N.Y. Senate passes legislation to require more information from sex offenders about how they use the Internet

Poughkeepsie Journal

The New York State Senate has passed legislation to require more information from sex offenders about how they use the Internet, said Sen. Steve Saland, R-Poughkeepsie.
The Senate passed the Electronic Security and Targeting of On-Line Predators Act that would provide a number of protections so the public, especially children, can use the Internet more safely.
“Throughout my career I have made the protection of children one of my highest priorities. I passed similar legislation in the Senate last year and I am pleased the attorney general recognized the importance of this issue by putting forward this omnibus bill to help make the Internet a safer place and give parents more peace of mind when their children are online,” said Saland.
The bill would extend current laws regarding how the State tracks sex offenders from geographically to also tracking their Internet usage. For example, the current Sex Offender Registration Act requires sex offenders to register their Internet accounts – this bill requires them to register all their Internet accounts including all their chat names and screen names, and requires them to notify the Division of Criminal Justice Services whenever they change their identifiers. The information would then be available to social networking sites, such as MySpace.com or Facebook.com so they can take steps to prevent convicted sexual predators from accessing certain online services.

Just as convicted sexual predators are restricted geographically, such as not being allowed near schools, e-Stop would restrict predators from using the Internet under many circumstances. It would also authorize courts to impose Internet restrictions on sex offenders on probation.

“It is no longer enough to keep convicted sexual predators away from schools and day care centers, and track where they live and work. We must now protect children in the virtual world too. Young people can be trusting and have no idea their Internet ‘friend’ could be a convicted sex offender trolling the Internet looking for his or her next victim. As it stands now, anyone with a computer can instantly have access to millions of trusting children and these children need the best protection we can provide. The Internet may be a virtual world but this bill puts real protections in it,” Saland said.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.

[Ed: Just in case any of our readers hadn't been reading the tea leaves in recent months, passing laws to require sex offenders to divulge all of their email addresses, i.s.p.'s, instant messaging accounts, etc. is the new, new thing in legislative heroics. Lawmakers have adapted what has by now become a tried and true method for grabbing headlines as well as the moral high-ground: Inventing a danger (Internet predators) then inventing myriad "remedies" (more laws) to determine the most effective way to... raise their poll ratings. That it does nothing to stop any crime and does cost huge amounts of money to taxpayers, strips sex offenders of what little is left of their civil liberties and privacy and diverts law enforcement attention away from actual crimes, seems not to occur to many of their constituents. ]


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