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Sex Offenders Must Hand Over Online Passwords 630

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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  • Unenforcable (Score:3, Informative)

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

    Three words: I can't remember.

  • Re:BRILLIANT! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @09:56PM (#26274953) Homepage Journal
    In Georgia, they might as well be the same thing. Recall the fairly recent case [nypost.com] of a 17 year old male who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for consensual sex with a 15 year old girl.

    Note that the article states that a judge, against the D.A.'s wishes, is trying unsucessfully to get him a lighter deal - 12 months minus time served for "aggrivated child molestation".
  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:4, Informative)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:12PM (#26275127)
    Like a previous poster pointed out Sex Offender != Child Molester != Pedophile. Seriously, there are lots of ways to become a "sex offender" without even having anything to do with kids. Such things like urinating outside can force someone to be registered as a "sex offender" seriously, yes, there are some really sick people out there that are sex offenders but there are even more who really didn't do anything bad (no, peeing on a tree does not qualify as being a sex offender in most people's consciousnesses)
  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:4, Informative)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:14PM (#26275143) Homepage Journal
    "Part of the condition of their release from prison is that they give up rights that you and I take for granted and treasure."

    Err...where do you live where this is the case? I think with sex offenders, like with any criminal conviction, once you do your time...pretty much all rights are restored (except in some states where voting and gun ownership is revoked for felons, but, not in all states).

    "They wanted to put their dick where it didn't belong so much that they were willing to risk those rights."

    Err...not all sex offenders are men. Recenly, a teenage girl was convicted of a sex offense for sending pics of herself to other teens....so, she is marked for life with this now? Some college kids get picked up at Mardi Gras for getting a little too drunk and urinating in public...and that can carry a sex offense conviction..they should be marked for life?

    Hell, it seems that laws today, are making it easier for someone convicted of bank robbery or homicide after prison that someone that might have 'flashed' someone....which really harmed no one long term.

  • 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:Constitutionality (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:20PM (#26275231)
    Look, like other posters have pointed out Sex Offender != Child Molester != Pedophile. The main problem is, someone who did something stupid once (like deciding to pee on a tree rather than indoors) that didn't harm anyone but just managed to make the wrong cop mad, gets stuck on the same list as the guy who raped 10 kids. What we really need is a ranking of things.

    Level 1 is small things like indecent exposure, etc. Which has 6 months of tracking and then its wiped off your record.

    Level 2 is small things that are considered to be morally bad but did not harm anyone such as child pornography. Which has 2 years of tracking and is not wiped off your record but would not be publicly listed.

    Level 3 are things in which people were harmed, but the offender has made positive steps towards rehabilitation. This has 15 years of tracking and is not wiped off your record. Such people would be publicly listed and for the 15 years might have to give online info.

    Level 4 are things in which people were harmed and no or little steps were made towards rehabilitation. This has life tracking and is not wiped off your record. They would be publicly listed and would have to give out info. This could be lowered down to level 3 after 5 years if positive steps towards rehabilitation were taken.

    Our current system makes people who have had minor, trivial offenses equivalent to those who have raped children which is about the same as punishing someone who stole $25 worth of goods to a guy who killed 3 people.
  • 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.

  • 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."

  • Re:BRILLIANT! (Score:5, Informative)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:33PM (#26275391)
    It wasn't even penetration, he got a BJ from a girl a few weeks on the wrong side of a magical line and for that and being black he had his life messed up. He spent 2 YEARS in jail before the Georgia Supreme Court tuled that a 10 year sentence was cruel and unusual ("grossly disproportionate") linky [wikipedia.org]. Luckily that particular law got changed to a misdemeanor with no registration requirement due to the public outcry over his case, but there are still literally thousands of bad laws on the books which can land you on lists and with crazy out of whack sentences all due "But think of the children" pandering from politicians and suburban housewives.
  • Re:Terminology (Score:3, Informative)

    by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:36PM (#26275415)
  • Re:Unconstitutional? (Score:2, Informative)

    by MjrTom ( 68324 ) <trjames AT uchicago DOT edu> on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:38PM (#26275447)

    My thoughts exactly. This violates the Fifth Amendment as I understand it. Around this time last year we got this ruling [cnet.com] from a federal judge ruling that forcing someone to divulge encryption passphrases was a violation of the 5th. I believe that a valid argument could be made by just about anyone that divulging their e-mail passphrase might reveal illegal activity, and therefore is constitutionally forbidden. My two cents.

  • 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.
  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:5, Informative)

    by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) * on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @10:58PM (#26275627)
    I'm reminded of that teenage girl who sent a naked cellphone shot of herself to her friends and now has to register as a sex offender for life.
  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:15PM (#26275759)

    Usually these things are applied retroactively. As in there is so such law on the books when the guy commits the crime, there is no such law on the books when the guy is convicted and sentenced and no such law when he is released. But then some politician bent on proving that he is tough on crime decides to write a new law and apply it retroactively to anyone classified as a sex offender.

    Imagine if they did that to people for other types of crimes. Former jay-walker? Not allowed within 50 feet of a street intersection.

  • 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.

  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2008 @11:59PM (#26276181)

    Georgia is also, famously, the state where 17-year-old was put on the sex offender rolls for receiving oral sex from a 16-year-old. The public outrage over the case led to the law being changed, but the prosecutor still refused to drop the case against the young man. Oh, and the kid was black. Just goes to show... you still don't wanna get caught being black in Georgia.

  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hao Wu ( 652581 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @12:27AM (#26276357) Homepage

    I think with sex offenders, like with any criminal conviction, once you do your time...

    Terms of pleas, probation, and reduced sentences can require you give up some rights in exchange for NOT doing your time.

    I didn't RTFA, I'm just saying...

  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:3, Informative)

    by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @12:34AM (#26276411) Homepage Journal

    Circuit judges are federal. Thus, the lower court judge who made the "mistake" is federal.

    Bzzt. Circuit judges can oversee the actions of judges who aren't circuit judges (in many cases this is their sole occupation.) Just because you go to a circuit judge to fix a problem doesn't mean the problem is federal. The rest of your house of cards extends from this faulty assumption.

    So your comment that the judge "doesn't have a future on the bench" is ridiculous. Federal judges are appointed for life.

    Yeah, and it's not like any federal judge has been removed from the bench for bad judgements, or anything. Roy Moore was elected for life, and got stripped and disbarred without screwing anybody at all. But since we aren't talking about federal judges, this is moot.

    You won't get impeached for overpunishing a guy who exposed himself in public.

    Yes, you will get removed from the bench for over-punishing. Over punishing is a clear case of "clear error". It happens all the time below the federal level. Since I was talking about acting below the federal level, your supposition that I need to involve a senate impeachment to remove an article three judge is inappropriate.

    Incidentally, you don't actually need to be impeached to be removed from federal circuit court, despite whatever law education you may have gotten on Yahoo! Answers and watching Criminal Intent. But there's no reason to take my word for it [yalelawjournal.org]. Notice that the opening sentence shoots you down. Yale Law Journal is slightly more authoritative than most Slashdotters, in case you intend to stand on your barrel and insist. You may also skip Wikipedia, if you intend to be taken seriously.

    And just so you know, judges are held to a very high standard. A federal judge will be impeached for a hell of a lot less than ruining someone's life over taking a leak. One federal judge, Harry Claiborne, was impeached and disbarred for tax evasion, and that doesn't ruin anyone's life.

    Or did you think the federal government takes tax evasion more seriously than direly inappropriate punishment which ruins a third party's life?

    Additionally, appellate judges are extremely loathe to overturn a sentence issued by a trial judge.

    Except when it causes serious and unjustified harm to the life of an individual. Making public all points of contact over peeing in a public park, and having a judge not suspend the action, would be a poster child case for when appellate judges would step in to prevent someone's life being destroyed over taking a leak. This is in fact the literal recorded reason for the impeachment of three federal judges: Samuel Chase ("arbitrary and oppressive conduct of trials"), James Peck ("charges of abuse of the contempt power"), and Charles Swayne ("charges of abuse of contempt power and other misuses of office"). This is also essentially the basis of Louderback's impeachment, though you wouldn't know it from the recorded reason for impeachment.

    Just because you say "nuh-uh" doesn't make you correct. Thirty point seven percent of existing federal judge impeachments are for abuse of persecutorial power. Saying that it would never happen is simply the exposition of ignorance.

    But, again, since I wasn't talking about impeaching a federal judge, but rather getting a circuit court to issue an advisory, none of this actually matters. I'm just enjoying having such a crystal clear recorded record of your incorrectness to display; legal issues are frequently murky and difficult to explain, but you happen to have alit on a falsehood that even cursory and basic research can disprove.

    The standard is typically "clear error" to overturn.

    Nonsense. There are dozens of reasons to overturn: bias, fraud, insufficient evi

  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @12:58AM (#26276597)

    You're forgetting that someone has to produce child pornography so that you can possess it. When we're talking about actual child pornography in which actual children are brutally raped, abused and tortured (and not about cartoons or about teenagers emailing nekkid pictures of themselves), possession fuels production. Hell, it's the whole reason for production. If no one could possess it, no one would produce it. So anyone who possesses actual child pornography is complicit in child rape. That's why possession must be a crime.

  • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @01:10AM (#26276677) Journal

    Well, here's a possible scenario.

    Urinating on somebody's bushes is a $100 fine. "Flashing" (ie, exposing yourself in public) is a $1000 fine.

    So you're drunk and peeing on somebody's bushes. The cop comes over and you turn around in your drunken state and pee on him. Or you refuse to put your penis back into your pants (hey, you're drunk...) so the cop throws a charge of exposing yourself in public, just to teach you a lesson.

    Ten years later, some politician comes along and decides that we need to punish those perverts who expose themselves to children. Unfortunately, there is no law about exposing onesself to a minor--just "exposing yourself in public." So now your drunken mishap makes you a sex offender.

  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) * <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @01:41AM (#26276895) Homepage Journal

    The problem is that they are effectively sentenced to be registered as a sex offender (often for life), with all that that entails. This is how they get around the ex post facto restriction; they're not adding to the sentence of an individual, they're changing the restrictions on a group.

    Yay making people second-class citizens forever!

  • Re:NO (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @04:47AM (#26277755)

    They might be told that today, but the guy who was convicted in 1950 who is also subject to this law might beg to differ with you..........

  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @10:09AM (#26279337)

    Felons CAN vote

    This is a state-by-state thing. Some states never restore the ability of felons to vote, others literally require the person to sue the state to have their rights restored once they have served their sentence. Many do so automatically, though.

  • Re:Constitutionality (Score:3, Informative)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @10:24AM (#26279471) Journal

    Name one such person, and I will personally call the circuit judge and fix it.

    You lose. http://www.bakelblog.com/nobodys_business/2007/03/florida_banishe.html [bakelblog.com]

  • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <nicoaltiva AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @05:18PM (#26285067) Journal

    Let me fucking google that for you. [letmegoogl...foryou.com]

    I don't have time to look further, but here's a link [hrw.org] to a Human Rights Watch report that makes such a claim; they could be lying, though, those scumbag human rights fundamentalists.

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