consensual sex? He's now most likely a registered sex offender. Is he banned from Facebook?

Yes. He's labeled a sex offender for life, can't get a job, can't find a place to live and is banned from social networks like facebook.

Nothing good from Illinois (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042327)

The only thing good about travelling west through Illinois on I-80 is that you're not longer in Gary, IN. Every time I hit that stretch of highway, I want to cuss and throw things. Most lanes of traffic are open this week, which undoubtedly indicates that they'll be tearing it apart to start rebuilding it this fall.

From this same ill-managed substate, we get a law that says you can't use Facebook if you peed on a tree when you turned 21. Why is anyone surprised?

A scarlet letter wasn't enough? (3, Insightful)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042345)

What is this?

Sure, there are violent sex offenders who generally stay in prison more often than not, but there those who did something like sleep with their girlfriend of 2 years whose parents pressed charges because she was 17, and 3 months to 18, and that guy who may end up marrying her, is now a "sex offender" for the rest of his life.

Warranted, yes, SOME people use social websites for predation (and too many), but note that I used the term 'people.' It's not just sex offenders, but I would hazard a guess that not even MOST sex offenders using these services use them for predation. Such a ban is incredibly naive and ignorant, and an outright abuse of power.

Let's apply this same logic. We don't label average citizens who have committed some crime (violent even) that landed them in jail the way we do sex offenders. Say we realized too much violent and organized crime was happening as a result of using socializing websites. Now we want to ban anyone who may have a history of violent crimes or pretty much any crimes from using these to stifle the possibility of having them organize future crimes. So how can we target all of these individuals with such anonymity online? Well hell, we can't really, so let's just ban the website in our state. Done.

I'd put my bet on it that most people who are using social networking sites like this to predate victims for sexual harassment or other sex crimes aren't even currently labeled sex offenders. Are there any stats out there for how many new sex offenders have been entered as a result of crimes initiated via contact through a social networking site? I'd imagine this would be quite a large number per year, so now do we need to hire some precogs to detect these criminals BEFORE they do the crime and ban them from using the service?

This is just silly. They get it bad enough getting raped in prison and labeled on everyone's overlaid sex-offender-tracker GPS etc etc, regardless of what sexual offense they committed, they served their time, why should we now add another step to further punish them?

Perhaps this is just another case of where the actions of a few individuals ruin things for everyone?

America's unjust sex laws (5, Informative)

Mr_Blank (172031) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042359)

From the most recent Economist [economist.com]

America's unjust sex laws

Aug 6th 2009
From The Economist print edition
An ever harsher approach is doing more harm than good, but it is being copied around the world

IT IS an oft-told story, but it does not get any less horrific on repetition. Fifteen years ago, a paedophile enticed seven-year-old Megan Kanka into his home in New Jersey by offering to show her a puppy. He then raped her, killed her and dumped her body in a nearby park. The murderer, who had recently moved into the house across the street from his victim, had twice before been convicted of sexually assaulting a child. Yet Megan's parents had no idea of this. Had they known he was a sex offender, they would have told their daughter to stay away from him.

In their grief, the parents started a petition, demanding that families should be told if a sexual predator moves nearby. Hundreds of thousands signed it. In no time at all, lawmakers in New Jersey granted their wish. And before long, "Megan's laws" had spread to every American state.

America's sex-offender laws are the strictest of any rich democracy. Convicted rapists and child-molesters are given long prison sentences. When released, they are put on sex-offender registries. In most states this means that their names, photographs and addresses are published online, so that fearful parents can check whether a child-molester lives nearby. Under the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, another law named after a murdered child, all states will soon be obliged to make their sex-offender registries public. Such rules are extremely popular. Most parents will support any law that promises to keep their children safe. Other countries are following America's example, either importing Megan's laws or increasing penalties: after two little girls were murdered by a school caretaker, Britain has imposed multiple conditions on who can visit schools.

Which makes it all the more important to ask whether America's approach is the right one. In fact its sex-offender laws have grown self-defeatingly harsh (see article). They have been driven by a ratchet effect. Individual American politicians have great latitude to propose new laws. Stricter curbs on paedophiles win votes. And to sound severe, such curbs must be stronger than the laws in place, which in turn were proposed by politicians who wished to appear tough themselves. Few politicians dare to vote against such laws, because if they do, the attack ads practically write themselves.

A Whole Wyoming of Offenders

In all, 674,000 Americans are on sex-offender registries--more than the population of Vermont, North Dakota or Wyoming. The number keeps growing partly because in several states registration is for life and partly because registries are not confined to the sort of murderer who ensnared Megan Kanka. According to Human Rights Watch, at least five states require registration for people who visit prostitutes, 29 require it for consensual sex between young teenagers and 32 require it for indecent exposure. Some prosecutors are now stretching the definition of "distributing child pornography" to include teens who text half-naked photos of themselves to their friends.

How dangerous are the people on the registries? A state review of one sample in Georgia found that two-thirds of them posed little risk. For example, Janet Allison was found guilty of being "party to the crime of child molestation" because she let her 15-year-old daughter have sex with a boyfriend. The young couple later married. But Ms Allison will spend the rest of her life publicly branded as a sex offender.

Several other countries have sex-offender registries, but these are typically held by the police and are hard to view. In America it takes only seconds to find out about a sex offender: some states have a "click to print" icon on their websites so that concerned citizens can put up posters with the offender's mugshot on trees near his home. Small wonder most sex offenders report being harassed. A few have been murdered. Many are fired because someone at work has Googled them.

Registration is often just the start. Sometimes sex offenders are barred from living near places where children congregate. In Georgia no sex offender may live or work within 1,000 feet (300 metres) of a school, church, park, skating rink or swimming pool. In Miami an exclusion zone of 2,500 feet has helped create a camp of homeless offenders under a bridge.

Make the punishment fit the crime

There are three main arguments for reform. First, it is unfair to impose harsh penalties for small offences. Perhaps a third of American teenagers have sex before they are legally allowed to, and a staggering number have shared revealing photographs with each other. This is unwise, but hardly a reason for the law to ruin their lives. Second, America's sex laws often punish not only the offender, but also his family. If a man who once slept with his 15-year-old girlfriend is barred for ever from taking his own children to a playground, those children suffer.

Third, harsh laws often do little to protect the innocent. The police complain that having so many petty sex offenders on registries makes it hard to keep track of the truly dangerous ones. Cash that might be spent on treating sex offenders--which sometimes works--is spent on huge indiscriminate registries. Public registers drive serious offenders underground, which makes them harder to track and more likely to reoffend. And registers give parents a false sense of security: most sex offenders are never even reported, let alone convicted.

It would not be hard to redesign America's sex laws. Instead of lumping all sex offenders together on the same list for life, states should assess each person individually and include only real threats. Instead of posting everything on the internet, names could be held by the police, who would share them only with those, such as a school, who need to know. Laws that bar sex offenders from living in so many places should be repealed, because there is no evidence that they protect anyone: a predator can always travel. The money that a repeal saves could help pay for monitoring compulsive molesters more intrusively--through ankle bracelets and the like.

In America it may take years to unpick this. However practical and just the case for reform, it must overcome political cowardice, the tabloid media and parents' understandable fears. Other countries, though, have no excuse for committing the same error. Sensible sex laws are better than vengeful ones.

Re:America's unjust sex laws (1)

ojintoad (1310811) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042579)

The Science of Fear by Daniel Gartner [amazon.com] talks about this at length, especially an interesting statistic that keeps getting repeated [educatedguesswork.org] :

"at any given time, 50,000 predators are on the Internet prowling for children."

In this case, cited by Alberto Gonzalez, who references Dateline as his source. This statistic is incredibly spurious, and everyone here on Slashdot should understand why.

Sex offenders are real, but the debate is particularly muddied by misinformation.

Re:America's unjust sex laws (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042583)

In some states, the age of consent and child porn statutes have the same age limits.

For instance, a quick read of NV law shows the AOC to be 16. Child porn is defined as sexually explicit blah blah blah involving a person under 16. Federal law makes it a crime with a person under 18, but there may be some state line/interstate commerce nexus that needs to be fulfilled.

I didn't feel like looking at too many states, but found this same AOC/CP thing with NH-16/16.

Many states forbid distributing/exhibiting obscenity to people under 18, regardless of their AOC/CP statutes.

SO, excluding the feds, it's not a crime to have sex with a 16 year old or film it. But, she can't watch the tape afterwards. It's a crime to allow her 16 year old friend to watch the act as it occurs, but not a crime to have her join. Neither of them can smoke a cigarette or have a beer afterwards. If either one were to rob,beat,kill one of their fellow participants, they would be tried as an adult in every state in the country.

What's a social network? (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042375)

We all belong to the Slashdot community; does that make Slashdot a social network? How about LinkedIn? There's a website that definitely is a social network, but it's for the purpose of job hunting. There are very few, if any, minors on that site. And why all sex offenders? If you rape your girlfriend, then yes you're a bad person, but why should that stop you from using FaceBook? If these sex offenders are so dangerous, then why were they released from prison? Why not change the law so that any sexual offense gets a life sentence? Or how about instead of endless punishment, we look at rehabilitation, at least for the offenders who are capable of being rehabilitated. And finally, consider that some sex offenders are not the criminals you might think they are. Guys have been labeled as sex offenders for being 18 and having sex with a 17 year old, consensually. And for taking a piss behind a bar - "your penis was out in public".

Enforcement... (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042377)

How would you go about enforcing something like this? Clearly like any law it could be a matter of criminal charges if you drew enough attention to yourself to be caught... but is there a more effective method of implementation? Even if you monitored their computer use at home, a laptop and an unsecured network will work wonders toward avoiding surveillance.

Re:Enforcement... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042611)

How would you go about enforcing something like this?

On the surface you really wouldn't have to. I'm guessing that they're going to use this as an attempt to curtail a crime before it happens. By bringing additional charge against a suspect for using a social site as a tool of exploitation they're hoping these kinds of hard-to-monitor venues become a liability for criminals.

It's like charging someone with armed robbery. The robbery is still the same regardless if you use a handgun or not but by making criminals think twice about the circumstances they're hoping more criminals opt out of using a weapon making the crime safer for the victim.

I know it's sounds crazy at first but there is a small chunk of logic to it.

Re:Enforcement... (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042719)

That sounds like a very fair assessment of what they're trying to do.

Define "social network" (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042399)

Not all social networks are based on sexual relationships. Even SlashDot could be considered a social network. I don't understand this logic. If sex offenders can't be allowed to freely interact with other people why aren't their prison sentences for life? We don't do this to other criminals. If some guy does a few years for holding up a convenience store, do we tell him he is not allowed to step foot in a retail establishment again?

Re:Define "social network" (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042589)

I've always felt that Social Network was something of a buzz word without any real meaning. It's an artificial category that shifts around a lot.

The Economist this week (2, Informative)

g8oz (144003) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042405)

On the cover of the Economist this week:

America's Unfair Sex Laws
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14164614 [economist.com]

The one story of the woman classified as a sex offender for performing oral sex as a teenager is unbelievable.
It's hard to argue that at the very least a threat level classification for sex offenders wouldn't be a good idea

Maybe social networks are good for pervs (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042479)

What about ADULT friend finder? Is that one okay?

More bad news from Quinn... Visitation Rights! (1)

fractalVisionz (989785) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042533)

Another bill, signed on a busy day where Quinn dealt with dozens of bills, deals with child visitation rights. As of Jan. 1, the law will provide for visitation rights through electronic communication such as telephone, e-mail and instant messaging.

First Quinn doesn't let sex offenders use social networking. Next, he allows visitation rights via phone, email, and IM. What's next, marriage or divorce via facebook, email, or IM?

But seriously, visitation rights via telephone, email, and IM (and I'm guessing social networking sites too)? How does that actually constitute as one visiting another being, without physical presence. I'm all for visitation rights via phone, email, IM, etc, as long as they aren't restricting the physical visitation rights.

Re:More bad news from Quinn... Visitation Rights! (2, Interesting)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042655)

This is a good law. I had to fight my ex-wife for years just to be able to talk to my kids on the phone. A law like this would've helped immensely.

Too Broad (1)

zach297 (1426339) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042563)

The only problem with this law is the definition of sex offender. As many others have said, you can become a sex offender by public urination, or sexting, or having sex when you are 18 and you partner is 16. For them, being banned from social networks is not a just punishment. It has absolutely nothing to do with the crime. Banning social networks makes more sense for sex offenders with a history preying on others, especially through the internet. This law seems overly broad and they should make it apply to only a subset of sex offenders.

The real problem (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042609)

The Economist had a fairly in-depth look at "sex offenders" rules in the US recently. It's much worse than you think.

Somewhere out there, there's a couple who are now happily married. Some years ago, as teens, they had sex. The girl's mom is on the sex offender registry for not preventing this. (Actual case; her name is Janet Allison, and she is "party to the crime of child molestation".)

Here we go, shades of Minority Report again.... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042617)

When are we gonna stop electing these authoritarian nimrods? Sure, use of a social networking site might make a criminal act possible or at least easier, but use of a social networking site is of itself not criminal behavior .

(Yeah, I see the witty opportunity in that last phrase... think Twitter and go for it.)

If Sex Offenders are so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29042623)

If Sex Offenders are so bad that we can't let them anywhere near society, why are we letting them out of jail in the first place?

just great (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042625)

There goes my business plan to start a social network for convicted rapists in the Chicago area.

Why not create policy governing use? (1)

rift321 (1358397) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042697)

Why not propose a law that actually classifies social networking use, or even mandates a certain class of sex offenders to make their status known on social networking sites? I think it's pretty obvious that the governor from Illinois is a bit naiive and overreaching in his latest law. Also, I think that the subjectivity of healthy sexual behaviors is largely overlooked by many [puritanistic] lawmakers. Lastly, I don't think the governor is in any way qualified, experienced, or educated enough in the relevant fields to produce laws governing such things - it feels like he's making fluffy political moves based on voters' values, rather than making logical decisions that will yield actual social improvements.

Internet Route Path? (1)

OMA1981 (706426) | more than 5 years ago | (#29042727)

Ponder this scenario... a convicted and registered sex offender living in state that has not passed a similar law visits a social network site. While the offender's data packets are in transit across the Internet, they are passed through a router residing in a state that has passed such a law, e.g. Illinois. Has that person suddenly unwittingly committed a crime and is now prosecutable in IL for the violation? Admittedly, this is an extreme scenario but far from unimaginable (and easily abused, especially if the social networking site's web servers physically reside in a state with a similar law). While it is admirable that the state of Illinois is pushing laws with intent to further protect its state's children (I am making an assumption that this is their true intent), state laws just do not scale well when applied to a system as large and dynamic as the Internet (technically, neither do national laws but that is a discussion for another article on another day).
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?