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Sex Offenders Must Hand Over Online Passwords 630

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-it-up dept.
mytrip writes "Privacy advocates are questioning an aggressive Georgia law set to take effect Thursday that would require sex offenders to hand over Internet passwords, screen names and e-mail addresses. Georgia joins a small band of states complying with guidelines in a 2006 federal law requiring authorities to track Internet addresses of sex offenders, but it is among the first to take the extra step of forcing its 16,000 offenders to turn in their passwords as well."
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Sex Offenders Must Hand Over Online Passwords

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  • Constitutionality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot@noSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:30PM (#26274675) Homepage Journal

    Yay Big Brother!

    Seriously, if these people have done their time, leave them the fuck alone.

    • by BSAtHome (455370) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:36PM (#26274745)

      Equality under the law is a Gaussian distribution from law offenders of a kind to law offenders of another kind. A bit like 2+2=5 for large values of 2. Some people are always a bit more equal than others.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Heh, they should also make them use dialup. A very slow loading connection would give them time to think "man, this is actually kind of gross". A good 20k should be enough for any sex offender!
      • by Anthony_Cargile (1336739) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:06PM (#26275055) Homepage
        Scratch that, not every sex offender necessarily looked at kiddie porn - my ignorant mistake. What actually made me remember was a neighbor that moved in a while back that had to do the door-to-door signature thing, and when I asked him what he did he said he got caught pissing in the bushes by the wrong cop back when he was in his twenties, and now he's registered for life.

        Its kind of sad for those situations really, because for one I didn't even know you could get registered for that, and now that poor guy who probably just had to pee really bad now has to get sigs and (if he lives in Georgia) hand over his internet passwords. Pissing in the bushes apparently lands you on the same level of shame as Gary Glitter these days.
        • by Kibblet (754565) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:18PM (#26275207) Homepage
          YEah, my neighsbor said he pissed in public and got arrested and put on the list. LAter on I found he sexually assaulted a 14 year old -- after he was picked up again for assaulting a 16 year old. But hey, yeah, he "pissed on a bush". I can understand not trusting the government, but that doesn't mean that you can trust the criminal, either. Don't let your hate for the government mean your common sense goes out the window.
        • Re:Constitutionality (Score:5, Informative)

          by magarity (164372) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:20PM (#26275233)

          and when I asked him what he did he said he got caught pissing in the bushes by the wrong cop back when he was in his twenties
           
          Just getting arrested doesn't mean he has to be on the sex offender list - he had to also get charged by the wrong DA and sentenced by the wrong judge. And all this time he hasn't written to the governor for a pardon? If the arrest record DOES show '~20 yro pissing in bushes while drunk in view of underage passersby' then the gov would probably take pity. With all the registration whatnot he has to go through you can probably verify his story. If you feel sorry for him and his story is true you can write to the governor yourself in support of his pardon request.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:57PM (#26275621)


            Just getting arrested doesn't mean he has to be on the sex offender list - he had to also get charged by the wrong DA and sentenced by the wrong judge. And all this time he hasn't written to the governor for a pardon?

            Sex offenders don't generally get pardons, no matter how silly the offense is. The reason is that no politician wants to be the one who has attack ads about them pardoning sex offenders.

            • by Lendrick (314723) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @12:01AM (#26276197) Homepage Journal

              * Cue creepy music and desaturated photo of current governor looking sneaky.

              "Governor so-and-so is soft on crime. He's so soft on crime that he pardons sex offenders. Also, he hats old people and puppies. Vote for Other Dude, who we know is tough on crime because when he was DA he sent some kid to jail for 8 years for shoplifting a pack of gum.

              "I'm Other Dude, and I approve this message."

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Yeah, governor's are just tripping over themselves to pardon people in this position. A sex offender getting pardoned whatever the circumstances is extremely rare.

          • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:26PM (#26275883)

            DAs and Judges both have an incentive to convict people. DAs get promotions and office based off their conviction rate and judges tend not to be re-elected if they are not 'tough on crime'.
             
            It is pretty easy to 'get the wrong DA and Judge' because the system encourages them to be wrong. They both have a financial incentive to behave that way... esp if they get to mark up the number of 'sex offenders' they can claim to have put away. People don't look to hard at the details.
             
            The governor even more so. Parden a convicted sex offender? But only child molesters are sex offenders! Front page news while the details saying the guy only pissed in the bushes might make the 7th page in a little correction bubble. Meanwhile the political damage has already been done.. so the governor has NO incentive to help the guy.

            Unfortunately, there is little to no incentive for the inverse behavior.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              The solution is pretty simply, make judges and prosecutors responsible for budgeting in the prison system. If they opponents get use, "District Attorney X spent $500 Million on inmate pillows!" it will make them think twice before rejecting a cheaper, (more proactive) solution.

              Oddly enough, I can't think of any judges who were elected, at least not in my state, that is more of an appointment here.

          • Re:Constitutionality (Score:5, Informative)

            by b4upoo (166390) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:27PM (#26275899)

            I am for doing things that work. This registration of sex offenders does very little good at all and it seems to keep people in a more dangerous state of mind as they simply can not get jobs or find places to live outside of prison. The game is sort of loaded against them to the point that they might as well commit crimes as theirs lives are a misery anyway.
                      As a matter of fact the entire criminal justice system is a failure. Regardless of the crime we need to decide which types of offenders can be set right and which probably can not and apply intense rehabilitation to people who can be helped while keeping others permanently in prison.

            • by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@ube r m 0 0 . net> on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @01:58AM (#26276999) Homepage Journal

              The thing is that the group that needs to be kept permanently in prison is likely so small that they're practically infinitesimal. Likely this group consists mostly of people who should be institutionalized rather than kept behind bars without further specialization.

              If you've seen the deleted scene of Norway from Sicko, you'll know what I'm talking about.

              Unfortunately the US prison system especially seems more concerned with punishing than rehabilitating. This is, again, likely due to politics, because voters like seeing images of "hardened criminals" behind bars. The problem is that these criminals, while some may be genuinely evil people, are also human. Treating them as a separate group, a form of "the other" [wikipedia.org], just sweeps a group of people under the rug.

              And frankly, the idea of leaving a group of people to rot just makes me sad.

        • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:40PM (#26275465)

          Scratch that, not every sex offender necessarily looked at kiddie porn - my ignorant mistake. What actually made me remember was a neighbor that moved in a while back that had to do the door-to-door signature thing, and when I asked him what he did he said he got caught pissing in the bushes by the wrong cop back when he was in his twenties, and now he's registered for life.

          Its kind of sad for those situations really, because for one I didn't even know you could get registered for that, and now that poor guy who probably just had to pee really bad now has to get sigs and (if he lives in Georgia) hand over his internet passwords. Pissing in the bushes apparently lands you on the same level of shame as Gary Glitter these days.

          Kind of sad? Kind of sad is when your hampster dies. How about it's a travesty, and an unconstitutional abuse of the justice system?

          Let's not mince words here.

    • by kimvette (919543) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:09PM (#26275721) Homepage Journal

      Agreed. If they're not ready to re-enter society and intend to continue diddling toddlers' weiners, for the love of God please keep them locked up. Once their punishment/sentence has been fulfilled leave them the fuck alone.

      There are some I feel bad for though; those charged with "statutory rape." If a 15-yr-old boy has consensual sex with his 15-yr-old girlfriend, it's an error in judgement. Perhaps it's a big error, depending on the outcome, but it's an error in judgement, not a crime. It certainly isn't rape, by any stretch of the imagination. It shouldn't be considered a criminal offense by our "justice" system.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sleigher (961421)
        Yeah but her parents were VERY upset. I mean, really, do you want some BOY screwing your daughter?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dan541 (1032000)

      I totally agree.

      If they have a "trust" issue with a convicted sex offender then, why the fuck do they release them?

  • by localroger (258128) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:32PM (#26274703) Homepage
    ...and you are better off swimming across the Rio Grande in the wrong direction than complying with this. This almost makes the county that makes you live under a bridge look sane by comparison.
  • by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:32PM (#26274707)

    ...this won't work? Or is that redundant because this is slashdot, and people here aren't idiots? I mean seriously, do these bureaucrats ACTUALLY believe sex offenders won't just make more accounts, or are they pretending to do something important(tm)?

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:40PM (#26274785) Homepage Journal

      this is slashdot, and people here aren't idiots

      You must be new here.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:23PM (#26275277) Journal

      Not only that, but they keep changing the damned rules so much we can pretty much all be called "sex offenders". It used to be there was no such things as "sex offender"-there was rapist, and there was child molester. And that worked pretty well but it just wasn't Big brother enough for the "Save teh childrenz!" types. Of course those damned save the childrens types always seem to forget that a good 80%+ of all child molestation is done by RELATIVES and NOT the evil boogie man hiding in the Internet tubes. So as others have pointed out if you are 17 and get a BJ from your 15 year old GF you are a "sex offender", you piss on a bush in some states you are now a "sex offender", and as we saw on Slashdot yesterday if you look at ANY hentai, or if your friend sends you a lame ass dirty Simpsons cartoon, well guess what? You are now a "sex offender" too!

      This is nothing but a big brother style power grab, nothing more. it quite being about protecting kids when they replaced rapist and child molester with their nice blanket term of "sex offender" which it is quickly becoming apparent can mean ANY damned thing. Did you scratch your balls in public? Sex offender! This crap passed insane a few exits back IMO and we have gone into full blown Mccarthy style witch hunting. It frankly disgusts me as an American that we have fallen so far. If this keeps up there won't be any freedoms left at all, they will just run up the "sex offender" or "terrorist" flag every time they want to take something else from us.

      And the worst part is as long as there aren't people publicly fighting against this BS the public will go right along with it and dance themselves right into a police state. And as this thread has proven, as long as you say it is for those eveil "sex offenders" there are way too many that will happily sign our freedoms away. Just fucking sad.

  • Nice. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:36PM (#26274739)

    Because no one would ever log into a website with a known sex offender's password and make incriminating posts in order to have said offender sent back to prison. Seriously, what will be the penalty when (not if) this happens?

    • Re:Nice. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:12PM (#26275121) Journal

      I was going to post pretty much the same thing. Ignoring kids using their parents' email accounts, the only reason anyone ever has for taking someone else's password is to pose as them. There is exactly zero valid reason for anyone to be forced to give up their passwords.

      Perhaps more importantly, as soon as those registered sex offenders turn in their passwords, those accounts are effectively compromised. That means that from that point forward, they are free to sexually prey upon anyone online without any risk of successful prosecution. In effect, by requiring these people to give their passwords away to third parties, they are giving sexual predators a free pass to do pretty much anything they want online....

      Wow. Two stories about state governments run by idiots on Slashdot today alone. That has to be some kind of record....

  • First Reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by notseamus (1295248) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:37PM (#26274759)

    My first reaction was that this is a grievous and unnecessary violation of privacy that would lead to nothing more than snooping by bored civil servants.

    But FTFA:
    "Staton said although the measure may violate the privacy of sex offenders, the need to protect children "outweighs a lot of the rights of these individuals."

    So it's alright then...

    • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:44PM (#26274829)
      Yeah, as long as it's for the childrun...
    • Re:First Reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:46PM (#26274843)

      I die a little inside every time someone says something is more important that the rights set down in our earliest documents. You know, the ones we wrote in response to England's tyranny. I can't believe anyone could actually believe something like that while living in this country.

      • Re:First Reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SLi (132609) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:02PM (#26275011)

        To me it's a sign of hope that some people living in the US question some of the things written in the Constitution.

        While I agree that in this case the law is bad, I very much despise blind trust in any document (a piece of paper if you will) written by humans. The Founding Fathers were exceptionally wise men, but far from the gods many Americans make them.

        Besides, you know, the Constitution has been amended a large number of times too.

        Please, just stop worshipping the Constitution blindly. I guess it comes from the American education. Don't they teach critical thinking there at all?

        • Re:First Reaction (Score:5, Informative)

          by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:17PM (#26275193) Journal

          Besides, you know, the Constitution has been amended a large number of times too.

          Please, just stop worshipping the Constitution blindly. I guess it comes from the American education. Don't they teach critical thinking there at all?

          Do you realize that the foundation for the explicit right to privacy is actually an amendment, itself? Specifically, the 4th.

        • Re:First Reaction (Score:4, Interesting)

          by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @06:48AM (#26278285) Journal

          Please, just stop worshipping the Constitution blindly. I guess it comes from the American education. Don't they teach critical thinking there at all?

          I'm not an American, but my take on it is this: Americans (the smarter ones) "worship" the concept of the Constitution as a written document regulating and limiting the rights of the government, not the document itself in its specific form. At least, I haven't yet seen people defending Constitution who objected to the idea of constitutional amendmends. Of course it's a document that has to evolve with time; the point is that there is a well-defined process of changing it, with a lots of checks and balances protecting the rights of all involved, that should be followed, and that Constitution as it stands at a given moment of time should be strictly adhered to for the whole system to be meaningful. That makes sense.

      • Re:First Reaction (Score:4, Insightful)

        by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:59PM (#26275637)

        I can't believe anyone could actually believe something like that while living in this country.

        Well, believe it. The problem with many Americans these days is that they take their freedoms for granted as if they were always there and always will be there. These are the same people who don't care about how we get the "bad guys" as long as the "right" people are caught and punished. Compounding the effects of their ignorance are the popular consumer culture and media that have taken over the public space with mindless and meaningless one way content that wastes time, reduces collective intelligence, and generally renders those enthralled by it oblivious to the gradual erosion of their hard won freedoms set down in our founding documents and nurtured for generations with the blood, sweat, and tears of an informed and involved citizenry. Perhaps one day too late they will wake up and ask, "what happened?" while the few among us who have been sounding the alarm from the very beginning smack them upside the head and say, "see, we told you so".

    • Re:First Reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Master Control P (655590) <<ejkeever> <at> <nerdshack.com>> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:49PM (#26274881)
      If you're going to strip people of their rights, start with a group/groups that everyone hate(s). Then anyone protesting is clearly pro-[group everyone hates] so they are untrustworthy and suspect themselves. Works for anti-west terrorists. Worked for Bush. Worked for Pol Pot. Worked for McCarthy. Worked for Hitler. Worked for Stalin.

      So, why do you want to help rapists, notseamus?
  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:41PM (#26274799)
    It's going to be hard to fight this sort of "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" type of thing. I mean, what are you? A pedophile? After all, only sex offenders that haven't yet been busted would object, right? So which is it? Little boys or little girls?
  • Unenforcable (Score:3, Informative)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:42PM (#26274805) Journal

    Three words: I can't remember.

  • Terminology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:42PM (#26274807) Homepage

    Remember what "Sex Offenders" means.

    It means people who raped others, or abused others.

    It means people who were accused of rape or abuse and couldn't defend themselves.

    It means 23-year-olds who were caught sleeping with their 17-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend.

    It means 18-year-olds who were caught sleeping with their 17-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend.

    It means 17-year-olds who took photographs of themselves naked, to send to their 17-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend.

    It means 17-year-olds whose 17-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend, unasked, took pictures of themselves naked and sent them.

    It means people who were driving cross-country late at night, couldn't find a public bathroom, stopped off behind a bush at 3am in the morning, and were arrested for "public indecency".

    Fall into any of the above categories? You're already shunned for life, and now, you'll have to turn over all the keys to your privacy to a bunch of government workers. But don't worry, I'm sure the well-paid honorable government employees wouldn't dream of breaching the privacy of a bunch of sex offenders.

    That could never happen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dutch Gun (899105)

      What we really need (well, among other things) is to stop pretending there's some magic dividing line that separates "children" from "adults" at the age of 18 with these laws, especially since nature starts encouraging sexual activity pretty far before that (a little thing called "puberty"). One day, you're a helpless babe that needs special protection via a slew of these laws, and the next day, you're old enough to pick up a rifle and kill people for your country. Riiight...

      People who perform vicious, te

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        This seems to be a backlash against too many instances of molesters given unbelievably light sentences, early parole despite being a clear risk for repeat offense, and so on. It's maddening that we have to swing back and forth like this without finding a reasonable solution in the middle.

        Plot the magnitude of the crime on one axis and the length of the sentence on another - there's no correlation. The common sense isn't gone, it was never there. Laws are not passed because they are prudent and there is so

    • Re:Terminology (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lamapper (1343009) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:26PM (#26275331) Homepage Journal

      Remember what "Sex Offenders" means.

      It means people who raped others, or abused others.

      It means people who were accused of rape or abuse and couldn't defend themselves.

      It means 23-year-olds who were caught sleeping with their 17-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend.

      It means 18-year-olds who were caught sleeping with their 17-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend.

      It means 17-year-olds who took photographs of themselves naked, to send to their 17-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend.

      It means 17-year-olds whose 17-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend, unasked, took pictures of themselves naked and sent them.

      It means people who were driving cross-country late at night, couldn't find a public bathroom, stopped off behind a bush at 3am in the morning, and were arrested for "public indecency".

      Fall into any of the above categories? You're already shunned for life, and now, you'll have to turn over all the keys to your privacy to a bunch of government workers. But don't worry, I'm sure the well-paid honorable government employees wouldn't dream of breaching the privacy of a bunch of sex offenders.

      That could never happen.

      You hit the nail on the head here. Anyone who molests a baby and/or child, IMO, you can shoot them and society would be better off. The problem is the definition of child. At 15 with my 18 year old girl friend, leave me alone. And at 16 with her 19, again, leave me alone....etc, etc...

      Many would have arrested my girlfriend, simply because she was 18, never mind that we started dating when I first turned 15 and she was already 17 and did not have sex until just shy of a year later. (For those of you who think she should have been arrested, this is why I never told anyone and I would certainly not have told you! If I were your child, you have obviously lost the war even if you win that battle as you have lost my trust and I would NEVER talk to you again about anything...as soon as I was 18 I would have left you cold and never looked back!)

      These issues are hardly black and white, and too many conservatives have a problem with the gray areas. I do not and my preference for judges are those that use the brain they have and apply the law appropriately to the situation. Mandatory sentencing is simply wrong.

      So for me, 15 is old enough if the person you are having sex with is in your peer group, however, 14 is not. That is my arbitrary cross to bear. And this runs against laws in at least two states where a person can be married younger than 15. That magic word "marriage" and morality is somehow placated...please.

      As usual, the devil is in the details and one persons hell is another person's heaven.

      Personally I think people need to stay out of other peoples business as long as another person is NOT being harmed.

      Can we legislate morality, sure we can, the intelligent question is should we? I think not.

      P.S. Do NOT get me started about the teenager who lied to me, told me she was 18, when I was 21, I believed her. We dated for over a month before something she said simply did not add up and I finally got her the truth out of her, that she was 15. I had no choice but to drop her like a hot potato due to her age alone, however I did NOT like the fact that it hurt her. Thank goodness I was not one to rush into sex at that stage of my life or I might have ended up in a compromising position. The whole month I was in her home, she was in my home, never saw her parents who traveled and obviously trusted her enough to leave her on her own. Another reason I assumed she was 18, her parents were in Europe and she was in the US on her own.

      I feel very sorry for the people who get lied to as I did, have sex with someone that is under the age of consent for their state, say 15 or 16; the parents find out and press charges. As a 17 year old teenager to get saddled with the label sex offender and have it follow you forever is simply pathetic and should NEVE

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rrohbeck (944847)
  • what is the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by a302b (585285) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:42PM (#26274809)
    What is the point of this? If the sex-offenders have already been caught and tried, then what does this prove? If they have already been sentenced, then any incriminating evidence is merely extra. If they haven't been tried, then can't they plead the "5th"? Finally, if this is to deter them from doing heinous acts in the future, then what is to stop them from opening another account?

    To me, this smacks of government types trying to set a legal precedent for taking over peoples passwords, online identities, etc. Because it is the evil sex offenders, the public won't care. Then later the government can say: "But there is a precedent for taking passwords; its been done for a long time." Then the public shrugs and figures that if it has been going on for a while, then it can't be all that bad. And another personal liberty is thus erased.
  • by arbiter1 (1204146) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:44PM (#26274825)
    i think this violates the 5th amendment in my view, cause you are givin' up information stored in your head up to be used against you.
  • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry,matt54&yahoo,com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:47PM (#26274857)

    From the article:

    State Sen. Cecil Staton, who wrote the bill, said the measure is designed to keep the Internet safe for children.

    The Internet isn't safe for children. That's why parents should do their job and know what their kids are doing online not using the government to create a nanny-state.

    • by snowgirl (978879) * on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:16PM (#26275181) Journal

      From the article:

      State Sen. Cecil Staton, who wrote the bill, said the measure is designed to keep the Internet safe for children.

      The Internet isn't safe for children. That's why parents should do their job and know what their kids are doing online not using the government to create a nanny-state.

      The WHOLE WORLD isn't safe for children. People need to get out of this Disney fantasy world...

  • Unconstitutional? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by diewlasing (1126425) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:47PM (#26274861)
    Didn't a federal court in Vermont recently rule that even child pornographers didn't have to turn over their passwords on the grounds that they might incriminate themselves?
  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:05PM (#26275041)

    If they're already a sex offender , then they've already been convicted, and presumably done whatever time/penance for their "crimes", right?

    What if they just say "No." when asked for their passwords? What can happen? Is it a crime to deny someone the right to violate your rights now? Remember, criminals have rights, just like the rest of us. You can't just slap some "rider" on their crime and force compliance.

    And more importantly, what would handing over those passwords do to protect the rights and privacy of those who have been "offended"?

    • Does having a sex offender's password protect another child from harm? No .
    • Does having a sex offender's password stop them from opening up a new account? No .
    • Does having a sex offender's password reduce their own right to privacy, as well as everyone else's privacy? YES .

    If someone has already done their time and chooses to go online and join some knitting mailing lists or decides to take up scrapbooking (let's not forget that women are an equal, if not larger percentage of sex offenders, caught and convicted, not just men), does some government lackey then log into their email account "just to make sure" there's nothing incriminating in there? Do they log into all of the systems they have access to? I just don't see the point.

    Nothing good can come of this.

    Do the government lackeys change the password, locking out the original owner? Do they send emails on their behalf? I don't see the point of asking for this information, since it can provide ABSOLUTELY zero additional security to the "offended", nor can it stop a determined prior offender from creating a new identity and account.

    This does nothing, except further erode our existing privacy and rights and sets a precedent that is impossible to undo, once ingrained. The government has proven themselves time and time again to be incapable of properly handling data in a secure way (losing emails, warrantless searches and wiretapping, etc.) that handing them this information would be downright stupid.

    Seriously, " Just Say No ", and let them slap you with contempt or a fine, then fight that in court, instead of setting a precedent that erodes all of our rights; those who are not being convicted of any crimes.

    I have access to systems that requires password access to, that I will NEVER give access to anyone from any government, especially if they say I "have to" give them the password. (But I've already made this clear [gnu-designs.com] before).

    • Sentences... (Score:4, Informative)

      by C10H14N2 (640033) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:25PM (#26275315)

      The problem is that we usually give people _huge_ sentences, then suspend 80% of the time so we can hold it over them when they get out, add about half that again in probation. Then, while on probation, if you fark up _anything_ they haul you back in, threaten to give you all your backup time, which they might, then tag on some additional time and probation for your violation.

      In effect, once you become a felon, you are probably going to drop dead before you truly have "served your time."

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:15PM (#26275163) Journal

    First problem: the fifth amendment. Second problem: ex post facto. This is imposing a new punishment after the crime was committed, so it can't apply to any current sex offenders.

    -jcr

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Adrian Lopez (2615)

      I don't know about the fifth amendment argument, but the "ex post facto" issue is avoided by having the courts declare that the measures aren't punitive in nature. It's patently ridiculous, but it's worked in the past [abanet.org].

  • by suprcvic (684521) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:18PM (#26275215)
    THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Catholics,
    and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

    THEN THEY CAME for me,
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.

    -Martin NiemÃller
  • by Adelle (851961) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:38PM (#26275441)
    "It wasn't me your honor. It must have been that government official to whom I gave my password."
  • by DrBuzzo (913503) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:53PM (#26275571) Homepage
    As soon as the word "Sex offender" gets used the public generally gives a knee jerk reaction to things and immediately imagines child rapists who are serial preditors of the worst kind and deserve no sympathy for what they've done. Thus as soon as it becomes a sex-offender issue anyone who opposes it must be a supporter of sex offenders or even a closet pedophile or something.

    The problem is that "sex offender" can mean someone who was 18 years old and had sex with a 17 year old and then had her father find out and go nuts and press charges. A "sex offender" could also be someone who twenty years ago dumbly took part in a fraternity prank to go streaking and got a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure.

    Those are the ones who generally get burned when they end up on the sex offender registry and lose their job or can't work as a teacher or have to live in a certain area or something like that.
  • by Hercules Peanut (540188) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:00PM (#26275641)
    If they surrender their screen name and their password, can someone else log in and pretend to be them while saying doing whatever? It seems like an unethical person could log in as one of these people and get them into a lot of trouble.

What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying. -- Nikita Khruschev

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