Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Communications Privacy Social Networks The Internet United States Your Rights Online

Sex Offender E-Mail Registry Signed Into Law 459

Posted by timothy
from the island-of-liars-and-truth-tellers dept.
As noted in Wired yesterday, tragedy in chaos writes, "Senator and Presidential-hopeful John McCain has managed to get a new bill signed into law, in the hope of ridding online social networks of the sexual predation of children. The 'Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008,' as it is called, calls for a database to be made in which all registered sexual offenders must also register their e-mail addresses so that MySpace, Facebook, etc. can run current and hopeful users through it, and eliminate access to the offenders. Though a noble goal, this is not very well thought out in methodology. They are asking known criminals to be honest, and are expecting them not to utilize any of the free and readily available e-mail services that exist so as to circumvent the system. There is also a potential for the crafty sex offender to possibly cause false positives by just registering an address that does not belong to them, thereby drawing in innocent bystanders."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sex Offender E-Mail Registry Signed Into Law

Comments Filter:
  • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:03PM (#25389647) Homepage Journal
    As the honest ones who never meant any harm will stay honest, and will be flagged as outcasts. The ones who do mean harm though, will just ignore the request to be honest and register a gmail account.
    • by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:07PM (#25389713)

      I see it as a way to tack on more charges in the future. He didn't register?! That makes him a CRIMINAL!

      And it's computer related so there goes all your electronics.

      Anyway, god forbid they keep dangerous people in jail. I mean, that's what it's for, right? If they're still a danger to society at large, why the hell are they not behind bars?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:15PM (#25389901)

        Anyway, god forbid they keep dangerous people in jail. I mean, that's what it's for, right? If they're still a danger to society at large, why the hell are they not behind bars?

        So you are saying there's no recourse? Why don't you just kill them then, because that would save a lot of resources and time instead of keeping "dangerous" people indefinitely.

        • by morari (1080535)

          You're absolutely correct, even if it does seem that you're being sarcastic.

        • by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:28PM (#25390181)

          I don't know. I thought justice was more than punishment and retribution and revenge and vengeance. ...but of course, we'd have a lot more resources without the war on drugs.

          The point I'm trying to make is that jail is the stated place for dangerous people, right? Where they can be kept, supervised, and (in theory) made into a productive member of society? They were held, judged unfit to be free with the rest of us, and um... released before they were deemed safe to the population?

          I'm just a stickler for definitions and people holding true to doing what they say. If jail is for dangerous people, then keep dangerous people in jail. If jail is for rehabilitation, then people to be released from jail should meet whatever criteria is set and be considered free thereafter.

          • by Kleen13 (1006327) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @06:00PM (#25390811)
            The problem with sex offenders is that no matter what kind of rehab/psych treatments the offender gets, they do not change their sexual preferences. As a father, I'm torn. I'd like nothing better for the skinners of the world to be locked up forever or put in general population and let the other convicts take care of the problem to protect children like mine. On the flip side, they have their rights as well. (Flame-bait disclaimer: to have a sexual preference, not break the law and abuse children) From what I understand, most of these predators are born with their preferences and develop them throughout adolescence. You might as well ask me to stop being heterosexual, or a homosexual to just stop being gay. I don't think a registry is going to work. There is simply no reasonable way to insulate these people from those they prey on. It's all just political posturing anyway. I wonder what else ended up on that bill.
            • by icebrain (944107) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @06:10PM (#25391003)

              Well, there's also the problem that stupid little things (like pissing against a building, or taking naked photos of [i]yourself[/i] under 18) can earn you the "sex offender" label for life. I agree, the dangerous ones should be in prison, but the label is carried too far to the extreme in many cases.

              • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @06:58PM (#25391777) Journal

                Agreed. More to the point, I suspect if you really went down the rolls, you'd find that a large percentage of the sex offenders out there are guys who did something with a high school girl when they were in their 20s and got caught. You can't tell me that most of them are "dangerous" or deserve to be treated as second class citizens for the rest of their lives. (Until they mature, perhaps, but....)

                Sex offender registry laws should be reserved for the extreme cases---cases of rape in which neither party was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs (or in which the injured party was unknowingly/unwillingly subjected to drugs with intent to rape), cases in which someone over... let's say 21 intentionally and knowingly engages in or attempts to engage in sexual contact with someone under... let's say 12, etc. That gives a wide enough safety margin that it weeds out everyone but the people who truly are a danger to society.

                Without such limits, you're just ruining the lives a bunch of otherwise normal people who did stupid things when they were in high school or college. That doesn't make much sense to me (or, frankly, to anyone with half a brain). If anything, this is why laws that don't give judges any leeway in sentencing are universally bad. They create an environment in which a judge is forced to give a punishment even if the circumstances clearly do not warranty that punishment. Unfortunately, without those laws, we get problems on the other side---idiot judges who keep letting out repeat offenders who progressively work their way up to heinous crimes. I don't know what the solution is except perhaps to pass laws that would require all criminal sentencing to occur by a vote of... say seven judges who are all required to read the complete decision of the presiding judge prior to enacting sentencing (with harsh criminal penalties for any judge who regularly fails to read the decisions before voting).

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by BakaHoushi (786009)

                  While I like your idea of judges voting, I think you're missing the most basic point.

                  No matter how well you word a law, no matter how thorough you are to close up the loopholes and no matter how specific you make it, some idiot, somewhere, will screw it up. It's a law of nature. Innocents will be hurt and the guilty will get away.

                  It's just a matter of being careful enough in your wording to make these instances as rare as you can.

                • by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @11:49PM (#25394199) Journal

                  Yep sex offenders could be high school kids _consensually_ having sex with each other.

                  See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson_v._State_of_Georgia [wikipedia.org]

                  "and later being offered and receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl" = "aggravated child molestation" = mandatory 10 year jail sentence.

                  Imagine if your friend got jailed for 10 years because you voluntarily initiated sex with him. Talk about mentally scarred for life, and so who was doing the scarring - your friend? No. The State.

                  Then there are cases of high school kids sending naked pictures of themselves to others... Kids do that sort of stuff. They're silly, but they never expect that the State might jail them in order to "protect them".

                  Who needs protection like that? The State ends up being one more threat to your children's safety - if not a bigger threat.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              The problem with sex offenders is that no matter what kind of rehab/psych treatments the offender gets, they do not change their sexual preferences. As a father, I'm torn. I'd like nothing better for the skinners of the world to be locked up forever or put in general population and let the other convicts take care of the problem to protect children like mine.

              If your kids are being diddled, chances are it's someone you know - the stereotypical pedo in a van is exceedingly rare, and your kids aren't that sexy.

              That said, this is a SO registry, not a pedo registry, so I don't see what help it is barring someone who mooned the wrong guy from myspace is going to do.

            • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:28PM (#25393283)

              Well, you're correct that if somebody is attracted to children they will likely always be attracted to children.

              At the same time, recidivism rates for sex offenders is relatively low compared to many other types of crime, particularly violent crime. They may always be attracted to children, but that doesn't mean they can't be helped to control their urges or find alternate, more accepted mediums to dispense with them. There is quite a bit of porn out there, for example, claiming that the girls are children (usually 16). They very often look it, but I suspect that's not true most of the time. Obviously I have no idea if that helps, in the long run. I know doing nothing doesn't help either though.

              My main problem with all this sex offender stuff is like somebody said earlier: If they're so dangerous and can't be rehabilitated, just execute them or lock them up forever and be done with it. The idea that somebody can do their time and even not have any period of probation yet be subject for the rest of their lives to tracking (registries, etc) and humiliation/ostrasization/threats/physical harm/etc (being required to tell their neighbors if they move in, "no sex offender" housing zones) is not only repugnant to me, it seems to all but guarantee we turn them into criminals again in one way or another. These laws also seem to be all about that. Nobody who knows anything expects that this bill will ACTUALLY protect children from all but the stupidest of predators, but it's another thing for cops to be able to put a big-bad-predator back in jail. Regardless of whether or not he really did anything.

              Let's just find some internal consistency. If being a sex offender is something that makes your life forfeit, then do that. If not, let's stop passing these idiotic laws so DAs can become politicians and politicians can claim to be tough on crime and protecting your children.

            • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:59PM (#25393517)

              The sort of person who has demonstrated at least once that they're willing to assault someone with a deadly weapon not in self defense is a violent sort of person who could well do it again. Yet, assault with a deadly weapon isn't an automatic life sentence without parole, and so some potentially dangerous people are released, and yes, some of these people subsequently assault another person. We make tradeoffs between protecting society and locking everyone up all the time.

            • "The problem with sex offenders is that no matter what kind of rehab/psych treatments the offender gets, they do not change their sexual preferences"

              1) Not all sex offenders are what you are thinking of (others have pointed it out)

              2) So but do they reoffend? This is a nerd site, let's have some evidence.

              Not a reliable source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_offender#Recidivism_rates [wikipedia.org]

              But even if they reoffend, robbers and violent people reoffend too (arguably at higher rates), they're not locked up forever.

              Y

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by AK Marc (707885)
              The problem with sex offenders is that no matter what kind of rehab/psych treatments the offender gets, they do not change their sexual preferences.

              The problem is that most people on the sex offender list aren't interested in sex with under-aged people or non-consentual sex of any kind. You can get on for having pics of yourself from under 18, or peed in an alley where you thought no one could see, there are cases of people getting on the list for being under age and having sex with someone else under ag
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zappepcs (820751)

        A very salient point: If they're still a danger to society at large, why the hell are they not behind bars?

        Answer: Because without a group of people to vilify there is no easy way to sway the mindset of the public at large. If it were not for sex offenders, it might well be that we'd be protecting the children from godless atheists or some other group. Democrats perhaps? The USA system of democracy has been tortured into a shape that requires a evil-doers in order to function. We HAVE to be at war against s

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by boxxertrumps (1124859)

          If it were not for sex offenders, it might well be that we'd be protecting the children from godless atheists...

          For that, I thank them regularly for their service to society.

        • by street struttin' (1249972) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:41PM (#25390439)
          What if you don't know how many cars you own?
        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:52PM (#25390637) Homepage

          A very salient point: If they're still a danger to society at large, why the hell are they not behind bars?

          Er... because they have rights?

          I mean, yes, perhaps we could re-evaluate particular statutes, but criminals can't be held in jail for longer than their prison sentence. Often, it's hard to just lock someone up and throw away the key because of protections against "cruel and unusual punishment".

          Of course, it depends (at least somewhat) on what you consider to be a "sex offender". I was reading a story [go.com] earlier today about a teenage girl who might be forced to register as a sex offender for distributing nude pictures of herself.

        • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @07:48PM (#25392413)
          A very salient point: If they're still a danger to society at large, why the hell are they not behind bars?
          Answer: Because without a group of people to vilify there is no easy way to sway the mindset of the public at large

          .

          Have you ever taken a look at your county's registry of sex offenders?

          It tends to strip away any illusions you might have about how these men came to make the list.

          It wasn't for pissing in the park:

          From upstate New York:

          Victims: Females Ages 1, 4, 7, and 10
          Attempted sexual intercourse
          MoreThanOnce Deviate Sexual Intercourse
          MoreThanOnce Sexual Contact
          MoreThanOnce Promoting/Possessing Sexual Performance by a Child
          Force used: Threat
          Computer used: Yes
          Pornography involved: Yes

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ssstraub (581289)
            I took your challenger and looked up my county's registry of sex offenders and here's the first one I found (entirely at random) and it looks quite a bit like "pissing in the park" to me:

            Appearance White Male; age 36; 5 ft. 7 in. tall; 145 pounds; Brown hair; Brown eyes

            Sex Offender Registration Offenses:

            Failure to Register as a Sex Offender 01/22/2007

            Indecent Exposure 08/15/2005
          • by LihTox (754597) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:25PM (#25393699)

            1. The plural of anecdote isn't data. I'll believe that there are some nasty guys on sex offender lists, but I suspect there are also kids who had sex with their childhood sweetheart when they were underage, urinated in the park, etc.

            2. If we want to keep track of nasty people after they've been in jail, why is this list restricted to SEX offenders? Is a murderer who's released after 20 years less of a danger to his community than a rapist?

            3. No bones about it, these restrictions we place on sex offenders after they've served ARE punishment: they restrict their freedom, their ability to live where they want, work where they want, maybe even work at all. Is it fair to add to the sentence of criminals after the fact? Or would you sacrifice freedom for security at all costs?

          • by plasmacutter (901737) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @11:04PM (#25393947)

            Let's examine the last part of this shall we?

            Force used: Threat
            Computer used: Yes
            Pornography involved: Yes

            What is so special about computers and pornography?

            How about we also include other entries to vilify baselessly through connection with child abuse.

            Public roads used: yes

            Oh you use the interstate? *whisper*it's probably one of those perverts, you know the ones, get steph up to her room*whisper*

            Late Model Automobile used: yes
            Briefcase used: Yes
            Designer Suit used: yes
            Perscription eyeglasses used: yes

            Now instead of vilifying computer geeks, suddenly every corporate executive, doctor, and lawyer will be eyed as a potential threat to the innocence of your child.

            For another, quite realistic example:
            Cross used: Yes
            Collar used: Yes
            Communion wafers used: Yes

      • by spud603 (832173) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:18PM (#25389963)

        Anyway, god forbid they keep dangerous people in jail. I mean, that's what it's for, right?

        You make it sound like a foregone conclusion that prison is nothing more than a way to cordon off undesirables. It may well be, but that's by no means the generally accepted fact.
        For the idealists out there, prison is supposed to rehabilitative. For the Machiavellians it's a political tool of disenfranchisement.

        • by bugs2squash (1132591) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @07:00PM (#25391803)
          I consider myself an idealist. I want a prison system that...

          1) Renders capital punishment un-necessary. We're not a small island nation, we truly can afford to lock up the heinous forever and we can achieve it.

          2) Treats rehabilitation as second only in priority to containment for prisoners who are physically dangerous. They should not be released at all unless we can be reasonably certain that they are no longer a threat.

          3) Does not double as a housing project for lots of non-physically-dangerous offenders. Let them go, employ them in something productive, do whatever, but don't feed them three squares a day while they're sat on their ass doing nothing but learning how to be better criminals from the other cons.

          decades of "get tough" cheap politics have done little to make people safer, have run up huge bills, and fucked-up a lot of people.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by atraintocry (1183485)

            While we're at it, maybe "rehab" shouldn't be a euphemism for the prison industry getting cheap forced labor out of inmates.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by aldousd666 (640240)
              Why the hell not? They get cheap free meals out of it. What the hell is wrong with having them work while they sit and ponder their predicament?
        • by zooblethorpe (686757) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @07:10PM (#25391961)

          The real irony in many ways is that Niccolò Macchiavelli was actually very much a republican (as in, one who favors the republic as a form of governance :), but one who understood that the republic can falter. The New Yorker posted an interesting (and long) look at his life [newyorker.com] last month, which is worth the read for anyone interested. Machiavelli's possibly most well-known work, Il Principe [gutenberg.org], can indeed come across as archetypically "machiavellian" (as we use the term today), but reading it more closely brings to light advice to would-be rulers that they cannot be callous, ruthless bastards and expect to hold onto their jobs for very long. Some choice quotes, courtesy the linked article:

          A prince must have the people on his side, otherwise he will not have support in adverse times.

          A prince need not worry unduly about conspiracies when the people are well disposed toward him. But if they are his enemies and hate him, he must fear everything and everybody.

          The best fortress for the prince is to be loved by his people.

          Ultimately, the current strategy in the US of criminalizing broad swaths of otherwise harmless behaviour and locking up everyone who disagrees with the movers and shakers is pretty far from Machiavelli's advice to would-be rulers, given the mounting discontent this generates. Machiavelli actually comes across a bit as an old-school Taoist (in terms of Lao-zi, not Zhuang-zi) -- keep the people fat, happy, and dumb, and they will be easy to rule. Pissing them off and depriving them of common liberties left and right just isn't a smart move.

          Cheers,

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by xenocide2 (231786)

            "The Prince" was spectacularly bad advice. Anyone following it would surely disgrace not only themselves in the end, but also their families for generations to come. Families like the Medicci. His advice is basically: arm the citizens, emulate the tyrant son of the Pope, Cesare Borgia, and to appoint people who opposed you as advisors. This is a recipe for failure, amusingly justified throughout the book.

            Under no circumstance does "The Prince" advocate keeping the people fat, happy and dumb. He advocates cu

      • by mishehu (712452) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:47PM (#25390529)

        I've heard that in some regions of the USA you can be labeled a sex offender for doing any of the following:
        1. Peeing in a public alleyway.
        2. Have sex in the backseat of your car with your significant other.
        3. Be in possession of pictures of your girlfriend's boobs, when both of you are say, 16 years old.
        It seems that Americans have a terrible hangup about sex. You would get the impression that we don't have sex unless it's through a sheet with a hole in it, and not without scrubbing down as if we're surgeons going in to operate... And teenagers are not allowed to have any sex whatsoever. They can't even play doctor. (Not to mention that for most of the history of humanity, people started having sex as soon as the parts were fully functional...)

        That being said, EXACTLY how is this legislation supposed to improve the Internet and not just ruin the lives of people undeserving such punishment and waste a crapload of taxpayer dollars?

        • by Sabby (1759) <chapmand@g m a i l . c om> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @06:15PM (#25391063) Homepage

          Add to that list:

          4. Have sex at an age of 18 when your partner is under the age of consent, but not signifigantly younger than you. (You're newly 18, partner is one month from 16 here in the state of Michigan. Friend's nephew learned that one the hard way.)

          5. Skinny dipping in a secluded area when someone happens by.

          6. Homosexual sex with a consenting partner in some states.

          This is just a case of politicians trying their best to look good and gather votes by engaging in a crusade against Bad People(tm). So, we end up with zero-tolerance laws.

          No one wants to vote against them because their opponents will then say "Politician Blahblah is soft on sex offenders."

          This is not a US phenomenon, it's a democratic phenomenon. We just happen to have sex as our particular hangup... other countries have harmless weapons as their hangup.

          "We must ban crossbows. I once heard a crossbow was used in a crime in a little known area, one time. So, there's no reason you should need one. I propose a ban."

          (Never mind that I can use a pencil to do harm to another person, and thus use the threat of that harm to commit the same crime. Or even just my fists.)

      • The point is... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by C10H14N2 (640033) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @06:31PM (#25391321)

        To create an ever expanding list of things that are not criminal unless you've already committed a crime.

        So, you're out from something that got you on the sex offender list. You've served five years and have no inclination toward recidivism. You accidentally send an email to your mom from a friend's account extolling the virtues of Rhubarb and suddenly you're hit with twenty-years' backup time, plus a new charge adding an additional ten years for using an unregistered email address.

        A friend of mine didn't get the notice a court fee didn't post and his license was suspended. So, driving four miles per hour under the limit, he got stopped and they informed him of the suspension. Welcome to fifteen years backup plus another one... for a paperwork mistake.

        These laws aren't meant to keep people who truly are dangerous off the streets. They're designed to hold a de facto life sentence over anyone convicted of any crime and ensure that Corrections Corp. of America experiences perpetual "market expansion."

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Reziac (43301) *

          I've noticed a huge increase in the "we'll get you one way or another" type of laws ever since private industry got hold of the prison system. D'ya think there just might be some lobbying and conflict of interest there, hmmmm??

          Example: CA Prop 6, on this November's ballot, would make it a felony to fail to register with police if you're a gang member. (For this post, we'll ignore the fact that it's unconstitutional as it violates the right of freedom of assembly.) Now, what good is such a law? It means that

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      And what about those that didn't really do any harm? Not everyone on the sex offenders list is a 30 year old guy that molested some sweet young 12 year old.

      18 year old and his 17 year old girlfriend with over zealous parents.
      Urination in public while drunk (or sober).
      Changing clothes (not underwear) out in "public". This hits close to home because at Rugby tournaments we don't get locker rooms. You pull up and change in the parking lot. I've heard of people that got railroaded because the park was X yards f

    • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @06:36PM (#25391401) Homepage

      I hate jacking a high-up post, but it needs to be said that both McCain AND OBAMA [govtrack.us] were co-sponsors of this bill. "tragedy in chaos [mailto]" is a hypocritical jackass, and this article's blurb needs amended.

  • by BlowHole666 (1152399) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:04PM (#25389669)
    They should make a new domain for sex offender e-mail addresses. Make every sex offender get an e-mail address at this domain and restrict their access to other free e-mail services. The domain can be called. hotmail.com
  • by Rinisari (521266) * on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:05PM (#25389671) Homepage Journal

    "Your new account could not be created because your email address is on the US Federal Sex Offender List."

    YOU GOT SEXROLL'D!

    • by DaFallus (805248) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:14PM (#25389883)
      $1 to whoever gets McCain's email added. $100 to whoever adds all of Congress!
    • I think that social networking sites would actually implement such a feature, just so they can list it on their "how we protect your privacy" page. But man that sounds SO ridiculous.. your email address is blacklisted. Is there ANY identifying information in life more transient than an email address?!
  • George_Lucas@starwars.com. He won't get away with it ever again...

    Yes, it's a South Park reference.

  • by kinthalas (102827) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:05PM (#25389683)

    Seriously? Anyone else think that's a bad name?

  • There's no way.

  • by MrCawfee (13910) <mrcawfee@nOSPaM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:06PM (#25389697) Homepage

    ... it's just stupid.

    Myspace: Sorry, you can't create an account, you are a pervert.
    Pervert: hmmmm, Eureka! I've Got It!
    Hotmail: here, have an email account.
    Myspace: I see you aren't a pervert now, welcome!

  • by nsayer (86181) * <[moc.ufk] [ta] [reyasn]> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:06PM (#25389707) Homepage

    They are asking known criminals to be honest, and are expecting them not to utilize any of the free and readily available e-mail services that exist so as to circumvent the system.

    Gun laws do not prevent felons from using guns to commit crimes. They do, however, mean that felons who use guns to commit further crimes get to stay in prison for much longer because of having violated those gun laws in addition to whatever crime they committed with the gun. That's what this law is about. It won't keep some perv from using mailnator to set up a myspace page, but if they get caught trolling myspace with it, the fact that they didn't register their e-mail address means that they get a longer prison sentence. That's the whole point.

    There is also a potential for the crafty sex offender to possibly cause false positives by just registering an address that does not belong to them, thereby drawing in innocent bystanders.

    1. Cui bono? Why would they bother to do this, except just to be a dick?

    2. I rather suspect that the penalty for supplying false information will be comparably stiff to not supplying it at all, which would seem to be sufficient deterrent.

    • 2. I rather suspect that the penalty for supplying false information will be comparably stiff to not supplying it at all, which would seem to be sufficient deterrent.

      Yes, because that works so well for keeping people from breaking laws.

      • by nsayer (86181) *

        In this case, you'd have a victim who'd be able to pretty easily identify the perp, so yeah, it WOULD work pretty well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lupis42 (1048492)
      But let me tell you, it would be far more hilarious to register Sarah Palin's yahoo account than to hack it.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:16PM (#25389923)

      2. I rather suspect that the penalty for supplying false information will be comparably stiff to not supplying it at all, which would seem to be sufficient deterrent.

      You have much in common with our elected officials. They make assumptions about the laws they sign, and don't bother to read them either. As for me, I rather suspect that you will change your tune in a hurry if your name appears in the list (I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt by assuming that you aren't already a sex offender.)

    • by Drakin020 (980931) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:17PM (#25389945)

      Gun laws do not prevent felons from using guns to commit crimes. They do, however, mean that felons who use guns to commit further crimes get to stay in prison for much longer because of having violated those gun laws in addition to whatever crime they committed with the gun. That's what this law is about. It won't keep some perv from using mailnator to set up a myspace page, but if they get caught trolling myspace with it, the fact that they didn't register their e-mail address means that they get a longer prison sentence. That's the whole point.

      Then why not just make the sentence more harsh for second time offenders rather than create another law to increase the time in jail?

      • *cough* mod parent UP

        Well duh, this way, those on the list can contact all the others on the list, and form a group! Imagine... millions(?) of them create their own group, and private little forums now!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by boxxertrumps (1124859)

        Because that's exactly what they would expect!

    • by Sancho (17056) *

      There is also a potential for the crafty sex offender to possibly cause false positives by just registering an address that does not belong to them, thereby drawing in innocent bystanders.

      1. Cui bono? Why would they bother to do this, except just to be a dick?

      How long have you been on the Internet?

    • by evanbd (210358)

      It won't keep some perv from using mailnator to set up a myspace page, but if they get caught trolling myspace with it, the fact that they didn't register their e-mail address means that they get a longer prison sentence. That's the whole point.

      Why is this a good thing, exactly? If they should be in jail longer, then make the jail terms for the offense that actually hurt someone longer. I really don't see how whether they used an alternate email address or not changes how much harm was done, or how long they should be in jail for as a result. The *only* way this law makes sense is if it has preventative value. And, as other have explained in more detail, it has none. The only effects are retroactive, but the only possible benefit is preventat

      • by nsayer (86181) *

        I didn't say it was a good thing. I said that the arguments against it in the story were dumb.

  • by davinc (575029) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:07PM (#25389729)
    Can't imagine spending my life with that albatross around my neck when I wasn't the one to shoot it.
  • Once again the politicians, with solemn faces, intone "Save the Children!" and pass a law the only demonstrable purpose of which is to make them look caring to constituents too ignorant to see it's flaws.
  • As the owner of a domain, I possess a countably infinite number of email addresses. All of them are mine, and I can use them when I feel like it. If I ever were to appear on this list, I suspect the USA government will run out of disk space before I run out of email addresses.

    The same holds for anyone with a gmail account, by the way, with the *+username@gmail.com addressing scheme and all.
  • by Halo- (175936) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:13PM (#25389845)
    I would be surprised if this law prevented even a single case of contact between a known offender and a child.

    The only thing it will ever be used for is to tack another charge onto the sentences of repeat offenders if they are found to have not registered. (Which is a good thing, but is a side-effect...)

    The same result could be obtained by simply increasing the punishment for sexual offenses. This would cost less are possibly deter more (since it could be across the board, and not just for reoffenders who got caught and then discovered to be in non-compliance) Of course, it wouldn't allow MySpace to slap a happy "sex-offender free zone!" sticker on their website, and wouldn't let McCain play the "See, I know about the Internet... kinda... and I protect children! Yea me!" card.

    I suppose it will also be fun to see how this is spun as a groundbreaking wonderful thing in tonight's debate.
    • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:27PM (#25390163)

      The only thing it will ever be used for is to tack another charge onto the sentences of repeat offenders if they are found to have not registered. (Which is a good thing, but is a side-effect...)

      A good thing? Really? I'd prefer a legal system that doesn't play shenanigans to add years to convicts' sentences, whatever the crime. If you want harder sentences for an offence, make the sentences harder, don't corrupt the legal process with this kind of crap.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pavon (30274)

      The same result could be obtained by simply increasing the punishment for sexual offenses.

      No, because if you did that you could only punish people who committed sex offenses after the law was passed. Why settle for that when you can pass laws that continually to tack on additional punishments to people who have already paid their debt to society? People who have committed a crime in the past don't deserve to have any sort of freedom.

  • Tagging (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VE3OGG (1034632) <VE3OGG@EINSTEINrac.ca minus physicist> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:14PM (#25389865)

    Someone please tag this 'youhavegottobekiddingme'!

    Do these politicians even run this drivel past their kids. Surely a 10 year old could point out the flaws in these bills...

  • It seems like these days Congress believes they're experts at everything. Legislation on the internet? We don't need to hear from engineers or computer scientists or anyone else with credentials in the field cause, goddamn, getting a juris doctor gives you a doctorate in everything.

    I think this is happening more and more, especially in the sciences, as laymen try and insinuate that scientists actually don't know any more than them. Just 30 years ago a scientific opinion would have been worth much more.

    I'm n

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:16PM (#25389931) Journal

    IANAL, but the idea with these kind of laws is usually to create a lesser charge that can be used as leverage to prevent a greater crime for occurring. In this case, a sex offender can be taken offline for having their email address on a kid's forum, without having to wait for them to start a relationship with a minor. It's important to be very cautious about these kinds of laws, but in this case, I have to cautiously agree.

  • Too late (Score:3, Interesting)

    by philspear (1142299) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:18PM (#25389969)

    Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008

    So... when did the "Getting rid of the sexual predators and deviants already on the internet act" get passed?

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Funny)

    by jlarocco (851450) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:18PM (#25389973) Homepage

    This can't be real, can it? Did he threaten to clog their tubes if they didn't comply?

    Sigh. [govtrack.us]

  • The "Do Not Fly List" is for people who are considered not too dangerous to be arrested for (whatever action), but are considered too dangerous to fly.

    Here you have another kind of these lists.

    Resolve the problem by the roots, take computers away from children :-)

  • by Ortega-Starfire (930563) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @05:36PM (#25390341) Journal

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-431 [govtrack.us]

    Sponsor: Sen. Charles Schumer [D-NY]

    Co-Sponsors:
    Cosponsors [as of 2008-10-15]
    Sen. Ted Stevens [R-AK]
    Sen. John McCain [R-AZ]
    Sen. John Kerry [D-MA]
    Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D-CA]
    Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY]
    Sen. Barack Obama [D-IL]
    Sen. Jon Kyl [R-AZ]
    Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I-CT]
    Sen. Olympia Snowe [R-ME]
    Sen. Michael Crapo [R-ID]
    Sen. Arlen Specter [R-PA]
    Sen. Tim Johnson [D-SD]
    Sen. Mary Landrieu [D-LA]
    Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-MN]
    Sen. Charles Grassley [R-IA]
    Sen. Kay Hutchison [R-TX]
    Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX]
    Sen. Patrick Leahy [D-VT]
    Sen. David Vitter [R-LA]
    Sen. Benjamin Cardin [D-MD]

    Any reason you feel like mentioning McCain but not Hillary, or the fact that they were merely co-sponsors? Or the fact that the vote was in fact, unanimous?

    • by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @06:20PM (#25391163)

      Any reason you feel like mentioning McCain but not Hillary, or the fact that they were merely co-sponsors? Or the fact that the vote was in fact, unanimous?

      Well... Wired says that McCain wrote the bill. That's why the editors mentioned McCain.

      But your link throws that into question. There's no indication at the govtrack site that McCain had anything to do with writing it--Schumer is the main sponsor, and McCain shows up in a list of co-sponsors along with Obama.

      Also, Schumer said in his speech [govtrack.us] that he authored the bill, and doesn't mention McCain.

      So... I call Shenanigans on Wired.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Any reason you feel like mentioning McCain but not Hillary, or the fact that they were merely co-sponsors? Or the fact that the vote was in fact, unanimous?

      It's called smear tactics and political bias when done why the Right. It's called 'oops we did that? so sorry' when done by the Left.

  • ACRONYMS == BAD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @06:19PM (#25391135) Homepage Journal

    As a general rule, any act that has a "cute" or "fancy" nickname is instantly a very bad one, passed only to increase one's chances of re-election or up the approval rating. They likely spend more time thinking of the bill's acronym rather than the actual bill.

    This act is no different. "Ah, but what's KIDSP?" you ask. I wondered that myself, and then I saw it:

    Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008
    KIDS' Predators Act (Apostrophe mine)

    Aw, how cute. I bet they spent an hour trying to figure out how to get the apostrophe in there.

    Remember, folks: A->B does not mean that !A->!B. An act can still be bad without a nice acronym, but the congresscritters make it easier to spot bad bills by adding them in.

  • by ihtarlik (1368251) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @06:36PM (#25391409)
    Speaking as someone who has years of experience dealing with "the sex offender issue," I can tell you that this law (like many others proposed at the state level) will be counterproductive. Some states and the Federal Government currently have the ability to keep dangerous individuals locked up indefinitely. It's called civil commitment.

    Recently, in Missouri, several state senators have begun speaking up about more intelligent legislation regarding sex offenders. The unintended consequence of having harsher laws is that they further remove an individual from society. It is that removal and isolation that prompts them to delve deeper into deviancy.

    We need laws that allow for tracking, but that do not create further punishment where no more criminal acts are involved. Also, about 4-5% of "sex offenders" are the really heinous ones we hear about on the news. The other 95% are unlikely to commit another sex crime.

    For more accurate information, see the article "Misunderstood Crimes [sciam.com]" by Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld, featured in Scientific American Mind, April/May 2008, page 78-9.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

Working...