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MySpace, U.S. Address Sex Offenders Online

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the slipperly-slope-here dept.

Privacy 154

TitusC3v5 writes "According to BBC News, MySpace is attempting to block sex offenders by way a custom database that utilizes state sex offender registries. Sentinel Safe will let MySpace search US state and federal databases to seek out and delete MySpace profiles of registered sex offenders." From the article: "The company said the new service will be the first national database that brings together about 46 US state sex offender registers ... It will be available in the next 30 days. MySpace has not released information on its plans for tackling sex offenders using the service in other countries." This is on the heels of proposed legislation that would require sex offenders to keep their email on file. The addresses would presumably be used to restrict former criminals from accessing online community sites, but in an the era of easily obtainable email addresses it's hard to see how this would be effective.

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WTF? (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152584)

Is this yet another case of clueless people trying to create rules for systems that they have no idea of how it functions?

While the intent is good, I'm rather suspect of people who think this is full-proof, and look forward (mockingly) to the future when people think their kids are safe from predators because MySpace is tracking KNOWN sex offenders by their REGISTERED email addresses.

Wow, why don't we just do this with terrorists? Then we'd know where they are and what they are doing all the time, just have to log onto the gov. website to find out....

Of course it isn't perfect (0, Troll)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152636)

But it is a step in the right direction.

Re:Of course it isn't perfect (5, Insightful)

aliendisaster (1001260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152828)

Actually, it may be a set in the wrong direction. After everyone realizes "Hey, they can just go get a free yahoo address and work around this system.", the idiots will try and force EVERYONE to register their email address and all companies that provide email address's will have to remove any address that is not associated with a real life person. This could be the beginning of the end of the anonymous internet and the beginning of a time in which if you have someone's email, you know their name, street address, date of birth, etc. This could be the beginning of a stalkers dream.

Re:Of course it isn't perfect (4, Insightful)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153038)

Parent really deserves to be modded up for that insightful comment.

Also, I'm not siding with the sex offenders but comon. Either they are guilty enough to still be in jail or they should be allowed to use internet communication websites freely. Maybe instead of banning sex offenders we should ban or force monitoring on minors that use those services. Some other kind of limitation would work the same too.

If they served their time they should be free. If they should not be free there is a problem with sentencing of the criminals and not how websites are monitored.

Re:Of course it isn't perfect (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153228)

You should be modded up insightful as well.

I think a MUCH better law would be to require parents/legal guardians to sit next to their children while said children are online. Nothing protects your kids better than active parental participation in their activities.

As far as convicted sex offenders however, there should be no registration whatsoever except for possibly listing the grave they are buried in or the mantle the urn that holds their ashes is placed upon. The fact that they are allowed to walk the Earth is an insult to roaches.

Re:Of course it isn't perfect (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153938)

Either they are guilty enough to still be in jail or they should be allowed to use internet communication websites freely.
For some people, there is this thing called parole. It means they let you out of jail early, if they think you'll behave.

When you get out on parole, you're assigned to a parole officer whose job it is to check that you are following the terms of your release. You stop following the rules, you go back to jail.

If they served their time they should be free. If they should not be free there is a problem with sentencing of the criminals and not how websites are monitored.
Maybe the problem is with the government's treatment of sexual offenders upon their release. And since government policy on sexual matters usually reflects society's viewpoint, maybe the problem you're complaining about lies with the people around you.

It's the Not In My Back Yard syndrome. Who wants a former rapist living next door?

Re:Of course it isn't perfect (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152880)

Why? I think it just allows parents to feel complacent.

The first and last line of defense is giving a crap about what your kid is doing online. Period. End. Of. Story. There is no magical fairy dust fix that is going to make that any less the case, so why bother?

Re:Of course it isn't perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153136)

I hope they allow regular expressions in their email address list. Many people have an infinite number of email addresses and listing them all out one by one, might be a problem.

Re:Of course it isn't perfect (1)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153786)

yes, my email address is t.*@gmail.com

Re:Of course it isn't perfect (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153456)

Not necessarily.

For example, the Texas registry is of limited usefulness because they don't tell you the exact nature of the crime. Thus you don't know if that guy down the street is a victim of genuine prudishness and sexual immaturity or if he's a genuine predator. I want to know about real threats, not a lot of noise.

The primary effect of this will be to harrass relatively minor offenders. People who want to be a genuine menace will likely find a way to game both the state databases and myspace or just plain lie/hide.

plausible deniability (2, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153026)

I agree. The measures in place to stop terrorists travelling presume that they will travel with valid papers and real names. The end result being everyone else gets inconvenienced and it doesn't work on the people it's meant to hit. Just the same as with drm.

This is for one reason only, to give them plausible deniability if someone gets attacked and initial contact is traced to their service.

We have a problem in england at the moment of sex offenders who are being traced/monitored dissapearing from view because they don't play nice. By problems I mean murders and assaults.

Risk and consequence (1)

xixax (44677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153102)

TFA:


" Under the proposed legislation, any sex offender who submits a fraudulent email could face prison."


Presumably not declaring email addresses is fraudulent too. So yeah, they can use an anonymous address, but they also risk getting busted doing so. Not fool proof, but also forces such people to demonstrate intent.


Osama is already in the poo, flouting email address laws is unlikely to make his legal situation appreciably worse.


Xix.

Re:Risk and consequence (1)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153754)

Fucking children is illegal. These people have still done it. Having an email address they don't declare is going to be a walk in the park for them.

Re:Risk and consequence (1)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153874)

Unless the words are in the legislation, its not law. That line will prevent an offender from submitting a fake address, but says nothing about submitting all email addresses. And like the other poster said, they have already broken the law, and, if they are supplying false emails and then surfing myspace for tail, are planning on doing it again. Its just a lose/lose for the innocent.

Re:WTF? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153218)

This is in the same line of logic as the fake boarding passes.

"We're going to make these rules and it will be illegal to break these rules. YOU will go to jail if you break these rules."

It realy sounds like a bunch of children at the playground, the kind that makeup a particular game and create the rules as they go along. One kid figures out how to be 'King of the Hill' and the whiny kid cries because the smarter kids broke the rule.

Yes, there are serious problems here but email tracking is not the way to do it.

pedo cops, fucking 13 year olds (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152612)

why are cops such child molesters?

Wired News Supplied the code (3, Insightful)

jmagar.com (67146) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152628)

Kevin Poulsen [wired.com] broke this story wide open by developing the scripts and tools to parse the sex offender registry, and compare the MySpace members. He supplied his work to the cops and the rest is today's news.

The finest Mashup I've seen to date. Worthy of some sort of prize... Is there a "Mashup Awards Banquet"?

Re:Wired News Supplied the code (2, Insightful)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152694)

yup, that was the big one.

The key things involved are that the sex ofenders (for reasons known only to them selfs) still register with their REAL info. Why? No clue!

It will stop some offenders I hope, but I doubt it will do much.

The biggest problem is that you just outright block them bassed on email then that enourages them to get an email and not register it.

Re:Wired News Supplied the code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153300)

No, the biggest problem is that you end up banning a boatload of guys who slept with their 16 years old girlfriend hoping to get in the way of a few dangerous individuals.

It should be pointed out that Kevin Poulsen, after trawling through a third of 385000 registered sex offenders (385000! the mind boggles), caught... One.
Further, that one guy (Lubrano), while he was convicted 3 times, only in that case committed the odious crime of sending racy messages to teens (somehow politicians don't end up in jail for that).

And finally, while it gives morons^H^H^H^H^H^H some parents warm fuzzy feelings, it conveniently ignores the fact that most pedophile get their way with the kids because they're friends of the parents.

Re:Wired News Supplied the code (1)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153382)

The key things involved are that the sex offenders (for reasons known only to them selfs) still register with their REAL info. Why? No clue!

If a sex offender is too controlled by his (or her) urges to the point where they have sex with children, rape someone, or otherwise sexually assault other people, they may not be thinking too clearly in the first place.

Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152638)

Won't this just encourage them use a pseudonym?

Re:Yeah... (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153178)

No, because pedos are, on the whole, very stupid.

Re:Yeah... (1)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153870)

No, because pedos are, on the whole, very stupid.


Are you sure of that? I bet that there are just as many intelligent pedos as there are stupid ones, it's just that the stupid ones are the only ones that get caught.

Re:Yeah... (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154276)

I was referring to the kind you encounter on the internet, not the kind that gets caught, but since the first comment only related to pedos who get caught, it doesn't really matter.

Re:Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154486)

No, because pedos are, on the whole, very stupid.

On the contrary, studies have repeatedly shown that sex offenders are among the most intelligent class of criminals. That's why most of them never get caught.

Also in the news... (2, Interesting)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152652)

To promote easy identification of sex offenders, a new bill requires "registration of the logo and design of the hat worn by the offender." Mention was not made in the bill of what happens if the offender changes hats.

Holy hell, how far can they take this false sense of security crap? If you want your kids to be safe, teach them what things to do are stupid, and how to recognize danger signals (online and offline). Then, you could, you know, always supervise them until you're reasonably sure that they've indeed gotten the point.

Or we could try tracking people by their email address. I'm sure that'll work great. imasexoffender@example.com will never think of registering 15yroldmale@example.com too!

Great! (1)

Aphex Junkie (633436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152656)

More retarded politicians who *think* they know about technology. They pass bullshit laws whose demands are technically damn near impossible to fulfill (but all they care about is firing up soccer moms' fury).
So now we have some bullshit company who promises lots of undeliverable goals and is milking the government for our tax monies, all because our politicans are off in la-la land.

Better question is, why are sex offenders (0, Flamebait)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152672)

on the streets? I am not talking about 18 year olds that have sex with their 17 year old girlfriends, I am talking the 30 year olds having sex with 13 year olds, 40 year olds that rape 8 year olds, and so on.

Why are these people even out of jail if they are still a threat to soceity?

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

Aphex Junkie (633436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152760)

Because we need a place to put all those horrible murdering potheads, that's why!

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152798)

You joke somewhat but it is sad and true. We let the criminals that harm others back on the street but throw the guy with a dimebag in jail for 10 years.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152816)

because our jails are full up of non-violent drug offenders.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

CFTM (513264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152908)

I'll take gross over-simplifications for $1000, Alex.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

Kiaser Wilhelm II (902309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153130)

It isn't a gross oversimplification. Look at some of the correctional statistics and the sentences meted out for various crimes.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153638)

Violent criminals are being released early because there isn't enough space. There are thousands of people in prison for non-violent crimes (mostly drug-related). If the non-violent drug offenders weren't there, then the violent criminals wouldn't need to be released early.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152924)

Suppose, for example, someone was convicted of molesting his sister who was younger by 5-10 years when he was a teenager. But, the person was convicted when they were in their late 30s (because of various laws extending the statute of limitations in strange ways to account for highly questionable 'recovered memory' cases) but have no other history of having touched any other child sexually, and who stopped the molestation of their own accord when he was still a teenager? And, of course, being in his late 30s it's pretty trivial to certify him out of Juvenile Court.

How do you simply and easily account for that case? Is there a simple designation you could assign that would enable something vaguely approaching justice? You ask for simple answers, and I don't think there are any. But I think in your quest for them, you would likely ask for things that are actually horrible miscarriages of justice.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153024)

Good question. Why don't we ask Borat?

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (3, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153340)

Perhaps because these lists don't really differentiate between the two. For all we know all those really bad sex offenders could be in gaol and it's only the "18 year olds that have sex with their 17 year old girlfriends".

None of that really matters to the linch mob though.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153404)

Why are these people even out of jail if they are still a threat to soceity?
Because in our society, once people have served their time they are deemed to have paid for their crimes.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153752)

If you are not free to do as you please in society, you have still not served your time. Your rights should be fully restored upon leaving jail. If you aren't capable of having your rights fully restored, then you are a threat to society and should still be jailed.

Goes for all rights, voting, gun ownership, living near a school.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (5, Insightful)

Dipster (830908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153440)

What worries me is that every time you hear about a new "think-of-the-children" law, the language (at least in the media) always says "sex offender". Not child sex offender, not violent sex offender, just "sex offender".

Would someone explain to me why a married couple having sex in a public place should be banned from living close to a school? Someone tell me why a person who repeatedly walks home drunk from a bar and stops to urinate in an alley shouldn't be allowed on MySpace. Why does the drunken frat kid who streaked across campus a few times deserve to be labeled a threat to society?

There is a huge an ever-growing number of "offenses" that gets someone put on sex "offender" lists. The fact that they often get lumped together is pure bullshit.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153538)

I am not talking about 18 year olds that have sex with their 17 year old girlfriends

Tough, because everyone else is. Even when they think they're talking about 30 year olds having sex with 8 year olds or whatever. The sex offender lists in some states includes highschoolers who thought it'd be a great idea to moon the principal, or the one joker with nothing on under his robe at graduation, and in some states, they'll be stuck with child rapists for the rest of their life. Or a drunk guy who got as far as the bush at the end of the street before needing to take a whiz.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (4, Insightful)

mattOzan (165392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153604)

I am not talking about 18 year olds that have sex with their 17 year old girlfriends, I am talking the 30 year olds having sex with 13 year olds, 40 year olds that rape 8 year olds, and so on.

The main problem with the currently-fashionable "sex offender registries" is that they do not discriminate. As you have shown, we realize there is a continuum: 18 vs. 17 yro statutory cases are at one end, and serial pedophiles are on the other end. But laws like the one just passed here in California this November stamp them all with the big "Pervert" stamp.

It is ridiculous to make a law saying that a 45 year old man, for instance, who was convicted more than two decades ago of having consensual sex with his 17 year old girlfriend, cannot live within a half-mile of an elementary school. And if that man doesn't re-register EVERY YEAR within one week of his birthday, or within one week of a move, a WARRANT goes out for his arrest, and it's a FELONY!

No, I'm not a 45 year old sex offender. I just think we need to be a bit more granular. If he's a serial pedophile, lock him in a treatment program. If he had the wrong kind of sex as a teenager 20 years ago, and has paid his restitution to society, let him go. And don't keep hassling him with punitive registries and requirements that weren't even laws when the crime was committed!

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153968)

Why are these people even out of jail if they are still a threat to soceity?

I don't have statistics handy, but I saw some expert on sex crimes on TV once who said that the rate of recidivism among sex offenders is actually not that high. Most of them are NOT a threat to society.

We've just decided to make sex offenders (particularly child sex offenders) the boogeymen of our generation. Nobody ever lost their seat in the government for being mean to sex offenders, after all.

Re:Better question is, why are sex offenders (1)

knightmad (931578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154552)

Well, its simple. Punishment should fit the crime because, if punishment for child abuse is the same for murder (life in jail), instead of simply a child abuser you are more likely to get a child abuser/witness killer. They would not risk to let the poor child to live to denounce him.

Politicians and pedophiles. (3, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152714)

Politicians and pedophiles. Two groups of exploitive bastards who are at their most dangerous when they're thinking of the children.

Re:Politicians and pedophiles. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152894)

Sometimes they are even one and the same!

The solution is good advice... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152726)

Don't give your address and out to random people online, the same as you don't give it out to anyone whom you meet on the street. If you meet someone you met online in real life, don't do it alone or in an empty place. Basically, teach your kids to apply normal rules for real-world interactions to MySpace, and there won't be a huge problem. Blocking sex offenders really doesn't help, since it's the *unknown* sex offenders that you have to worry about, not the known ones - you can always check for the names and address of known ones on the state registry sites before meeting someone IRL.

-b.

They have my EMAIL ADDRESS? Oh no! (0, Offtopic)

Mex (191941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152728)

Not my EMAIL ADDRESS! However will I face society now that it is registered on MySpace? ;_;

Slippery slope department? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152730)

What slippery slope?

First they banned them from myspace, and I said nothing, for I am not a teenage girl.
Then they banned them from facebook, and I said nothing, for I am not a college student.
Then they banned them from Google, and there was nobody to speak out, because SEX OFFENDERS SUCK

Yeah right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152734)

Yeah, an email on file will get all those online sex offenders.

umm (1)

LadyNik0n (729059) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152742)

Yeah.. I am gonna surf myspace with anything that would link me as a sex offender anywhere else..

Armbands (5, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152746)

I think we are in the process of creating a bunch of second class citizens with sex offender registration laws. People can become sex offenders for a wide variety of reasons, but everybody treats all sex offenders as if each and every single one were an evil predator lurking and waiting for even a glimmer of a chance to prey on a child.

For people convicted of kidnapping children and coercing them into child porn, this might very well be reasonable. But for the 25 yr old convicted of statutory rape of the 17yr old, this is quite questionable. Or the father who molests his daughter (and has never touched another child), or any number of other situations that are significantly milder.

Most people who have to register do not deserve to be treated the same as the worst of the class.

I'm waiting for the laws that strip custody of children from registered sex offenders or prohibit them from participating in school events with their children, or any number of other laws passed by well-meaning people that create a large class (probably nearly a million people in the US) of people who are denied some fairly basic things for no particularly good reason.

Re:Armbands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152850)

OK, I agree, except for "Or the father who molests his daughter (and has never touched another child), or any number of other situations that are significantly milder.". I'm sorry, that's not milder, that is worse. It's terrible to take a child and abuse them. It's more terrible to abuse someone who (should) trust you.

Re:Armbands (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153394)

That's an interesting point. But who do you think would more likely to be on MySpace trolling for young girls?

I consider it milder mostly because it can sometimes be very hard to keep separate one kind of intimate relationship for another, especially if you were abused yourself as a child. I believe those cases are the ones most amenable to treatment. I also believe that the suicide rates among offenders in those kinds of cases are the highest. So, my definition of milder is mostly "least likely to actually be a danger to anybody else".

Re:Armbands (1)

Damastus the WizLiz (935648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152910)

While I agree that the registration ideas are getting out of hand, I dislike you refrence to a father molesting his daughter as being a milder case. That is I believe a far worse and more damaging situation.

Re:Armbands (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153060)

Worse and far more damaging than someone who kidnaps children and forces them into child porn? I hope you're joking.

Re:Armbands (1)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154504)

If you're religious or raised with religious values, you might feel that sex is the worst thing that can happen to you. Believe it or not, there are people "out there" (and yes I've spoken to some) who actually would prefer their child die, over them having sex, because sex condemns them to hell, where dying does not.

I guess the idea here is that.. oh I dunno.

We are a strange species.. :)

Re:Armbands (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152940)

I always felt the "rape" part in "statutory rape" to be unbelievably mislabled. I think at the age of 16 someone knows if they want to fuck or not. They may not be responsible enough to handle what happens if they get pregnant, that much is true. However, in the words of Dave Chappelle, "16 is old enough to know if you want to be pissed on."

Re:Armbands (1)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154556)

I always felt the "rape" part in "statutory rape" to be unbelievably mislabled.

I think you may be a little naive. :)

There are MANY words that are chosen specifically to imply something that would not otherwise be obvious. The naming of the law was chosen to imply that it IS rape, because those who supported it at first were those who wished to control other peoples' lives. Preying on teenagers (who can't vote) is an easy way to do this...

How many people would support a crime called "unauthorized sex?"

Re:Armbands (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152950)

Or the father who molests his daughter (and has never touched another child), or any number of other situations that are significantly milder.
I really hope that was a typo, or came out wrong, and you don't really feel like that is something "significantly minor".

Re:Armbands (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152984)

I do think it's milder than someone kidnapping children and forcing them into child porn. I don't think it's minor.

Re:Armbands (1)

Arcane_Rhino (769339) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153272)

I think the gp was referring to the fact that, statistically, most father daughter molestation scenarios are opportunist, meaning they usually involve multiple concomitants such as alcohol/drugs, divorce/unhappy relationships, etc. Opportunistic molesters are not true pedophiles in that they do not specifically target and prefer children.

Of course, statistics don't mean a damn if you're the one getting fucked up the arse by the old man but there is a recognized difference in the field.

Re:Armbands (2, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152982)

In Arizona you can become a convicted sex offender by being cited for public nudity...So look out if you visit any of their Nude Beaches [slashdot.org] , or you're going to find some unexpected stuff on your MySpace profile.

Re:Armbands (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152990)

Or the father who molests his daughter (and has never touched another child)

That's an astonishing abuse of trust on the part of the father. It's not milder at all, he's broken one of the basic rules of being a human being (or indeed a member of most animal species) - he's harmed one of his children.

Parents are supposed to protect their kids, not molest them. I suspect that you're in a very small minority indeed in seeing that as being milder than molesting a stranger's kid.

(I realise you're not condoning it)

Re:Armbands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153084)

He isn't arguing that this type of behavior is acceptable or should be condoned. The issue here is why should this be lumped in with a sex offenders registry when the purpose of a sex offenders registry is to warn people about people who have shown that they are a potential danger to society.

Why isn't there a registry for crimes that are definitely far worse? Its purely emotional. The fact that you can get on the registry for life by consentually having sex with a 17yr old shows the inanity of the system currently in place.

Re:Armbands (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153692)

Recidivism is much much higher for those who molest/rape random strangers than those who victimize those who they know.

If you'd rather be warned about the molesting father, you're simply irrational, because he poses the lesser threat.

Re:Armbands (0, Troll)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153064)

You know, I was almost inclined to agree with you, until I read this:


"For people convicted of kidnapping children and coercing them into child porn, this might very well be reasonable. But for the 25 yr old convicted of statutory rape of the 17yr old, this is quite questionable. Or the father who molests his daughter (and has never touched another child), or any number of other situations that are significantly milder."


I fail to understand why you consider child porn to be more important than molestation/incest or statutory rape. I'm also inclined to believe that your statement that "Most people who have to register do not deserve to be treated the same as the worst of the class" is not accurate, simply because one look at the Sex Offender Database here in California tells me that a large number of individuals were convicted of serious crimes, i.e. not just a simple molestation incident, but things like sexual battery, attempted rape by force, lewd or lascivious act with a minor, etc. If you think I'm making it up, just go look it up yourself: http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/ [ca.gov]

The bottom line is that the second they committed the crime they were convicted for, they made the conscious decision to become second-class citizens themselves. This was not forced upon them, but it was their own choice, for which they have to, and should be made to pay forever if need be.
While their so-called 'debt to society' might have been paid, the emotional scars of their victims will probably never heal.

Think about that for a while.

Re:Armbands (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153198)

I think most people would agree that kidnapping children and forcing them into sexual acts is worse than the statutory rape I cited or even a father molesting his daughter.

Sex offenders who violently take what they want by force might be worse than the kidnappers or not depending.

The statutory rape case IMHO hinges entirely on the individuals involved. I can see that being abusive or just fine. I, in fact, know of a case just like that in which both parties are now adults and are doing very well in a committed relationship.

And a simple stark reading of the charges someone is guilty of isn't actually sufficient to make a judgment either. It's all about intent, coercion, abuse of power and other factors.

Re:Armbands (1)

Kiaser Wilhelm II (902309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153286)

You don't understand, the point is that these crimes are lumped in all as "sex offender" crimes when in reality the crime was hardly a crime at all (20yr old with a 17yr old) or such as a guy who only molests his daughters is somehow considered someone who needs to be branded for life as someone who is a danger to the neighborhood.

When you consider that there are many much worse crimes that do not have registries, it seems a bit illogical to make an equalization to other crimes of conscious decision.

This is pure hysteria.

Re:Armbands (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153632)

A friend of mine, when he was sixteen, was accused by his then-girlfriend of raping her. On the advice of his lawyer, though he was innocent, he pleaded guilty and got both a reduced sentance and the entire ordeal over with. In theory. A few months later she confessed to him that she accused him because she wanted attention, and now she wanted to get back together with him.

Ten years later or so, when the Registery of Sex Offenders here in Massachusetts was created, he was told that as a registered sex offender he had to register. Now, he can't leave the state without telling everyone and their brother, he's had several visits from the local police officers, and his name is readily available in his town as a Sex Offender.

But, thank heavens we're protected from dangerous predators like him.

Re:Armbands (1)

symes (835608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153110)

It depends on your view of punishment - if it works as a deterrent then perhaps the stigma associated with sex crime is helping to keep crime numbers down. Frankly, imho, any form of sexual abuse, whether it is rape, paedophilia, flashing, whatever, involves a victim who should not have had to endure that crime. Although, on the whole, sex offenders' rates of recidivism is below other offenders there are hard core groups who are often organised and do systematically seek out victims. I can't see any good reason not to require these people to register their email addresses.

Re:Armbands (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153240)

I can't see any reason not to make people like that register either. And having them show up on MySpace is just fine by me. Personally, I really hope that someone was very careful about things when they released them from prison.

Re:Armbands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153314)

Its totally unenforceable and provides a very false sense of security.

Re:Armbands (2, Interesting)

Reziac (43301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153138)

550,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S. -- given a population of 300M, that's roughly one in every 500 persons, or (excluding females, children, and elderly) somewhere around one out of every 100 young-adult and middle-aged males (the classes that mostly populate the category "sex offenders").

So.. in numbers that are admittedly vague, but good enough for gov't work, one out of every 100 adult males is a registered sex offender. Doesn't that number seen a little high to you??

Hmm... Given a similar illicit-activity rate, you only need 99 other such criminal classes to make EVERY adult male have to register as some sort of offender!!

Re:Armbands (1)

m15cr3ant (915414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153190)

It does not matter if it is considered mild or not. The fact is that it is still a sexual based crime. If you murder someone with a bat, or 100 people the same way or if intently run someone over with a car, either way you look at it you are still a murderer. What's the difference?

While some crimes are not punished equally, they are still crimes. In sex based attacks, if you have done it once then there is a high chance that you will do it again. In that case everyone should be warned of your actions. While I do agree that there shouldn't be a lapel pin or a hat you have to wear, there should be a way for the people you interact with to know about hence the registry.

Re:Armbands (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153310)

That's actually not true. The recidivism rate among sex offenders is very low compared to most crimes. And the likelihood could hardly be characterized as 'high' as I believe the rate is less than 1%.

Now, among certain classes of sex offenders this isn't true. But initiatives like this very rarely make any distinction and treat all sex offenders as the worst kind.

Re:Armbands (1)

Grendel.Gaidin (1037002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154538)

If you murder someone with a bat, or 100 people the same way or if intently run someone over with a car, either way you look at it you are still a murderer. What's the difference?
The difference would be your rights after serving your time. If you were convicted of vehicular man slughter you can still buy a car and drive. If you bash someone's head in with a baseball bat you can still purchase and own baseball bats, even if you robbed a bank you can still go and open a bank account. See a trend here? Sex based crimes are the only crimes that require extra punishment even after time served and even after probation. If convicted you have to register for life which, restricts communities and areas in which you can live, which I beleive kind of violates the inalianable rights granted to us. Admittedly the Declaration of independence isnt necesarily law but with these extra punishments tagged on your liberty is restricted and so would your pursuit of happines, if in that your happiness is to own this awesome house, but unfortunately there are too many schools in the area too close together, cant live there sorry. So there is a very distinct difference between violent crimes, white collar crimes, and sex crimes, when there should be none. After you servered your time have done your probation you are and should be free. Your crimes are a matter of public record but other than that you should be free to live your life as any citizen would, see because after service of your time thats what you are again a citizen. This isnt really true though.

Re:Armbands (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153344)

For all the people that are replying about the abuse of a family member, think of it this way:

A guy breaks into your house, kills your wife, and is running away from the house when you chase him down and beat to death. You are convicted of murder. Someone else takes to sniping people in VA. If both were released, who is more likely to kill again, the person that only did it once in a specific situation, of the person that killed strangers multiple times?

A father that molests his own children is not a threat to "society" in the same way a person that preys on strangers is. Independent of the damage to the child, the danger of another occurrance is significantly different, and so it should be reflected.

There are places where pissing in the alley is a sex offence. Any list that considers a weak bladder and poor judgement to be equal to kidnapping, raping and killing 20 random children does not seem to be extremely useful. There are people sitting on the list right now that had sex with someone when both were under-age (and it was legal), then one of them got older, and it became "rape." Perhaps if the list had a rating of 1-5 for severity and liklyhood of recividism, or separate the violent from non-violent offenders, or something like that it would become more relevant.

Re:Armbands (1)

m15cr3ant (915414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153586)

Why not let the registry show their crimes? I think it would be a great idea, but the minute one person finds out about it, it will be a privacy issue and everyone will be up in arms about it. Which makes no sense because they are on a registry either way. I don't see why they don't get someone to lobby on their behalf to get the format of the registry changed. If it is that much of an issue then I am sure someone will do it for a buck.

A guy breaks into your house, kills your wife, and is running away from the house when you chase him down and beat to death. You are convicted of murder. Someone else takes to sniping people in VA. If both were released, who is more likely to kill again, the person that only did it once in a specific situation, of the person that killed strangers multiple times?


Like I posted before either way you are still a murderer. It does not matter the severity of the crime, just that the crime was committed.

Re:Armbands (1)

aaronl (43811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154534)

The point that you are missing is the assumption that because you are a "sex offender" you will prey upon and stalk children. Someone arrested and convicted of a "sex crime" for getting drunk and streaking across their college campus is treated equal to someone that has habitually raped 10 year old boys. That there is a registry for these acts, in and of itself, is a miscarriage of justice. If you are not safe to return to society, then why were you released?

Also, there is a good point to note that we do not have a registry of murderers, people who have repeatedly violently assaulted others, and many other things. Many, *many*, of these crimes carry higher repeat offense statistics, and these crimes are much worse than "sex crimes". Which is worse: being raped, or being dead?

The case of the man killing his wife's killer vs. a serial killer is likely one of manslaughter vs. second degree murder. They are both killing someone, but the situations are very different. The murder version of these "sex crime" lists would equate the two, since they both involved killing someone.

Additionally, consider that doing theft the "sex crime" way would mean calling the serial burglar, who has been convicted of hundreds of thousands in thefts, the same thing as the kid that stole a video game from the mall. If you're convicted of either, you go on the list, and are called a thief.

In all of these cases, it would now be *IMPOSSIBLE* to repay your debt to society and rejoin the world as a productive citizen. A drunken mistake when you were 17 can force you to poor living conditions and low pay work, or simply force you to become a criminal to have a decent life. BTW - refusing to inform your community that you are on one of these lists would be grounds for arrest, since *that* would be a crime. So trying to have a normal life after paying penance becomes illegal.

You might not have intended it that way, but you manner of thought simply causes intolerance and creates more criminals. You create a life of intolerance and unforgiveness. There is a reason why every major religion teaches forgiveness, and it's not because someone's god said so.

Re:Armbands (0, Troll)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153560)

Dude - there are a million reasons why this is a bad idea, and there are indeed some people who are unfairly caught in this. 2 kids in college having sex, where one is under 18, can get you the statutory rape status. However, a family member molesting their children is absolutely on the same scale as the serial child abductor. Why? Because THEY ARE THE SAME. People who molest other kids generally start by molesting their own kids - and then have to move to others because their kids get too old. Not only that, but convicted child molesters have a 98% re-incarceration chance for the same offense.

Let me repeat that - there is no (within 98% probability) paedophile who just happened to molest their kid once, and won't do it again. If they did it once, they are basically guaranteed to do it again. I'm all for making paedophiles second-class citizens. I've seen the damage they can inflict - not only do they damage the people they molest, but they also turn their victims into future offenders.

However, this is neither here nor there in the scope of whether you should track them via their email addresses or MySpace info (which is stupid). I just want to dispel any notion you might have that child molestation can be a relatively minor crime.

Second-class citizens are useful. (3, Funny)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154062)

Where would our civilization be without second class citizens?

How else would we have been able to make some of the steps forward in medicine, were it not for some of the work done on "disposable" people?

How else would we have had such a burgeoning entertainment industry, had it not been for laws that deprived actors and actresses from burial in sacred ground?

Who else can be used for a way to see how far a government can go before the first-class citizens decide that enough is enough?

Of course, sometimes a government can overplay its hand. When people find out that convicted sex offenders are not allowed in public hurricane shelters, but have to report to the local jail (and give 24 hours advance notice, even!), there might be a feeling that things might have gone too far.

But then again, when we're "thinking of the children," we don't have to do a whole lot more thinking, do we?

Re:Armbands (2, Informative)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154160)

Some of the ways you can get labeled "sex offender," depending on state, have very little to do with those under the age of consent at all. Public indecency and prostitution are two of the ones that come to mind.

This is AWEFULL, its going to make things worse (1, Insightful)

visionsofmcskill (556169) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152794)

by deleting or overtly damaging their accounts, you effectivly alert them to take more proactive actions in hiding their trails.

Instead, this data should be used to covertly keep an eye on their account and account use, indeed, once these predators have been identified anyone contacted by them or looking at their page should get an alert with a warning about who that person is. Or simply make it ipossible for that account to contact or be contacted by children et al.

A passive approach will keep more of the predators unaware that they have been compromised, which means better tracking and better protection of children in subtler ways.

If we outright remove their accounts, they will know theyve been found out, and they will compensate accordingly, making them that much harder to find.

The Risk-Averse Life (3, Insightful)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152886)

If you believe it is appropriate for the government to permanently the restrict the activities of anyone, whatever they've done, merely out of concern for what they might do, you are part of the problem. Life is dangerous and it's not the government's job to protect you from it. Deal.

A/S/L? (2, Funny)

Paulitics (1036046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152968)

MysteryMan33: ASL?
Wii:13,F,Fl
MysteryMan33:You like big harddrives? Minz 120Gig.
Wii:wow! thats big.
MysteryMan33:Wanna see it?
Wii:cool
MysteryMan33:Wanna play with my Wiimote control?

BrianWilliams:I'm Brian Williams and your on DATELINE. What were you planning to do with this young girl?

MysteryMan33:I can't log on to MySpace anymore because I am on "the List".

Yet another nail in the coffin of the Constitution (0, Troll)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153014)

Another swipe at the ex-post-facto provision that the Supreme Court has foolishly vitiated over the past few years, and one at freedom of speech as well.

While MySpace as a private company certainly has the right to use these registries that way, for the government to set up a list of "people not to listen to" or worse "people who private entities should block the speech of or risk lawsuits" is a blow to free speech. Whether it's _for the children_ or not.

Next story on Slashdot: Users blocked from slashdot for a "public lewdity" offense committed in college.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of the Constitut (1)

Aphex Junkie (633436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153152)

What's even worse is that there is absolutely NO RECOURSE for sex offenders. Once a sex offender (even if by technicality or mistake or false accusation), ALWAYS a sex offender. No second chances, no retrial, and no double-checking.
You'd think that this kind of action violates the 5th amendment, but sadly the "think of the children" hysteria overpowers any logic or fairness.

Not QUITE true (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154426)

This is mostly true if they were coerced into pleading guilty.

It's also true if they can't afford an appeal attorney.

If they are lucky, new evidence will show up later, someone else will fess up to the crime, or all the victims will recant.

Otherwise, you are right. However, that's true for just about any serious crime: once you've been convicted, the burden is very high to prove you were wrongly convicted.

Why stop there? (3, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153126)

Why not just link to the DHS terrorist [slashdot.org] database and prevent them from registering as well?

And, while we're at it, why not extend this to anyone who has ever, in their entire life, done something wrong. Contact the school board! (Given the antagonistic nature toward students, I'm sure most school boards would be more than willing to provide a list of names of "troublemakers").

The notion of a convict settling his debt to society with prison time is quickly becoming antiquated. How long before "Once a criminal, always a criminal" becomes the slogan of law enforcement? How long before forgiveness is a de facto criminal act?

I understand the intentions are good. But people do change. And some "sex offenders" are little more than drunks who got convicted of public urination, or streaking, etc...

And of course, *no one* would think of registering with a fake name. NEVER!

Re:Why stop there? (1)

p43751 (170402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153368)

"Why not just link to the DHS terrorist [slashdot.org] database and prevent them from registering as well?"

Yea, the world really need more sexually frustrated terrorists.

Re:Why stop there? (0)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153414)

How long before "Once a criminal, always a criminal" becomes the slogan of law enforcement?

The "slippery slope" is not an argument, it's sophistry. No one claims that "once a criminal, always a criminal."

However, once a child molestor*, always a child molestor is quite accurate in the vast majority of cases. There are a lot of reasons someone might steal (hungry, etc), but there's only one reason you become a child molestor: because a child fits your sexual arousal profile AND you lack the ability to control yourself. If someone does it once, we know they will always be tempted. And if they did it once, we know their self-control broke down at least once, and it's possible for it to happen again.

*And no, I'm not talking about teenage sex, I'm talking about child molestation.

Re:Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154110)

"Everyone is guilty of something"

                                                  - J. Dredd, 2000 A.D.

Hey! my captcha was "lawless"! how prophetic was that?

Education and parental involvement is the answer (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153180)

The best answer is to educate children and parents and give parents the technical tools to keep track of their kids' Internet use.

The Scary Internet Sex Predator may make good headlines, but it's not the biggest molestation danger to our teens. For preteens the danger of an actual kidnapping or meeting is very very small. Predators who send teens and children dirty pictures are easy enough to track down after-the-fact if parents are smart enough to call the police.

The biggest risk to children are parents, relatives, and family friends. The highest risk predators are probably horny male teenagers who don't realize it's a serious crime, and horny dads and uncles who haven't been caught yet and think they never will be. Most of those released from jail are at low risk of committing another sex crimes against children.

Everyone should teach their kids to tattle on anyone, including mom and dad, who pulls anything funny. If mom and dad try something, the kid should tell a teacher or neighbor. The adults will usually be able to tell if something like a hug was made with good intentions or bad. Even if they can't, the child needs to know it's okay to tell adults when a man or woman gives you a hug or kiss that makes you uncomfortable or who shows you naked pictures or who asks sexual questions.

The best solution. (0, Flamebait)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153352)

Its called PARENTING....

Umm, okay (3, Insightful)

man_ls (248470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153378)

I am not a sex offender, nor do I have inklings that would lead me to become one, but I also don't register my MySpace under my real name simply because I don't want people to be able to search for me.

It's not going to do any good to prevent people from registering under alternate e-mail addresses and psuedonyms to get on the site.

The libertarian in me also doesn't believe in sex-offender registries or blacklists such as this one -- the person most likely already went to prison and has a record that will follow them the rest of their life, why not give them a legitimate chance to actually be rehabilitated? Surely the stigmatization of being labeled and tracked the rest of their lives can't help them recover and not re-offend, after all. And if they do it again, well, lock them up for longer or forever.

When will they... (1)

Reverend99 (1009807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153920)

also set up a database to prevent former 'hackers' from accessing sites containing potentially dangerous literature, like user manuals with default codes.

I'd also like to see a ban on tax-evaders from accessing the tax law to find questionable loop holes.

Whoa! (1)

Steppman2 (1029992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153924)

I hope they'll be doing this search manually, last thing we need is them deleting a bunch of profiles like Blizzard did to all those Linux users. Last thing we need is a bunch of emo kids cutting themselves because their MySpace profiles bit the dust.

Best advice... (1)

Weston O'Reilly (1008937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153994)

With the unending litany of civil liberties restrictions being placed on sex offenders, I think all adults (especially males) should seriously consider limiting their exposure to minors. Now that they're even starting to lose their right to use the internet, a false accusation can pretty much end your life. Having to spend the night in jail every Halloween for life may be annoying, but imagine also being barred from internet access in the 21st century.

Volunteering, coaching, teaching - these are now high risk professions and activities, and should be looked at with a wary eye if you value your liberty.

Just remember... (1)

FredMenace (835698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154456)

Whatever we do to sex offenders today, we will likely one day do to EVERYONE (even you).

Oh, it will start with sex offenders, and arsonists, and meth dealers, then all felons, and eventually all other criminals. Maybe even people with too many traffic citations - wouldn't it be useful for your car to recognize the cars of bad drivers, and tell you to keep your distance? What about people that are known to go around neighborhoods knocking on doors and scamming seniors? Or holding up people at knifepoint for their purses and wallets? Shouldn't we know about them? And what about people who haven't committed a crime - YET: wouldn't it be useful to be able to catch them right away when they DO commit one? (And, presumably, being watched at all times serves as a great deterrent, right?) So, when it becomes cheap and easy enough (and we've crossed enough lines in the sand that it's the "logical next step"), EVERYONE will be required to have their chip implanted at birth and be tracked everywhere they go, fingerprint/retinal scanners will be required for all computer hardware capable of connecting to a network, and omniscient cameras feeding into AI computers will be watching your every move once you step out of your house (and maybe, eventually, inside your house too - after all, no privacy concerns, nobody is watching except the computer, right?).

After all, you don't have anything to hide, do you? And it would make your children SO MUCH SAFER!!!
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