Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Your Rights Online

MySpace Agrees to Share Sex Offender Data 297

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the not-so-anonymous dept.
mikesd81 writes "The Seattle Times is reporting that MySpace will be providing a number of state attorney generals with data on registered sex offenders who use their site. Attorney generals from eight states demanded last week that the company provide data on how many registered sex offenders are using the site and where they live. MySpace obtained the data from Sentinel Tech Holding Corp., which the company partnered with in December to build a database with information on sex offenders. Attorneys general in North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania asked for the Sentinel data last week."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MySpace Agrees to Share Sex Offender Data

Comments Filter:
  • Call me an idiot... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:47PM (#19213847)
    ... but do regular people actually sign up with their real name / information, and even if they do, is it likely that sex offenders do too?
    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:49PM (#19213873)

      and even if they do, is it likely that sex offenders do too?
      Everything on the internet is true and accurate. Honestly. It really is. On the internet, I mean ... in real life, I'm tall, thin and good looking.
    • by Deagol (323173) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:57PM (#19213971) Homepage
      On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog, right?

      Given the broad range of things that gets you the tag "sex offender" (and a lovely scarlet "S" in the bargain), the whole sex offender registry thing is kinda silly. I mean, if you got a citation for pissing in the bushes at your local park, and got into your state's sex offender registry, would *you* really take the restrictions seriously? I sure as hell wouldn't. And I imagine that "real" sex offenders wouldn't either -- at least the ones who are total morons [ksl.com], anyway.

      • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:25PM (#19214351) Homepage

        I mean, if you got a citation for pissing in the bushes at your local park, and got into your state's sex offender registry, would *you* really take the restrictions seriously?
        Depending on which restrictions exactly you're referring to, you'd better, lest you become the victim of the newest up-n-coming politician who realizes that stopping child molesters (er, sex offenders, same thing to him) is the fast track to political success. So you get thrown into jail for failing to keep your registered sex offender address current or whatever, even though your original `crime' is a joke. Or should be.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TapeCutter (624760)
          "political success"

          I belive the list is indeed political and intended to drag in as many people as possible. There is no distinction between rape and pissing on a tree, IMHO the real aim of the list is to make the term "sex offender" meaningless.

          If you doubt this then remember the guy who "farthered" the legislation was caught soliciting congressional page boys.
          • by D-Cypell (446534) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @05:42AM (#19218597)
            MHO the real aim of the list is to make the term "sex offender" meaningless.

            I read a quote here once, one that was so thought-provoking that I posted it onto my blog. Now it seems relevant again so I thought I would paste it back... what goes around, comes around right?

            Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens' What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

            - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957.
      • by daeg (828071) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:46PM (#19214579)
        Here in Florida, most communities are enacting completely unconstitutional laws barring exactly where "sex offenders" can live. In one community in the Tampa Bay area, they set the distance limit to something like 2,500 feet from *any* bus stop, church, school, library, etc. There were a few small areas in the town left over, which the city promptly added school bus stops despite there being no demand for them, effectively chasing out every sex offender, regardless of actual offense.

        It is a scarlet letter. It isn't like the Puritan punishments meant to shame someone in front of their community to deter crime. In fact it does the opposite by creating lists of names, addresses, and photos of free offenders (as in, not in prison). It's a political tool, plain and simple, and it's only a matter of time before it is struck as unconstitutional and, hopefully, some "offenders" will have a free shot at the governments that put them on the list.

        And before you mod me as a troll or other nonsense, I'm not advocating any sort of behavior. Child molesters, for instance, are in a separate class as mere sex offenders.

        Maybe if we freed the ridiculous number of jailings of petty criminals we'd have room for those that actually deserve--and need--the confinement of prison.
        • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:35PM (#19215647)

          Here in Florida, most communities are enacting completely unconstitutional laws barring exactly where "sex offenders" can live. In one community in the Tampa Bay area, they set the distance limit to something like 2,500 feet from *any* bus stop, church, school, library, etc. There were a few small areas in the town left over, which the city promptly added school bus stops despite there being no demand for them, effectively chasing out every sex offender, regardless of actual offense.

          So, what happens to the really dangerous offenders? If they stay in the city, they end up homeless and wandering, probably eventually losing access to any medication or counseling they might have been receiving, and end up cold, hungry, and very angry. And all of that is supposed to make them LESS likely to offend? If they leave the city, and more and more communities pass laws like this, it will just shunt the problem out into the rural areas (where there are still children and lots of densely wooded areas and isolated buildings and no one nearby to hear the victims' cries). No, laws like this don't solve the problem, and the people who favor them are less interested in "solving" the problem than in merely making it "go away."

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by asninn (1071320)
            Or they'll just move to a different town that doesn't have similar restrictions. This is a classic example of CYA (cover your arse) security; it doesn't make a iota of a difference with regard to any future crimes that may be committed, but when something *does* happen, it allows the politicians involved to say "it's not our fault - we did something about it!". In fact, if it happens in another town, they can even pat themselves on the back and point to the fact that it didn't happen in theirs as evidence f
        • by JimDaGeek (983925) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:21PM (#19215933)
          Why do you say "sex offender"? Are you suggesting that a sexual offense is not a crime? I personally think sexual offenses should be some of the most punished crimes.

          However, with that said, I do think the laws need to be tweaked a little. For example, there shouldn't be some silly age limit like say, I am 18 and my GF is 16. Her daddy finds out we "did it" and gets me nailed-to-the-cross. That is just sick IMO. On the other hand, If I am 34 (which I am) and my GF is 14, then maybe there should be a law against that. What if I were 27 and I had sex with a 12 y/o boy? Should that be cool? Not IMO. Oh, and I am not saying that gay sex should be outlawed or anything. I just think there should be a minimum age for consent (heterosexual and homosexual) with a maximum age of partner, unless you are at least 16, IMO. For example, a 12 y/o girl and 13 y/o boy do some experimenting. So be it. Been there, done that. It was fun. Now, if it is a 12 y/o girl and a 20 y/o guy, well that is just freaking sick IMO. There is a huge maturity difference both physically and emotionally between 12 and 20.

          I don't want to see sex offenders to only be rapist (my wife was raped as an adult, it was very nasty). I feel this way because I know a guy who was molested as a boy. Totally screwed him up.

          This is a very tricky subject. For example. A good friend of mine from HS has an older brother that was about 4 years older than us. I remember being in 8th grade and my buddy's brother was in 12th. He broke up with is demented GF. The night he broke up with her, she called the cops and said he raped her. It was a devastating blow to this guy and his family. He was a very good guy. He had a nasty court fight and eventually was cleared of all charges. However, if you have never gone through something like that, well I can tell you it really hurt him. I haven't seen him or heard from him in years now (I am 34). Last I remember, he didn't go to college. I hope he recovered and got the education he wanted.

          Oh, this topic touches so many hard points. For example. Say I am 18 and my GF is 15. To me that is not a significant age difference. However that could be enough for the parents to get you marked as a "sex offender" (the only time I think it is OK to put that term in quotes). What I have a problem with in a situation like this is that at 16 I KNEW I wanted sex! I wasn't "forced" into it. However, it seems that only the guy is the one that gets rap. Why does the chick get off? Because she didn't reach that magical age of 18? I can tell you as an older dude, that at 16 I wanted sex, and at 18, I just wanted MORE sex :-)
          • by enjo13 (444114) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:12PM (#19216303) Homepage
            That's exactly the issue here, however. In your hypothetical, a 34 year old male should certainly be punished for having sexual relations with a 14 year old girl. Very few people would question that. However, should that singular offense lead to life on a list that will keep you from holding a job, living in a growing number of municipalities, and otherwise making your life simply unliveable?

            I don't think that crime warrants what is effectively a life sentence, and certainly not on your first strike. Justice, after all, is not about revenge..

            There are lots of other issues like this. For example, in Texas a stripper who is convicted of giving an overly suggestive lap dance can be charged with public lewdness... a 'crime' that can land you on the sex offender registry. So can selling 'obscene' materials at a porn store. That's the problem with these lists, they are meant to protect society from the most dangerous of offenders, but the hysterical of society expand them to include virtually any crime with any kind of sexual connotation.
          • by daeg (828071) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:24PM (#19216399)
            I put "sex offender" in quotes for that exact reason. There are many things that can get someone on that list, many of them completely petty. I think very few people want to be lenient on child predators or offenders, on the contrary, they need serious help from the government.

            There is one awesome case in Florida. I can't find the links at the moment, but it was a high school couple, one over 18, one slightly under. They someone got caught swapping naked pics of themselves through their cell phone. Neither wanted to charge the other, but both got charged with possessing/distributing child pornography. So two lives are in effect ruined because they were horny and stupid.

            False charges like your example are devestating not only emotionally and financially, but they ruin lives. Our country has long abandoned the innocent-until-proven-guilty. Sure, you can be found innocent (different than not guilty!) at trial but still be held as guilty in the realm of public opinion.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by aussie_a (778472)

          Here in Florida, most communities are enacting completely unconstitutional laws barring exactly where "sex offenders" can live.
          Isn't any restriction unconstitutional? The constitution allows for criminals serving a sentence to have their freedoms restricted, but why are people who have served their time still having those freedoms restricted?
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:15PM (#19214891) Homepage Journal

        Given the broad range of things that gets you the tag "sex offender"

        There was a recent story of a teenage boy who had sex with a teenage girl a year younger than him and became a "convicted sex offender". He'll be in such a registry and it gives me the creeps to think he's going to be watched the rest of his life. Let's face it, if at age 17 you weren't having sex with teenage girls, you wanted to (or if you're female, vice versa).

        It also kind of creeps me out that "sex offenders" have become a completely separate class of criminal. Why shouldn't burglars, drunk drivers, embezzlers or other white collar criminals be kept on a registry and be exposed to any community into which they move? Why not shoplifters or people who've been convicted of any drug offense?

        Considering the percentage of elected officials who've been convicted of crimes, we'd have to create special island communities in which they could live.
    • by alisson (1040324)
      Many people do, but as for sex offenders? I'd be curious...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dreddnott (555950)
      I know plenty of MySpace Morons in real life and have seen more than a few of their garishly decorated user profiles. I can assure you that plenty of "regular people" sign up with their real names and "information". MySpace shifted the IQ bell curve of Internet users like no other website before it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How long till someone registers at MySpace with the name etc of a registered sex offender they want to cause problems for? Especially if the "registered sex offender" has an open wireless network where they can really make it look like they are that person, at least under the assumption that the owner of the connection is the one using it? There are groups that are as nutty about going after "sex offenders" as there for abortion clinics.
    • by JimDaGeek (983925)

      is it likely that sex offenders do too?

      Yup. Not all of them though, but enough to help. You see the sleezy child molester/rapist is not your "sharpest tool in the shed"-type. So all that was needed was to check the sex offenders that are registered with their state and compare that to the MySpace database of user info.

      For example, you have a sex offender that lives in FL at 1313 Mockinbird Ln. Look for the same state, address and zip (maybe some other stuff like sex or phone, but not needed). If a

  • Privacy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GoodOmens (904827)
    While I can see the ACLU taking this to court for invasion on personal privacy I personally applaud this. Those who break these type of laws and are still at risk for doing it again should have restricted privacy for the safety of others. More so when it involves innocent defenseless children.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:56PM (#19213941) Homepage Journal
      If they're not reformed, they shouldn't be allowed back into society.

      The problem is that the prison system has nothing to do with treatment.. it's all about "punishment".
      • by GoodOmens (904827)
        I agree completely but unfortunately you have judges that give these people little to not sentences at all.
    • Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FatSean (18753) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:57PM (#19213973) Homepage Journal
      If they are at risk of re-offending, don't release them.

      It is really fucking lame to let these guys out as if they had 'paid their debt' like any murderer, rapist or thief and then treat them as second-class citizens. The murderers don't have people telling them where to live! Thieves don't have to sign up for a 'watch list' and tell people when they move, because they might steal again!

      What's worse? The death of a human or the sexual abuse of a human? Since I don't believe in that nonsense about an 'afterlife', I must say killing is worse than sexual abuse. Way worse. Way WAY worse.

      I've had enough of my rights infringed upon in the name of the 'innocent defenseless children' so that dog won't hunt. Try another angle, brotha!

      • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:06PM (#19214097) Homepage Journal
        What's worse? The death of a human or the sexual abuse of a human? Since I don't believe in that nonsense about an 'afterlife', I must say killing is worse than sexual abuse. Way worse. Way WAY worse.

        Ask someone who was raped, and get back with me on that.
        • Re:Bullshit. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:09PM (#19214147) Homepage Journal
          Death is clearly worse than rape.. otherwise rapists couldn't use death as a threat for rape victims to be submissive.

          As is mutilation, threating family members, etc.
        • by lawpoop (604919)
          Uh, how would you hear from the person who had been murdered?
        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:33PM (#19215021)
          You can get their point of view, but you can't really get the opinion of a murder victim since, well, they are dead and never coming back. A rape victim may well say that rape is the worst possible thing in the world because it is the worst thing that's ever happened to them. That doesn't mean that a dead person would agree, if they were capable of doing so. You also could ask the family how they feel, would they rather their child/spouse/parent was traumatized, or dead and gone forever.

          No one is saying that rape isn't extremely traumatic, but death is, well, final. You can overcome being raped, you can't overcome being murdered.
        • by scribblej (195445)
          Hey, I've got a better idea. You ask someone who was killed and we'll compare answers.
        • by Khashishi (775369)
          Ask someone who was raped, and get back with me on that.

          Ask someone who was murdered, and get back with me on that. Oh, wait...

        • by QCompson (675963)
          How come no one asks the following question, since the punishments for such offenses at this point are nearly equal to rape:

          What's worse? Being inappropriately touched or being murdered?
      • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:09PM (#19214137) Homepage Journal

        The murderers don't have people telling them where to live!

        Unless they got life parole, which they sometimes do.

        What's worse? The death of a human or the sexual abuse of a human? Since I don't believe in that nonsense about an 'afterlife', I must say killing is worse than sexual abuse. Way worse. Way WAY worse.

        Well, I agree, but you have to realize that this is an objective question.

        I've had enough of my rights infringed upon in the name of the 'innocent defenseless children' so that dog won't hunt. Try another angle, brotha!

        My problem with the system isn't that it exists, it's that it's way too easy to get into it.

        For example a 17 year old fucking a 15 (or even 16!) year old is a misdemeanor in California, but it could still get you on the offender list in this and many other states. And so for the rest of your life, for doing something really quite reasonable (insofar as that you cannot stop teenagers from fucking) you could be required to go door to door and state that you are a sex offender.

        In fact you basically have to check ID every time you fuck someone who looks young now, because "she told me she was 18" is not a defense even if you have her statement on tape. Is this intended to "protect the children"? Of course not. The idea is to make it more difficult and dangerous to have casual sex, because GOD SAID IT WAS WRONG.

        You know, the same reason you can only get first-trimester abortions...

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          In fact you basically have to check ID every time you fuck someone who looks young now, because "she told me she was 18" is not a defense even if you have her statement on tape.

          So, after you ask for verbal consent for sex on tape, do the women usually stick around?
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            So, after you ask for verbal consent for sex on tape, do the women usually stick around?

            I don't know, never tried it. I have checked ID, though. No joke. And yes, she stuck around, although that relationship is over now (she dumped me, then I found an upgrade; meanwhile she got knocked up, by the guy who came after me. this is the second time this has happened to me so far... I may not win the lottery, but at least I'm not accidentally breeding)

          • by toleraen (831634)
            do the women usually stick around?

            That's what he paid them for, isn't it?
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by mobby_6kl (668092)
              I thought that such payments are usualy made to prevent women from sticking around...
              • by toleraen (831634)
                Well, I'd hope they'd at least stick around long enough to take advantage of said services
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't know where I personally stand on the issue, but I'm absolutely certain that letting people out of prison but not letting them continue their lives is worse than either letting them completely free or keeping them in prison.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Informative)

      by nick_davison (217681) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:15PM (#19214217)

      I personally applaud this. Those who break these type of laws...
      Which laws are we talking about?

      Oral sex is illegal in: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and Washington D.C. (OK, I admit, I got great head in MN)

      An erection that shows through a man's clothing is illegal in: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington D.C. and Wisconsin. (Lock me up for pretty much every time I had to read to the class in French classes during my teens)

      In Missouri sexually deviant behavior between people of the same sex is classified as a class A misdemeanor.

      In Willowdale, Oregon it is against the law for a husband to talk to dirty in his wife's ear during sex.

      In Washington State there is a law against having sex with a virgin under any circumstances (including the wedding night!).

      Newcastle, Wyoming it is illegal to have sex in a butcher shop's meat freezer.

      In Washington D.C. there is a law against having sex in any position other than face to face.

      Source [sfsu.edu]

      I say lock the dirty bastards up and throw away the key!

      Or, alternatively, accept that demonising people for being sexual deviants, without classification as to the act, is complete b.s.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:23PM (#19214321) Homepage Journal
      Touchy subject.

      Personally, while many may subscribe to your view, your view is helping to undermine all of our civil liberties.
      This notion that it's ok to monitor this one group of people for the remainder of their lives seems unconstitutional.
      They were convicted, sentenced and then served their time. But that's just the beginning... now they will be watched and monitored till they die.
      Do we do the same for a convicted murderer or armed robber?

      I have never seen any homicidal watch lists.
      Aren't murderers and robbers as well as those convicted of DUI also likely to reoffend?
      Why don't we watch these people.

      Why aren't these people who are at high risk of killing you, those you love and our children being put on watch lists and having their movements tracked?

      The Constitution explicitly states that we shall not single any one group or individual out for "special punshment" (not the exact wording, but in the spirit. Also, we shall not have cruel and unusual punishment.

      Well, the way this country and others handles crimes of a sexual nature against children flies in the face of these notions of eqaulity and fairness under "civilized law", even being accused of a crime such as this causes such social stigma and outrage against the accused, they are already guilty in the eyes of the public. And then even if exhonerated and found innocent, they will still bear that burden. But being found guilty, they must now do a prison sentence and then forever bear that label, even having to announce that to any community they try to move to. Forever will they be subject to court imposed ridicule, humiliation and be made the target of public anger.

      Do we force convicted murderers to undergo the same fate? Must you advertise that you killed a person?
      If you were convicted of a DUI, would you not think it cruel and unusual punishment to be forever held to that and made to make that public in whatever community you lived till you died?

      I'm not trying to diminish or deny the great amount of harm and suffering these people inflict. Personally, I find these people just as sickening as you do. However, this "Think of the children" BS is dangerous and all too often we see people willing to throw away their principals over this charged emotional issue.

      And when we start seeing the constitution ignored for the sake of going after something that sickens and terrifies us, what good is that document? For over time, we will allow more and more "bending of the rules" and "blind eyes" to be turned in the name of the children or terrorism.

      And we do see more and more excesses being taken and more liberties infringed in a rapidly increasing manner since 9/11.
      And perhaps you may feel confortable with the infringement upon all our liberties to go after pedophiles, but I think the system would be better off to find more creative solutions that follow both the letter and spirit of the Constitution that all laws are meant to uphold.

      The death penalty for pedophiles that Texas is considering is a worthy example. It falls within existing law, does not single out a group, only widens an existing group. And while I am no death penalty advocate, that solution would be effective in insuring that pedophile did no further harm. Perhaps a more "humane" route would be mandatory life imprisonment. More suiting, since no life was taken.

      So as you see, the idea here is not to turn a blind eye, or to be more lenient. But to make the sentences and treatment of these offenders both strong and in line with the Constitution.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fireboy1919 (257783)
        I have some issues with some of your points.

        This notion that it's ok to monitor this one group of people for the remainder of their lives seems unconstitutional.
        They were convicted, sentenced and then served their time. But that's just the beginning... now they will be watched and monitored till they die.
        Do we do the same for a convicted murderer or armed robber?


        People who are molested at an early age tend to do it to other people when they get older. It's like CFCs for society. Murderers don't cause thei
      • by AlanS2002 (580378)
        And we do see more and more excesses being taken and more liberties infringed in a rapidly increasing manner since 9/11.
        And perhaps you may feel confortable with the infringement upon all our liberties to go after pedophiles, but I think the system would be better off to find more creative solutions that follow both the letter and spirit of the Constitution that all laws are meant to uphold.


        Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither. - Benjamin Franklin
    • by QCompson (675963)
      Those who break these type of laws and are still at risk for doing it again should have restricted privacy for the safety of others. More so when it involves innocent defenseless children.

      You're taking a bold stand there, chief. It's not often that you hear someone in the U.S. coming to the defense of the innocent children, especially in support of laws which have been shown to have little or no effect in protecting those children. Sigh.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:54PM (#19213917)
    "state attorney generals" => "state attorneys general"

    General is an adjective, not the noun. You pluralize the noun not the adjective.
    • Hey, at least they got it right the second time.

      Though if you really want to make me happy, how about we drop this practice of adding exceptions to English just to satisfy the format of the language it was adopted from? Call them "General Attorneys" and "General Surgeons". I want my adjective modifiers BEFORE my nouns, dagnabbit!
  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:55PM (#19213935) Homepage Journal
    Joe Slashdot: >www.myspace.com

    "You are not permited to access myspace. Your IP is on the Sentinel watchlist"

    JS: WTF??? What is 'Sentinel'??? Ok, >google 'Sentinel'

    "We at Google regret to inform you that you cannot access Google at this time. Your name has been flagged by the Arkansas State Outstanding Warrants Project"

    JS: I've never been to Arkansas in my whole fucking life!!!! >Yahoo search

    "Yahoo does not do business with people who have overdue library books"

    JS: Ok, I'll ask slashdot! People there know everything. >slashdot.org

    ---Message from Southwestern Cable Services: Your account has been terminated. &%.,78(*...NO CARRIER ,.^$.!G*...

  • This case has me ambivalent. On the one hand, what about having a Myspace account is worthy of automatic surveillance? On the other, the recidivism rates for many sex offenders are incredibly high. Also, there are often many other embarrassing restrictions already placed on their lives much closer to home where people know them. I know, it's a touchy issue, but the more you think about it, the less clean-cut it seems.
    • by Peter Mork (951443) <Peter.Mork@gmail.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:19PM (#19214271) Homepage

      the recidivism rates for many sex offenders are incredibly high.

      From the Bureau of Justice [usdoj.gov]:

      • Within 3 years of release, 2.5% of released rapists were rearrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for a new homicide.
      • Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense 43 percent of sex offenders versus 68 percent of non-sex offenders.
      • Sex offenders were about four times more likely than non-sex offenders to be arrested for another sex crime after their discharge from prison 5.3 percent of sex offenders versus 1.3 percent of non-sex offenders.

      To me, these statistics do not indicate an "incredibly high" recidivism rate. Sure, sex offenders are more likely than non-sex offenders to commit a sex offense, but if 2.5% recidivism is high enough to justify lifetime tracking, then 1.2% (for murder!) is as well.

      • by Knara (9377)
        The reason that people say that the recidivism rates are high is because they've heard it repeated time and time again on TV, so it must be true because Stone Phillips said it was true. You are right, however, that statistically they are 1) a minority of offenders and 2) statistically much less likely to re-offend (or at least, unlikely to be re-arrested, though that variable would count for any previous offender).
  • by Bonker (243350) on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:57PM (#19213955)
    ... do remember that it's never been easier to commit a sex crime that requires that you're place in a registry. Even people who get busted for 'indecent exposure' while urinating in an unwise place can end up on a sex offender registry.

    http://www.criminal-law-lawyer-source.com/terms/in decent.html [criminal-l...source.com]

    Theoretically, you have to be trying to 'assualt' someone by exposing yourself. Of course any DA with an agenda can make certain charges stick with a plea-bargain deal, even when they might not otherwise be applicable.

    How many people can afford to hire lawyers necessary to try to defend themselves in such a case? If you do try to fight it, I hope you've got a damn good Public Defender.
    • by Hatta (162192)
      Of course any DA with an agenda can make certain charges stick with a plea-bargain deal

      Plea bargaining is an abomination to justice. All it amounts to is punishment for exercising your constitutional right to a trial. It allows the government to imprison the poor by trumping up charges and offering a deal. A public defender will just agree to the deal, it's easier and it was a "good deal" anyway.

      That should be explicitly stated in the constitution, all prosecutions must go to a trial, if you don't have t
    • by anagama (611277)
      If people want the registry lists to be meaningful, they shouldn't load them up with spam. If people start realizing that people are on the list because they took a leak behind a tree, people will stop paying attention to the list or at least treat it with skepticsm. The "protect children" crowd is doing themselves a big disservice by adding ridiculous acts to sex offender list and thereby making its meaning ambiguous.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @05:57PM (#19213967)
    Problem: People (children included) seek viable mates via MySpace. Prospective mates turn out to be rapists or sexual deviants.

    Solution A: Don't seek mates on MySpace & teach your children common sense about acceptable human mating practices. Show your children how to safely use the internet, how to meet real people and make friends in reality instead of through a virtual layer.

    Solution B: Police MySpace at the expense of everyone's (180 million) privacy.

    Now, which solution is the correct one? The one that involves you being a responsible person/parent or the one that involves you infringing on a person's basic rights? If you are going to argue for the latter, first answer how they will acquire information about sex offenders without first examining everyone's behavior.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Problem: People (children included) seek viable mates via MySpace. Prospective mates turn out to be rapists or sexual deviants.

      That can be true in real life. It's not like everyone does thorough background checks on people that they date.

      -b.

    • by dasunt (249686)

      Problem: People (children included) seek viable mates via MySpace. Prospective mates turn out to be rapists or sexual deviants.

      Solution A: Don't seek mates on MySpace & teach your children common sense about acceptable human mating practices. Show your children how to safely use the internet, how to meet real people and make friends in reality instead of through a virtual layer.

      Problem: People seek viable mates via Real Life(tm). Prospective mates turn out to be rapists, sexual deviants, or just p

  • Age verification? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brainburger (792239) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:00PM (#19214015)
    Leaving aside for the moment the fact that not all inter-generational relationships are abusive, it's easy to prove adulthood, by demanding a credit-card check. However, how is it possible online to robustly age-verify a person as under 18?

    Does anyone know if any provider has made any progress on this?
    • Re:Age verification? (Score:4, Informative)

      by RWarrior(fobw) (448405) * on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:36PM (#19214463)
      > it's easy to prove adulthood, by demanding a credit-card check.

      That is a defense in American statutory law, but not in practice. There are any number of outlets where anyone of any age with a sufficient amount of cash may buy a Visa gift card. [allaccessgift.com] I once sent an 8 year old to do it and he came back to me with a legally-purchased, fully working card I used to buy a subscription to a porn site.

      Indeed, Visa specifically prohibits using a Visa card number as an age verification mechanism in their Rules for Merchants [visa.com]:

      "The merchant must not use the account number for age verification or any purpose other than payment."

      (Approximately 60% of adult industry transactions carried our by credit card on the net are carried out with Visa cards.) cite [ccbill.com]

      Even if Visa permitted such a use, the merchant fees make it unworkable: Visa charges a percentage of every transaction, and the acquiring bank charges a fee as well, generally anything from a quarter to a dollar per transaction, PLUS a percentage, ranging anywhere from 2.3% to 15% of the ticket price, depending on a lot of factors they won't tell you about. This means that it simply isn't economical to use credit cards as a verification mechanism: It costs the merchant too much. To make a credit card transaction pay for itself, the merchant must make enough profit on the transaction to cover the fee, and if there's no fee, there's no profit one can use to cover the cost of the transaction, so it's a money-losing proposition.

      So, right now, there is no way to effectively prove age, either adult or minor, on the internet. None.

  • by nick_davison (217681) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:00PM (#19214029)
    Up until the last couple of years, consensual homosexual acts have been able to put you on the sex offenders register in many states. Sex with a consenting partner, in a park, after midnight, when all children should long since be in bed - you're a sex offender. Oral sex in Utah? Mississippi's ludicrous "sex with a minor unless you can prove she was not of previously virtuous character.."? They all merit a place on the list.

    I don't dispute that identifying those who prey on children may have its merits. Given the sex offender registry is a great way of stitching red letters on the chests of anyone that offends good conservative taste, that is hardly its sole effect.

    Given how open to abuse the system is, how long before the MPAA figures, "Hey, there's hardcore porn on them there torrents. I wonder if we could get anyone that uses them labeled a sex offender, destroy their lives, and kill off torrents that way, without worrying about trying to prove actual piracy."?

    I've never got caught having sex in public nor getting a blowjob in Utah. I also happen to be straight. Still, even if I had been caught for any of those acts, it's absolutely none of their business whether I use MySpace.

    Mind you, I also grew up in England where, after the Daily Mail posted a list of 1,000 sex offenders, including some errors, a paediatrician got their house burned down. Dirty paediatricians! I hate the way they look at and touch children!
    • by Hatta (162192)
      Up until the last couple of years, consensual homosexual acts have been able to put you on the sex offenders register in many states. Sex with a consenting partner, in a park, after midnight, when all children should long since be in bed - you're a sex offender.

      If you're trying to indict sex offender lists by saying they include acts that aren't that bad you're going to have to provide a better example than cottaging.
      • Aside from your missing the implication of strangers for cottaging [wikipedia.org] to apply...

        How about:

        There was a case featured in the November 1996 issue of "Marie Claire" involving an Atlanta wife who tried to have her soon-to-be ex-husband charged with rape. She had persuaded her then hubby to tie her up and later used the bondage as a means of proving that the sex had not been consensual. Her sister came forward and informed the court of the plot against the man, but there was another twist in the story.

        Although the man was acquitted on the rape charge, the man was sentenced to five years in jail for having performed oral sex on the woman. He had admitted to that during the course of the case and so he was charged and sentenced under Georgia law.

        Source [sfsu.edu]

        From the same article:

        • Places where oral sex is illegal: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and Washington D.C.
        • An erection that shows through a man's clothing is illegal in: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklaho
  • Age verification.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by twigles (756194) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:01PM (#19214037)
    I enjoy reading the repeated calls for age verification on social networking sites. Never does anyone making this demand suggest a feasible solution, they just pound their shoes on the table and say, "make it happen!" Even better are the calls for requiring parental permission for minors. Think for about 30 seconds about how one might accomplish that feat. Yeah.
    • I enjoy reading the repeated calls for age verification on social networking sites. Never does anyone making this demand suggest a feasible solution, they just pound their shoes on the table and say, "make it happen!" Even better are the calls for requiring parental permission for minors. Think for about 30 seconds about how one might accomplish that feat.

      (1) Provide a digital signing key on a dongle, with an associated PIN to access it in person at a government agency with identification requirements simil

      • by twigles (756194)
        I hope there are better ways. That one would put any social networking site out of business. Step 1 starts with "Provide a digital signing key on a dongle" - any idea how to do that when your site has 150+ million accounts? Divide that number in half for spammers and bots, divide the remaining number in half for inactive accounts ... you still have over 30 million dongles to produce. That was just one problem. With the first dozen words.

        What they want is not feasible without a massive identity manageme
  • ...I've read about where people have ended up living under bridges because there's nowhere that's not too close to something, they should probably be happy they didn't get collectively banned for hanging out at the same place many young people do. While I do understand the need for protection, the US looks like the kind of place where you're so utterly, completely head-to-toe screwed that you can't possibly redeem yourself and live a honest and normal life. And I'm not talking about the babyraping kind, the
  • Firstly, I think the whole sex offender registry thing is unworkable and misguided at best. However, if you really wanted to fuck w/ someone, just locate them [state.ut.us] (link to Utah's Sex Offender Registry search form), use tor, a few chained proxies, or a Starbuck's wifi spot, then sign up under the offender's name/address.

    Hilarity will soon follow, I'm sure.

  • Privacy.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kazrath (822492) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:07PM (#19214111)
    While /. usually is all for privacy in cases such as this I believe the sex offender made a choice to give up their privacy as soon as they performed the criminal act.

    Unfortunately there are numerous cases that have caused a person to be labeled as a "sex offender" that should have never occurred. In some cases children (People under 18) have been convicted of child molestation. Or parents who take pictures of their children in the tub have been arrested for child pornography. Right now the major issue is that laws designed to protect children can be used against children.

    I don't remember if it was on /. or somewhere else but I do remember reading a very heated discussion about sex offenders recently.

     
    • by QCompson (675963)
      While /. usually is all for privacy in cases such as this I believe the sex offender made a choice to give up their privacy as soon as they performed the criminal act.

      If you are arguing that when one commits a crime they are tacitly also making a choice to accept the known consequences, such as imprisonment and loss of privacy, then your argument is flawed in relation to sex offenders. Sex offenders, unlike other classes of criminals, are often forced to submit to new legislative restrictions after thei
    • by glwtta (532858)
      Right now the major issue is that laws designed to protect children can be used against children.

      And here I thought that the major issue was that these laws can be used against innocent people or to mete out punishment out of all proportion to the crime. Or that it's absurd to apply "strict liability" to something this complex (as opposed to parking tickets).
    • by ShaunC (203807) *

      Right now the major issue is that laws designed to protect children can be used against children.
      No, right now the major issue is that every politician and talking head is striving to equate the term "sex offender" with "child molester." And it's working. There are plenty of "sex offenders" on MySpace (and walking around your neighborhood each day) who do not now, and never will, pose the slightest risk to anyone's child.
  • Well the first response above is one of my own reactions. How hard is it to just use fake information? How exactly are they narrowing down sex offenders on MySpace? Then I realized that most sex offenders are morons and this probably would nab them. Then again what happens to people in the same general area that have the same or a similar name? I am a little confused as to what this will prove. How do you know the MySpace account wasn't setup as someone pretending to be the sex offender trying to get
    • by geek (5680)
      Most child molesters / sex offenders are actually quite intelligent. They setup and exploit national as well as international rings to share photos etc. They commit their crimes dozens, sometimes hundreds of times under the radar without being caught. Never ever dismiss them as morons. They are often the hardest criminals to catch and furthermore convict. The worst ones are also the best at the manipulation, not just of children, but of the justice system.

      Case in point, the Catholic churches issues with sex
  • by W. Justice Black (11445) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:24PM (#19214341) Homepage
    The summary has both "attorney generals" and "attorneys general." Does anyone care to hazard a guess as to which one is correct? The word "general" describes the attorneys--it's "general" the adjective, not the noun.

    That and "son of a bitches." Bah. It's SONS OF A BITCH or SONS OF BITCHES (depending on the number of dogs involved). Our science isn't advanced enough to generate one son from more than one female dog, damn it!
    • by glwtta (532858)
      Our science isn't advanced enough to generate one son from more than one female dog, damn it!

      Actually, it is - there's still a male involved, but chimeras of two females are routinely made for various research purposes. I doubt anyone does this with dogs, but only because it's not very practical.

      Good point, otherwise.
  • by Evil Poot Cat (69870) <[evilpootcat] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:35PM (#19214459) Homepage
    And since Georgia is one of the states mentioned in this article, let's observe that Genarlow Wilson is still in prison, http://www.wilsonappeal.com/index.php [wilsonappeal.com] , and will be on one of these lists in about 8 years when he gets out. Not bad, for getting a blow job from a 15 year old when you're 17.

  • by hherb (229558) <horstNO@SPAMdorrigomedical.com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:11PM (#19214833) Homepage
    I am a doctor who has some "sex offenders" among my patients. They range from rapists and paedophiles to people who harmed nobody but those with a narrow religiously based world view (eg people having sex in a public place without intent of being discovered, like in a bush after dark in a park).

    I define sex offenders as people who cause grief to others through non-consensual acts.

    However, U.S. legislation has a much broader view on this, depending on state - in some states the term includes virtually everybody who doesn't fit into a very narrow minded strongly religiously biased cultural view.

    My first observation would be that very different people are lumped together under the same tag, a tag which will cause suffering way beyond whatever suffering they may or may not have caused to others.

    We all remember the case of a female teacher having had consensual sex with a physically fully developed but legally under age boy. She was convicted as a sex offender, put to jail, and after she was released, the boy married her. Who has suffered here? The boy? Obviously not. He said so, and he demonstrated it by marrying her after she was released from prison. Only he woman suffered grievously under the assault by the legal system, and will probably suffer from the consequences of the conviction and the label of "sex offender" the rest of her life. To what avail? Just to have satisfied the puritan narrow minded views of a few judges and religious zealots.

    Plenty of legal cases, mostly from the US, going along similar lines.

    The point is that a number of people are deprived of their constitutional and basic human rights. While I agree that in some extreme cases this might be necessary in order to defend others, in the majority of people who are tagged with the label of "sex offender"this is definitely not the case.

    The US judicial system is increasingly mutating from a system designed to protect people into a system to enforce the narrow world view of a few zealots; a system that cannot even be reconciled with the constitution.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aicrules (819392)
      Your example of the boy marrying the woman after her release is pretty lame. You could easily say he was psychologically damaged by the sexual acts committed against him where no consent was possible. Minors are deemed in general to not have the ability to consent to such things because they "don't know any better."

      I don't get why so many /.ers are rising up against this. Show me a list of people who have been wrongly labeled sex offender. All I see are claims that it could be so horribly misused. A
  • Why are most people assuming that the sex offenders are being identified by their user profile information? The FBI/Attorney Generals are probably already monitoring their behaviors and provided their IPs or other identifying information to MySpace, making it easy to track and report on their myspace habits.
  • by lazlo (15906) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @12:42AM (#19217283) Homepage
    One of the first articles [informationweek.com] I read on this had this gem:

    The attorneys general said that in 2006 the media reported almost 100 crimes involving adults who used MySpace to prey or attempt to prey on children in the United States. They pointed to two cases in North Carolina, which is leading the charge to get answers from MySpace.

    A former sheriff's deputy from was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison for molesting a 15-year-old North Carolina boy he met on MySpace. A North Carolina police officer was also arrested and charged with raping a 14-year-old girl he met on MySpace.

    North Carolina, Connecticut, and other states have introduced legislation that would require social networking sites, like MySpace, to get parental permission before minors can register. In North Carolina, Cooper wants the legislature to pass a law that would make it a felony for convicted sex offenders to join social networking sites that include children.

    So maybe, and I'm just throwing this out as a thought here, maybe it's just a crazy idea, but maybe instead of trying to keep the sex offenders out of MySpace.com, perhaps we might spend a little time attempting to keep them out of the fucking police force? I mean really, it's a pretty sad day when a "social networking" web site is expected to do a better job of doing background checks on its users than the police can do on their job applicants.

    Jeesh.

We can predict everything, except the future.

Working...