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Privacy The Internet

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@ ... m minus math_god> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:30PM (#26274675) Homepage Journal

    Yay Big Brother!

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

  • by localroger (258128) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:32PM (#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 @08:32PM (#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 BSAtHome (455370) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:36PM (#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.

  • First Reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by notseamus (1295248) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:37PM (#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...

  • Terminology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:42PM (#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.

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

    by a302b (585285) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:42PM (#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.
  • Re:First Reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:46PM (#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.

  • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54@NoSpam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:47PM (#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.

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

    by The Master Control P (655590) <[ejkeever] [at] [nerdshack.com]> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:49PM (#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 Firehed (942385) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @08:56PM (#26274951) Homepage

    "Sex Offender" != "Child Molester" (!= "Pedophile" for that matter, not that it's relevant)

    You can get tagged as the former for getting caught urinating in public in some places. Yeah, I'm fine with banning child molesters from social networks and forcing at least a reasonable degree of transparency in their online activity (I can see no reason they'd have to give up their banking passwords, etc.), but do you think it's fair that someone who got cited for doing something stupid after having a bit too much to drink would have no online privacy, period? Because if so, please get the fuck out of my country.

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

    by SLi (132609) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:02PM (#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?

  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:05PM (#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).

  • by Anthony_Cargile (1336739) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:06PM (#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.
  • Re:First Reaction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:10PM (#26275097)

    Clearly, his reply of

    So it's alright then...

    Shows that he, in fact, does not agree with the ideology. Let me play Devil's Advocate for one moment. The American Revolution did not happen until:

    a. the system was broken for long enough
    b. people were generally unhappy with the broken system
    c. an event that "broke the camels back" happened

    The only good that could come from legislation like this is that it puts us that much closer to the breaking point. Unfortunately, at this rate, the revolution will take nearly a century. Hopefully, history remembers us as the disgruntled serfs... Unhappy about how things are, too weak to affect change. That's how most of us feel.

  • Re:Nice. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:12PM (#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....

  • by idsfa (58684) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:12PM (#26275123)

    1) Hand over passwords
    2) Commit illegal online acts
    3) Cite inevitable failure of state security audit as proof that your username/password can no longer be uniquely tied to you
    4) Reasonable doubt acquittal

  • by Repossessed (1117929) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:13PM (#26275137)

    It's meant to be an excuse to toss people into jail when they slip up. It'll either be unenforced but used to toss someone in jail when the prosecutor has a bug up his ass over someone otherwise innocent, or be unevenly punished across racial/class/whatever strata.

    Nearly the entirety of US law is built for this purpose.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:15PM (#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

  • by snowgirl (978879) * on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:16PM (#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...

  • by CheshireDragon (1183095) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:17PM (#26275185) Homepage
    Are you a parent that watches your kid all the time or are you the lazy one who wants the internet to be policed by law enforcement? The parent should be the first line of defense as to what your kid(s) look at or whom they talk too online. Lazy parents simply should not have had kids or they can suffer the consequences of their actions, or lack there of. Children should be educated and taught NOT to meet people from online. Even myself having a 4yr old son I think this law is ri-goddamn-diculous. I will take care of my son an educate him properly on internet use and whom he can and can not talk to.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:17PM (#26275191)

    The reasoning behind letting people out of prison is that they are sufficiently rehabilitated to once again live in society. When a prisoner walks out the doors, society's responsibility is to allow him a chance to reintegrate. You don't do that by alienating him and strapping a giant red warning light onto his back. That creates recidivism.

  • by Kibblet (754565) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:18PM (#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.
  • by suprcvic (684521) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:18PM (#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 hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:23PM (#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.

  • Re:Terminology (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dutch Gun (899105) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:24PM (#26275303)

    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, terrible acts against other human beings, especially young children, deserve the full wrath of the law. 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.

    Sigh... Where did the common sense go?

  • Re:Terminology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lamapper (1343009) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:26PM (#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

  • by stonecypher (118140) <stonecypherNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:28PM (#26275345) Homepage Journal

    No.

    For similar reasons, we do not "leave [other] convicts the fuck alone". Perhaps you should find out what parole and warrant officers do, or what a felon has to do after they get out of jail. Just because they've done their time doesn't mean that they're suddenly less dangerous to the surrounding populace. Indeed, if you take the time to talk to a psychologist, you'll find that there are a handful of behavioral disorders which are currently considered incurable, and that sexual predators are among them.

    When you commit any felony, you permanently lose rights. That's one of the founding principles of our legal system. That's been there ever since the Shakers originally designed the system.

    Maybe you should find out what depo-provera is, before you get so worked up over a password. Many of these people are forcibly chemically castrated. This is really a tiny thing compared to the rest of the life-long things that happen to these people.

  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:34PM (#26275405) Journal

    Your neighbour can use this lie because there ARE actually people to whom it happened.

  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:36PM (#26275425)

    Yeah, I'm fine with banning child molesters from social networks and forcing at least a reasonable degree of transparency in their online activity

    No, NO, NO.

    These are the little cracks facists drive a wedge into. You may be well intentioned, but not everyone is as well-intentioned as you.

    The constitution is not just a silly piece of paper.

    If the convict has served his time, his name must be cleared. For every crime. Always. Without condition.

    If he is still perceived as a danger to the public, then someone fucked up. He should have been sentenced more time in jail, or should not have been released on parole.

    Any attempts to punish a person after they have served their sentence are unconstitutional and petty facism, masquerading under the sick guise of morality.

  • by Adelle (851961) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:38PM (#26275441)
    "It wasn't me your honor. It must have been that government official to whom I gave my password."
  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:40PM (#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 calmofthestorm (1344385) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:56PM (#26275603)

    This is exactly why we have things like a constitution and checks and balances. To prevent the majority from oppressing minorities.

  • by websitebroke (996163) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:57PM (#26275617)
    Um, your example for level 2 seems a bit off. The kids featured in child pornography are definitely harmed.
  • Re:Terminology (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Master Control P (655590) <[ejkeever] [at] [nerdshack.com]> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:58PM (#26275629)

    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 something to do, but because the idiot masses have panicked and demand that something be done. Hence we end up with a patchwork of ridiculous overshooting and undershooting.

    It might help if America's sadistic prison system didn't gaurantee that anyone who isn't a hardened criminal going in will be one coming out, but that's another story.

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

    by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:59PM (#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".

  • by Hercules Peanut (540188) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:00PM (#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.
  • by zach297 (1426339) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:02PM (#26275653)
    I think you are missing that being registered as a sex offender is part of their sentence. Yeah they did their time but that was not their entire sentence.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:07PM (#26275701)
    They have a name for this "system" you speak of. It is called tyranny. We fought a war to get rid of the English tyranny.

    After fighting the American revolution our country created a supreme law of the land, called the constitution. Through amendments to it, we now have rights that our founding fathers thought that everyone was entitled to. Among these include the right to be protected from "unreasonable searches" no matter who it is. Guess what, Hitler used same tactics to convince the German people to go along with his fascist rule. He took a group that was unpopular (Jews) and took away their rights, then he took away rights of other people till he took away the rights of everyone else.

    The American people are are just like the German people, because of their hatred for sex offenders they are willing to let the constitution and all freedoms to be lost for everyone.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:09PM (#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.

  • by Galactic Dominator (944134) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:10PM (#26275729)

    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 kimvette (919543) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:16PM (#26275775) Homepage Journal

    You can get tagged as the former for getting caught urinating in public in some places.

    That's ridiculous; it's a natural function and when you have to go, you have to go. It shouldn't be a crime. The worst I could see is charging someone with littering or vandalism if it's in the middle of a lawn or sidewalk. Now, I don't want to see all you guys taking a whiz out in the city streets, but if you duck behind a bush, who the hell cares? It's NOT exposure, let alone indecent exposure, and certainly isn't sexual harassment.

    If you're a holy roller bent on extinguishing any glimpse of human genitalia from public view, then maybe you might want to consider who designed the human body to excrete waste fluids and eliminate waste. Blame God, if you think it's so evil.

    I'd have a problem with people taking a dump out in the middle of a street, but geez, if someone uses a little discretion and takes effort to find some privacy, what's the big deal? I grew up in a rural area and when I was growing up, if we were working out in the garden or whatever, if my dad had to go, he went, out in the middle of the field. He'd just turn his back to us and take a whiz or whatever.

    It's nature. It's natural. Just deal widdit already and get over yourselves.

    I find it insane that you can land on a sex offender list for taking a whiz outside. It's bullshit, plain and simple.

    That actually happened to my friend's dad. He eventually fought it and got off the lists, but it was a long and expensive fight (this IS massachusetts after all) --- and he should have never been on the list in the first place. When you have to pee, you have to pee. If you have a problem with seeing someone peeing behind a bush, maybe you should start minding your own business and not be a peeping tom? :)

  • by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:19PM (#26275807)

    Being a registered sex offender is not parole -- you don't have the option to get out early if you choose to register -- you must register even after serving all your time, whether or not that time includes parole.

    Frankly I think it's absurd that we even have such a list, regardless of what you did to get on it. If we want to punish "sex offenders" for their entire lives, why not simply increase the length their jail sentences? Why create this whole underclass of half-citizens that are required to work for a living but not allowed to live in town?

  • by john.picard (1440397) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:20PM (#26275827)
    What's to prevent this sort of thing from being extended beyond sex offenders to include other types of crime, such as gangs, drugs, theft, etc? Before you know it, anybody convicted of anything is required to hand over everything. And then you accidentally cross the street when it says, "Don't Walk" and you're toast.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:25PM (#26275869)

    That's how things were when the first registries were released and it is how most other countries handle their registries.

    Unfortunately, the US is run by a bunch of fundamentalist whack-jobs who are high on "tough on crime" power and the populace continues to re-elect them for it after watching episodes of "to catch a predator".

    Bleh.

  • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:26PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:44PM (#26276073)

    No, it is not.

    Your information and personal space is totally fair game for law enforcement or government if you are currently on parole or probation.

    However, all of these "sex offender registry" laws are being passed retroactively to apply to all persons convicted of a crime that happens to be on a "these crimes are really iicky" list.

    The man convicted in 1952 is also being required to hand over his password, even though he served his time and was released in 1954 and has not done more than take out his neighbor's trash since then.

    So no, it is YOU who missed the point.

  • by freyyr890 (1019088) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:52PM (#26276123) Homepage
    I'm Canadian, so I'm no expert on American law, but are you sure that's a valid interpretation of double jeopardy? The additional rapes, it seems, would indicate separate offenses, not protected by double jeopardy. On a similar note, just because you've been acquitted of one murder does not grant you the right to slaughter people left and right without recourse.
  • by TheoMurpse (729043) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:57PM (#26276169) Homepage

    I will personally call the circuit judge and fix it

    Circuit judges are federal. Thus, the lower court judge who made the "mistake" is federal. So your comment that the judge "doesn't have a future on the bench" is ridiculous. Federal judges are appointed for life. You won't get impeached for overpunishing a guy who exposed himself in public. Additionally, appellate judges are extremely loathe to overturn a sentence issued by a trial judge. The standard is typically "clear error" to overturn. I don't think this would be "clear error" to overturn from a federal circuit court judge, typically old and separated from the day-to-day living of regular citizens.

    If you made such an error, I'm wondering how much you actually know about the justice system. And good luck actually getting a circuit judge on the phone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:58PM (#26276171)

    So, just like all the other retarded "patriotic" Americans. Where does it stop. Do you think if you give the Government an inch (Sex Offenders) they will stop at that. Fuck no, they will move on to anything else they see as "offensive" to whatever lobbying group gives the most money and puts on the most pressure. You fucktards never look at the bigger picture because you are too busy sadistically looking to punish someone for something. The fact is Sex Offenders of all kinds are usually grouped together as one hated group and it is such an easy issue to get dumbass Americans like yourself incited it keeps the current generation of privileged career politicians elected. So go ahead, let the Government select a demographic to punish unconstitutionally because before you know it, it will be be whatever demographic poses a political or social threat. I'd also charge that it is a very interesting thing that people like yourself get off so hard on social justice that you would leak it into the realms of the criminal justice system. If sex offenders commit a harsh crime, put them away longer, don't lock them up, set them free, then take away their civil liberties because of the next generation of drool faced retards might be in danger thanks to the hysteria of the media and coin-op reelectables.

  • by Sam36 (1065410) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:04PM (#26276213)

    If you vote me in as your president I promise I will provide tax cuts and tax benefits and tax cuts plus more tax cuts to 90% of all of you. And then to you other 10%...oh you other 10%,.. im gunna..imgunna ...oh boy Im gunna bend you over and really make you pay, OMG let me tell you Im a gunna make you pay for it all...oh boy yes sir

  • by stonecypher (118140) <stonecypherNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:06PM (#26276231) Homepage Journal

    They have a name for this "system" you speak of. It is called tyranny.

    All amusing melodrama aside, tyranny is a form of Greek government under which a single person makes all decisions. This law was voted into place by the public before we switched to representative government, and has been validated by thousands of judges and tens of thousands of independant juries. There are very few examples in modern or ancient history of a law more thoroughly vetted and inspected than the public than this one (the death penalty and abortion come to mind, but there aren't that many others.)

    You just could not be wronger here.

    We fought a war to get rid of the English tyranny.

    The English weren't a tyranny when we were subject to them, nor was their treatment of us tyrannical. Typically people misuse "fascist" in a fashion like this; it's quite refreshing to see something else be bandied about cluelessly, if only briefly. A personal favor: could you try falwellianism? That's another mode of government which most people don't actually know about, but it's more obscure, and I want to see if this baseless vitriol and random namedropping without regard for actual logical basis works when it's attached to a word that stupid people don't equate with "evil".

    Through amendments to it, we now have rights that our founding fathers thought that everyone was entitled to.

    ... except felons. You should try reading the document you talk about. People have a right to liberties regardless of their identity, but not regardless of their actions or history. You can't be denied your rights because of your race, your gender, your religion, but you sure as hell can for sticking it in some kid's butt.

    Guess what, Hitler used same tactics

    No, he didn't. Godwin isn't spoken here.

    German people to go along with his fascist rule

    Hitler was totalitarian. Mussolini was the fascist. There's a pretty big difference.

    He took a group that was unpopular (Jews) and took away their rights

    God, dude, do you even think before you speak? Rapists aren't an ethnic group. Rapists are rapists because they chose to rape. There is absolutely no parallel between stripping an ethnic group of their rights then killing them and between forcing sexual predators to expose their communications.

    A smarter person would be embarrassed to say something like that. If you have a Jewish friend, ask them their opinion of the comparison you just made.

    The American people are are just like the German people, because of their hatred for sex offenders they are willing to let the constitution and all freedoms to be lost for everyone.

    Yeah, we're Nazis because we ignore a part of the constitution that isn't actually there, and making sex offenders give up their passwords is very similar to murdering six and a half million people.

    You, sir, are a debating genius. I won't be reading your next reply, but given what I've read in what you wrote, I suspect that won't stop you from writing it; it's quite clear that you're looking for a soapbox to preach from, and that you haven't at all thought through the text coming from your pulpit.

    I'm amazed that you believe tracking rapists equates to the holocaust. Seriously, this is a new low from a Slashdotter from what I've read, and I've been here almost 12 years. That's really the most appalling comparison I've read on the internet in a year or more, and that includes IRC.

    Rapists are Jews in Nazi Germany. Dude, if you aren't part of this "oppressed minority", I can't imagine why you think this way. I really hope the people you know in real life don't know who you are on Slashdot.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:24PM (#26276335) Journal
    But why is it a sex offense if the people peeing in bushes are actually concealing their genitals from view?

    It's _peeing_. What's wrong with the people who came up with such laws? What kind of perverts are they?

    If the pee touches property they don't own, fine them for littering or illegal dumping of waste.

    Say I wear adult diapers, and somehow people find out that I'm peeing, does that mean I could be considered a sex offender too?

    So what's the difference if I hide my genitals using bushes and pee, and people spot me doing it but not my "privates"?

    Heck, IMO those who peek at (or even expose) people who try to conceal their peeing, are more likely to be sex offenders than those doing the peeing.
  • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy@anasazisys ... ems.com minus pi> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:43PM (#26276461)

    I realize it's not really fashionable, but I'd like to address some things you wrote, as i do not agree with them. (:

    [T]yranny is a form of Greek government under which a single person makes all decisions. This law was voted into place by the public before we switched to representative government, and has been validated by thousands of judges and tens of thousands of independant juries.... The English weren't a tyranny when we were subject to them, nor was their treatment of us tyrannical.

    The founding fathers of the US, when they declared their independence, would disagree that England wasn't a tyranny. The Declaration of Independence says, "The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world." Yes, absolute tyranny, which for the colonies in America was the way the King's rule was seen. I won't touch the origins of sex offender laws, though I believe they do not (in general) predate the US Constitution. Even if they had, many other unjust laws have predated the Constitution. Age is no basis for holding to a law.

    Granted, I don't think a law like this is a good example of tyranny... but it sets precedent which makes tyrannical practices more publically accepted.

    People have a right to liberties regardless of their identity, but not regardless of their actions or history. You can't be denied your rights because of your race, your gender, your religion, but you sure as hell can for sticking it in some kid's butt.

    Felons, in the US, cannot vote, can't hold public office or posses/buy firearms, and some other things. NOWHERE does the Constitution say that felons lose the other rights that all people have -- protection against unreasonable search, etc. More importantly, punishment should be just.

    Sex offender lists are more than "these are felons convicted of sex crimes". Peeing in public is, as far as I know, not a felony -- but CAN land you on the list. Moreover ... what's the point of letting people out of prison, if we don't feel that they've served their time? Whether you believe prison should be about punishment or rehabilitation, I believe it's reprehensible to feel that criminals should be permanently persecuted for past mistakes. Prison is the punishment, or fines for non-felonies. A lifetime of shunning? Please. I thought we moved past that Puritan practice of branding adulterers and other criminals for life. (I know, it wasn't just the Puritans.)

    Hitler used same tactics

    No, he didn't. Godwin isn't spoken here.

    German people to go along with his fascist rule

    Hitler was totalitarian. Mussolini was the fascist. There's a pretty big difference.

    Hitler's political leanings are immaterial to the tactics he used. The tactics which the GP is referring to is the gradual taking away of rights of people that aren't popular. Sex offenders are a perfect example of social pariahs: No one wants to be the one to say, "Hey wait, these men and women still have rights"; no one wants to say, "Perhaps this is a too-extreme punishment" for some of them (I refer to public urinators, not to rapists). As someone else said, no politician will ever help them, or back down, because they will be branded as "soft on pedophiles".

    Sex offenders are not a racial group... but the parent poster never said that they were. He merely said that they were an unpopular group.

    Yeah, we're Nazis because we ignore a part of the constitution that isn't actually there, and making sex offenders give up their passwords is very similar to murdering six and a half million people.

    WRONG. You're setting up a straw man argument. Americans are similar

  • by hahafaha (844574) * <lgrinberg@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:47PM (#26276509)

    I have to say, you missed the grandfather's point completely. I personally agree that comparing rapists and Jews is stretching it more than somewhat (I am ethnically Jewish, for the record, not that that's especially relevant) but that's all it is -- a bit stretching it. His point was that this is still unconstitutional and a slippery slope. Just because something is democratically decided doesn't make it constitutional. This is, IMHO (and IANAL, etc.) a clear violation of fourth amendment privacy rights, and a dangerous one at that.

    What's really quite disturbing about all this is that it hardly stops the problem. Think about it -- what are some of the most "questionable" places on the Internet? IRC and 4chan come to mind as the top examples, and neither require passwords (for the most part). Besides, how are you supposed to know _which_ passwords to hand over? The court won't know about that password you set on your handle on Freenode and they're likely not going to know what to do with it if they had it ("There's no form! Oh noes!"). If these people still pose danger to society, then you should imprison them. All this will accomplish is give the government an easier way of oppressing people.

    In a truly free country, all have to be protected, even child molesters (note, by the way, that the main discussion concerns "sex offenders" which is hardly the same thing). The problem is that we have a representative democracy and so the senator that's going to stand up for them is going to get his carreer ruined. With something as delicate as this, it might just be some guy who looked a girl the wrong way.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:58PM (#26276595)

    Through amendments to it, we now have rights that our founding fathers thought that everyone was entitled to.

    ... except felons. You should try reading the document you talk about. People have a right to liberties regardless of their identity, but not regardless of their actions or history. You can't be denied your rights because of your race, your gender, your religion, but you sure as hell can for sticking it in some kid's butt.

    Actually, you are protected from discrimination by the government on basis of certain criteria, which can include actions you take (such as joining a specific religion). Regardless, the constitution does not provide an exception from the rights enumerated for criminals who are no longer incarcerated. And before you make any rash decisions about what rights should be granted to criminals (whether imprisoned or not) think carefully. Imprisonment can undermine a democracy, you just lock up those who take an action ensuring even if the majority favors that action being legal, those in prison are denied the ability to vote on the topic. With a parole based system there is no practical limit to what percentage of the population can be denied rights in this way. Civil disobedience has a long and proud history of overcoming injustice in this country. If the law still made homosexuals sex offenders should they have no online privacy and be exempt from constitutional protections? If the law made interracial intercourse illegal (which the majority favored even when the bans were overturned) should those people have no privacy and be subject to having all their communications monitored by the police with no warrant?

    I'm amazed that you believe tracking rapists equates to the holocaust.

    Obviously the previous poster went a little overboard with the melodramatic references to Nazis. You, however, are doing the same. Sex offender != rapist. Sex offenders include people who sent a nude picture of themselves to their boyfriend when they and their boyfriend were 16. That should exempt them from the 4th amendment? Maybe some day you will be a sex offender once the laws are changed. Think about it.

  • by mweather (1089505) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @12:08AM (#26276657)
    The Bill of Rights doesn't grant you a single right. Every enumerated right existed prior to it's ratification.
  • Gone too Far ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sfm (195458) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @12:25AM (#26276779)

    In some states, if you are caught streaking and it "is possible" that a child saw you, it is grounds to be labeled a sex offender. Makes me wonder how far will we go to stop undesirable behavior?

  • by sleigher (961421) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @12:36AM (#26276871)
    Not Fashionable? Well I take notice of this:

    Felons, in the US, cannot vote, can't hold public office or posses/buy firearms, and some other things. NOWHERE does the Constitution say that felons lose the other rights that all people have -- protection against unreasonable search, etc. More importantly, punishment should be just.

    You are wrong. Felons CAN vote after they are off parole or once their civil rights are restored. Felons CAN hold public office if said public votes for them. (ie. Ted Stevens. He was not elected but if he was he would have legally retained his seat.) Again; firearms, a felon can have a gun after his civil rights are restored or after a waiting period has lapsed. This changes state to state and it may be that in some states, once you are a felon you cannot have a gun, but this is not true for all states.

    I have personal experience with some of this......

  • by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@ubermMONET00.net minus painter> on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @12:58AM (#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 Dan541 (1032000) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @01:09AM (#26277053) Homepage

    I totally agree.

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

  • by Steauengeglase (512315) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @01:41AM (#26277215)

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @02:25AM (#26277427)

    I'm American, not a sex offender, and extremely against the bias against sex offenders. We do have free speech in this country, but apparently I don't have the balls to stand up for it because society is against anyone who isn't trying to save the children. I'm just in search of equal rights. Once a person does the time for their crime, leave them the fuck alone. If the punishment wasn't sufficient, then make it sufficient, but once you're out of jail or off probation, that's it.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @03:26AM (#26277677)

    "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering the prisons."
    ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  • Miranda warning (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Timosch (1212482) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @04:45AM (#26277993)
    "You have the right to remain silent - well, except for passwords..."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @06:20AM (#26278465)

    Monitoring them implies that we cannot trust them to not commit further sex crimes. Yet, if we cannot so trust them, why did we let them out in the first place? It doesn't make any sense; either they've been rehabilitated or they have not. If they haven't, they need to stay out of society. If they have, they need to rejoin society on the same level as everyone else.

    Well, I guess it does makes sense in one light. If what we really have is a "revenge system," not a "justice system," it makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense to say "that's part of their sentence," because in revenge, we don't care if they're rehabilitated or not--we don't care whether or not we can trust them--we just want to get'em back, make'em pay, watch'em suffer. It's hard to watch'em suffer when they're in jail, so after ruining part of their lives, we let them out and place crippling restrictions on them so we can watch them suffer in person and, heck, even partake! It's wrong when they hurt people, but it's okay when we do it, because "they deserve it," right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @09:43AM (#26279643)

    I'll post this A.C. because it is so clearly off-topic.

    and yes, this planet belongs to me, and people like me - the people who uphold REASON.

    On what are you basing that? I would like to consider myself among those whose opinions and actions are guided by reason, and in my estimation the planet does not belong to us. Not by any stretch. This planet belongs (for now) to the majority of our species who are ignorant, emotional, and stupid.

    Entire continents are crippled by diseases that spread through the very mechanisms the populace employs to combat them. (Got HIV? Get cured by fucking a virgin!).

    Our principal means of producing energy is the same one our proto-human ancestors came up with 800,000 years ago (burn something!) and is known to be adversely affecting the habitability of the planet.

    A major cause of conflict between nations is the ongoing debate over what name should be given to the invisible wizard who lives in the sky.

    We are not in charge, my friend. The 80 or 85 percent of our number who are irrational or unintelligent have control of this planet, and even they have only wrested it for themselves for a short time, geologically speaking. In truth, it belongs to the insects.

  • by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @01:50PM (#26283085) Homepage Journal

    Hardly unique to Americans. Look up the French Revolution someday... it was less a revolution than a mob frenzy against anyone perceived as "not one of us".

  • by Copid (137416) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @06:40PM (#26286475)
    So by "one" you actually meant "lots and lots" in this case? Anyway, I'm sure that guy will be thrilled to know that at least he's one of only a few people who are totally screwed for no good reason.

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