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New Jersey Bars Sex Offenders From the Internet 435

Posted by Zonk
from the slash-kickban dept.
eldavojohn writes "New Jersey just passed legislation making it illegal for sex offenders to use the internet. NJ congresswoman Linda D. Greenstein said, 'When Megan's Law was enacted, few could envision a day when a sex offender hiding behind a fake screen name would be a mouse-click away from new and unwitting victims. Sex offenders cannot be given an opportunity to abuse the anonymity the Internet can provide as a means of opening a door to countless new potential victims.' While they still can search for jobs, this is a major expansion over the prior legislation which barred them from social networking sites like facebook or myspace."
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New Jersey Bars Sex Offenders From the Internet

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  • WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)
    Could they be any more ridiculous?

    No one has ever been raped, beaten or contracted a sexually-transmitted disease on the internet.
    Are they going to ban sex-offenders from using cell phones? From writing letters? From talking?

    And of course, like all of the best in stupid legislation, these laws are essentially unenforceable. On the net, no one knows that you are a dog, or a convict.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:44AM (#21847456)
      "No one has ever been raped, beaten or contracted a sexually-transmitted disease on the internet."

      I think that statement's a little too broad to be taken as true.

      That doesn't mean, though, that I disagree with you in spirit. I'm concerned that 'sex offender' is too broad of term for this to really apply. I heard a story about a guy who was 19 and had sex with his 17 year old girlfriend. According to the laws of that state, there was some flexibility there if the age difference was two years or less. The male was like a year and two days older than the female. The judge banged his gavel, and now the kid is a 'sex offender' that has to register.

      If anybody had asked my opinion, I would have said that this was excessive considering the context. The idea of banning him completely from the internet, in my mind, is ridiculous. Not only would this have the potential to effectively prohibit him from working in an office environment, but as the internet becomes more and more integrated into our daily lives, it will become the punishment that continues to keep on punishing. Every year that goes by, his life gets harder.

      I don't have a silver bullet for this problem. But I would at least offer the suggestion there should be levels of sex offenders. For example: Somebody convicted of statuatory rape where the age difference is less than 4 years would be a different level than somebody who brutally raped an unwilling person. The person I just described wouldn't be banned from the net, but the sort of person you'd see on "To Catch a Predator" could be.

      That suggestion is a bit short-sighted considering my point about the ubiquity of the internet, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, though, nobody (outside of an extreme case) would think of banning a convicted criminal from using a telephone. It won't be long before internet access is just as fundamental to our society.
      • by mpe (36238)
        But I would at least offer the suggestion there should be levels of sex offenders. For example: Somebody convicted of statuatory rape where the age difference is less than 4 years would be a different level than somebody who brutally raped an unwilling person.

        Thing is that "sex offender" is not a synonym for "rape". It's also quite possible that even some actual rapists who have been caught do not wind up on such lists.
        The claim that the aim is to "protect the public" makes little sense. It might make a l
      • by pla (258480)

        No one has ever been raped, beaten or contracted a sexually-transmitted disease on the internet.

        I think that statement's a little too broad to be taken as true.

        Really? Can you point me to someone raped on the internet? Beaten on the internet? Who contracted an STD on the internet?

        Meeting people in person after meeting them online doesn't count. Having your sad little avatar abused by mean people doesn't count.

        Until we have domestic sexbots subject to control by remote attackers, you simply can't

        • by Fred_A (10934)

          Until we have domestic sexbots subject to control by remote attackers, you simply can't
          rape or beat someone over the internet.

          I've seen Internet beatings happen numerous times, it often involves a large fish for some reason. Perverts all of them I say.

          And for the record, I believe "sex offender" laws as they exist in the US are purely "feel good" laws that are of no use whatsoever. Helping the people with psychic disorders they can't handle would be way more useful. But as in most countries, justice isn't meant to help solve problems, just to make people feel that "justice has been served" however futile that is.

      • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Synn (6288) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @01:39PM (#21849632)
        "I don't have a silver bullet for this problem. "

        I do. Put every sex offender into therapy and only allow them back into society when they're no longer deemed a threat to society.

        Make people serve their time, but afterwards, let them get on with their lives.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Tx (96709) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @08:01AM (#21847562) Journal
      No one has ever [...] contracted a sexually-transmitted disease on the internet.

      You've obviously never had the goatse guy burned into your brain.
    • The real solution is to give sexual predators the punishment they truly deserve in the first place, which is life in prison without possibility of parole.

      I'm sure some people here will spew stuff about how they are 'sick' and need 'help'. Trust me, life in prison is a compromise compared to what I think they should really get. You don't help a rabid dog; you put it down. The same should hold for anyone who sexually abuses children. I'm not talking about the 20 year old/15 year old thing. I mean the rea
      • Who wants to be soft on sex offenders? I'd like them locked up forever so that they can be studied and hopefully a cure found. I don't want them killed and I certainly don't want them treated like common criminals. They are people as ill as any other criminally insane person and therefore should not be in the mainstream prison system.
      • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mpe (36238) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @09:26AM (#21847956)
        The real solution is to give sexual predators the punishment they truly deserve in the first place, which is life in prison without possibility of parole.

        Which may or may not correspond with current lists of "sex offenders".

        Those who want to be soft on sex offenders are most likely not parents, and most definitely not parents of a child who has been abused.

        Except for those parents who are themselves abusers...
        • by Fred_A (10934)

          The real solution is to give sexual predators the punishment they truly deserve in the first place, which is life in prison without possibility of parole.

          Which may or may not correspond with current lists of "sex offenders".

          Those who want to be soft on sex offenders are most likely not parents, and most definitely not parents of a child who has been abused.

          Except for those parents who are themselves abusers...

          Which oddly enough is the *huge* majority of cases.

          To make the children safe maybe they should all be locked away from their parents ? Or maybe all the parents should be locked away, just in case ? After all they're the ones who are statistically more dangerous. Maybe parents should be on the sex offender lists, after all they have shown they have weapons and aren't afraid to use them. Bah.

      • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Saturday December 29, 2007 @09:28AM (#21847970) Homepage
        The problem is that so many things are considered sex crimes. Public urination is on that list. Met a chick at a bar who consented? If she realizes you're not as hot as she thought you were, legally she never consented. If you're intoxicated you cannot consent.

        It's not black and white, and it never will be.
        • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

          by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @10:27AM (#21848278) Journal

          If you're intoxicated you cannot consent
          Actually thats not true at least in Ohio. Provided you knowingly allowed yourself to become intoxicated, ie you were not drugged, or decived about something being an acholoic beverage, you are responsible for your actions and decisions while intoxicated. Almost every college kid is warned about this at freshmen orientation.

          If you get liquered up and someone takes advantage of you its your fault in the eyes of the law. Now other statitory exceptions may apply like if you sell me you beater car while I am drunk, and its a lemon, I still have lemon law protection and such. There is no exception for concentual sex between adults though. If he/she is drunk and you get them to consent to sex, its legal. I would call you an asshat as would most decent human beings but we can't put you away for it.
      • by ultranova (717540)

        The real solution is to give sexual predators the punishment they truly deserve in the first place, which is life in prison without possibility of parole.

        "Sexual predator" can be a guy who goes around raping children, or it can be the guy who picks up women in a bar; both of them are predatory, but the acts they perform are hardly comparable. Appropriate punishment - if any - for any particular act needs to be decided in an act-by-act basis, not by throwing around crappy rethoric like "sexual predator".

      • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Saturday December 29, 2007 @01:46PM (#21849674) Homepage

        Those who want to be soft on sex offenders are most likely not parents, and most definitely not parents of a child who has been abused.
        Wow, watch those strawmen fly!


        I'm a parent, and I'm guessing that under your worldview, I want to be `soft on sex offenders'. But I don't see it that way -- instead, I want the punishment to fit the crime. If you're 17 and have sex with your 15 year old girlfriend, you should be grounded for a week, perhaps have your cell phone taken away. Peeing on the side of a building? $50 fine. Rape a 3 year old girl to within an inch of her life? Life in prison, perhaps even the death penalty.

        `Sex offender registration' is a huge crock. All it really does is let us take some people, found guilty of certain offenses, and make them pariahs for life. I imagine the original premise was to protect society from these dangerous predators, but in many cases they're not predators at all! And why only sex crimes? I'd be FAR more concerned if the guy next door killed his neighbor in a fight 10 years ago than if he got caught diddling the 16 year old girl next door when he was 19 -- but guess which one has to register?

        I might be better able to support registration as either further punishment or to protect society if it applied to all crimes of a certain level, not just `sex crimes'. But even then I can't really support it -- when you've paid your debt to society, that should be the end of it. And if you're too dangerous to be let out, then you shouldn't be let out -- the sex offender registry should not be a `last ditch' sort of thing.

        And what good does the sex offender registry do? Sure, it gives people a list of names of people to harass, to run out of town, to lynch, to kill. And you can tell your kids to avoid these houses, but what good does that really do? Has anybody ever shown that knowing where the sex offenders in town were led to children (we're worried about protecting the children, right?) who were less likely to be the victims of crime (or sex crimes, if you want to be more specific?)

        And the whole banning them from the Internet thing, even worse ...

    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday December 29, 2007 @08:16AM (#21847632) Homepage Journal

      Could they be any more ridiculous?
      No, I'm not sure they could be any more ridiculous.

      This is like forbidding alcoholics from taking public transportation because they might take a bus to a liquor store.

      Or, it's like forbidding a horse thief from wearing shoes because they might use those shoes to walk to a stable and steal a horse.

      "Protecting the Children" is completely out of hand. It's nothing but politicians pandering to parents who feel guilty that they're so busy working they're not taking care of their kids, who they drop off at day-care or leave with the nanny every day.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jugalator (259273)
        It's especially out of hand when considering what a "sex offense" actually is.

        It can be things like:
        - Urinating in public
        - Indecent exposure
        - Unlawful detention
        - Voyeurism

        There's been reports telling that there's not a majority here who're doing sex offenses against children, but rather these minor crimes. Earlier it was no big deal if someone mooned others for a short moment from a car while being drunk, or urinating in public for that matter after having a few too many beers. Or if you took a chance and p
    • by hherb (229558) <horst@dorrig o m e dical.com> on Saturday December 29, 2007 @08:55AM (#21847782) Homepage
      In my practice I see a variety of patients who have been convicted for sex offences - ranging from predatory paedophiles to people who made a simple bona fide mistake. The former are people who suffer from a mental illness - they need treatment and not punishment, and should not be released onto society before there is evidence that the treatment actually works. The latter usually get punished way beyond their "crime" and really should be entitled to living a normal life after serving their sentence.

      I practice in Australia - another country of puritan heritage, but fortunately not as openly hostile towards sex as the US, and courts here tend to be less "Mickey Mouse" style. Nevertheless, one of my patients fell for a 15yo prostitute and had non-penetrative sex with her, one single time. Independent witnesses all reported they would have taken her for at least 18 if not older. The "perpetrator" had no prior offence and the circumstances were such that he was not actively seeking such connection but it happened spontaneously when she was allegedly actively seeking such relation

      For that the man got 5 years of which he served 3. Since he was announced as a paedophile to his inmates when he was jailed, they scalded him badly with boiling water and beat him up badly before they had opportunity of learning the whole story. When he was released, he moved to my town. He is a religious man who confided into a local priest who had nothing better to do than walk from door to door and warn people about the dangerous paedophile who moved into town. A really nasty witch hunt started against him where even otherwise nice and educated people blindly joined in. Is this just? Will it improve anything? Will this protect any children?

      The legislation mentioned in this article which deprives so called "sex offenders" regardless of their background of essential human rights is obscene, and the people producing such legislation either ignorant or criminal.
      • by hherb (229558)
        PS - regarding the story above, I do not know the girl in question, have not personally seen her, and do not know whether the allegation of prostitution or age appearance has any substance or not. The event did not happen in our area, the convict simply moved to our area after serving his sentence and was forced to leave again because of the ensuing witch hunt.
        My posting should NOT be considered as condoning in any way sexual acts of adults with minors of age either, or of this case in particular (and don'
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Verteiron (224042)
          Know what depressed me most about your story?

          The fact that you felt you had to post this disclaimer. The witch hunt mentality against sex offenders is truly getting out of hand.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        From the article:
        "The bill applies to anyone who used a computer to help commit the original sex crime."

        Now, the bill is still obscene, but it does not apply to all citizens labelled as sex offenders, as the whole conversation here seems to assume. If only people would R T F A ... So many bits wasted.
        • by QCompson (675963) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @03:17PM (#21850332)

          "The bill applies to anyone who used a computer to help commit the original sex crime." Now, the bill is still obscene, but it does not apply to all citizens labelled as sex offenders, as the whole conversation here seems to assume. If only people would R T F A ... So many bits wasted.
          I really have to wonder what your agenda is when you post something such blatant misinformation. From the FA:

          The bill applies to anyone who used a computer to help commit the original sex crime. It also may be applied to paroled sex offenders under lifetime supervision, but it exempts work done as part of a job or search for employment.
          And later in the FA:

          The State Parole Board currently supervises about 4,200 paroled sex offenders whose sentencing guidelines call for lifetime supervision -- regardless of whether their original crime involved the Internet.
          To sum up: the bill doesn't apply to all sex-offenders, but it most certainly will apply to sex-offenders whose crime did not involve the internet.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      While I agree with you that no-one has been raped, beaten or caught an STD on internet, there is a more important question: has the offender used internet in his/her search for a victim? My reasoning behind the question is that I see very little (none, actually) reason to bar a typical rapist from using internet, since it isn't used to prepare for the crime. He (for it is usually a man) is out in town, gets drunk and assaults a woman on his way home. Though the crime is despicable, I don't see this idiot u
  • Coming Soon! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:29AM (#21847408) Homepage
    People convicted of drug offences banned from the internet, because they might use the internet to buy drugs
    People convicted of fraud banned from the internet, because they might use the internet to defraud someone
    People convicted of disturbing the peace banned from the internet, because they might use the internet to disturb people
    And so forth.
  • by Ckwop (707653) <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:30AM (#21847410) Homepage

    A totally unworkable, probably unconstitutional waste of time. A legislative brain-fart if you ask me.

    While this is obviously about the United States, it's a problem everywhere. The criminal legislation velocity in the United Kingdom is totally out of control. There's a bill every couple of months that criminalises some silly action. I recon that the criminal code should only be adjusted by bills put to referendum. This would reduce the volume of legislation and protect the people from totally stupid laws, unenforceable laws.

    Simon

    • by Kjella (173770)
      The same kind as the jury of your peers that think you should pay $10,000/song for sharing it on P2P (ok, that was US)? Or do you mean the extremists on either side that'll keep proposing bills, bills and more bills until the average person is too sick and tired of it to vote? It's nice to think things would be different but in the UK you don't even have the duopoly excuse that the US has, if people wanted to vote differently they most certainly could. Unfortunately, I think the easily manipulatable sheeple
    • by mpe (36238)
      A totally unworkable, probably unconstitutional waste of time. A legislative brain-fart if you ask me.

      What's new there...

      While this is obviously about the United States, it's a problem everywhere. The criminal legislation velocity in the United Kingdom is totally out of control. There's a bill every couple of months that criminalises some silly action.

      Or even something which was already illegal in the first place.

      I recon that the criminal code should only be adjusted by bills put to referendum. This
  • by JackMeyhoff (1070484) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:31AM (#21847418)
    Really, its become LoonyLand.

    People are ashamed of the US, people don't want to travel there, people don't want to support American companies, people don't want to even listen to them.

    They are a case of "do as we say, not as we do".
    • by master_p (608214)
      Is it true that in some US states I can get in trouble with the law if I am caught doing sex in 'illegal' ways?

    • "In USA, they came first for the pedophiles, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a pedophile;
      And then they came for the sex offenders, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a sex offender;
      And then they came for the sexual minorities, And I didn't speak up because I didn't belong to a sexual minority;
      And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."


      Anonymous Coward, Stories from the United Talibans of America, AD 2030?

  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:32AM (#21847420) Homepage
    I moderate this legislation -1 unenforceable
  • by Kierthos (225954) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:38AM (#21847442) Homepage
    1) Sex offender applies for job which requires internet access/use.
    2) Sex offender doesn't get job because of this law. (and also possibly because they're a sex offender)
    3) Sex offender sues NJ for silly-ass law.

    And what about those sex offenders in NJ who already have jobs that require Internet access/use?
    • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @09:19AM (#21847896)
      Sex offenders have no rights -- didn't you know that? "Paying one's debt to society" has no meaning here -- once you're branded a sex offender, you're a pariah for life. We will make you leave your home if it's too close to a school, a playground, or a school bus stop (that probably didn't even exist before they found out you lived there). We will make it almost impossible for you to hold a steady, decent job. We will make sure that your name and photo are splashed all over the Internet and signs and posters so everyone will know to avoid you. We'll make you homeless, jobless, and an utter outcast. And, somehow, this is supposed to make us all safer.
    • by STrinity (723872) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @12:02PM (#21848976) Homepage
      States routinely place restrictions and requirements on the jobs a parolee can take, and some states already make it illegal for convicted sex offenders to work around children. Like it or not, there's nothing unconstitutional about punishments that extend beyond mere jail time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:41AM (#21847446)
    If these sex offenders are all so heinously dangerous that they need to be stripped of things like using the internet, moving to a neighborhood without angry mobs with pitchforks driving them out, etc. -- why are they out on the streets? Shouldn't dangerous people be locked up or executed? Make up your damn minds - either lock 'em up (or execute them), or set them free. You can have your cake and eat it.
  • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:42AM (#21847450) Journal
    What makes sexual offenders so much worse than violent nonsexual offenders (who are allowed internet access)?

    There are a fair number of sexual offenders who aren't actually violent.

    I believe sex crimes include stuff like indecent exposure, "Lewd and lascivious conduct", consensual (but illegal) sex, etc.

    I guess the Wars Against Drugs, Terror, Iraq etc are not enough, have to start a War Against Sex Offenders too.

    Oh well I suppose that makes most voters in New Jersey feel safer.
    • by EvilNTUser (573674) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:47AM (#21847472)

      "I guess the Wars Against Drugs, Terror, Iraq etc are not enough, have to start a War Against Sex Offenders too."

      Nope, that's just the War Against Sex. It's been going on for a long time.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        Then they should make stuff like adultery an offense (apparently it's still an offense in some US States just not prosecuted).

        It seems rather incongruous to treat adultery lightly while making a big fuss about the other stuff e.g. people looking at pictures of naked people.

        If people don't have sex out of marriage (that includes premarital sex) stuff like HIV become a lot less of a problem.

        Yes I know this is Slashdot and adultery is not likely to directly affect most of us, but humour me OK? ;)
    • The question is not "are sexual offenders more dangerous than other offenders?", the question is, who can we stigmatize with the people's support. The advantage to New Jersey of having this legislation is that sex offenders will be more likely to leave the state, as they can't work any office jobs there any longer. The disadvantage to every other state is that they might well fall out of all security rosters.
    • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @09:34AM (#21848000)

      What makes sexual offenders so much worse than violent nonsexual offenders?

      Very simple -- that horrible little word "sex." Since the first pilgrims landed on our shores, the Puritan spirit has never been totally eradicated in the U.S. While on one hand we probably consume more porn per capita than anywhere else, at the same time there are scads of folks who still find sex of any kind icky and shameful.

      Take the opening monologue to "Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit." (Don't misunderstand, BTW -- I like the show.) "Sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous." Really? Why? If a guy kidnaps and tortures a young girl, then bashes in her skull and dismembers her body, that's not "heinous" enough? But, if somewhere in the midst of all that horror he also rapes her, now it becomes something truly heinous?

      Make no mistake -- many people still have a very visceral negative reaction to anything sexual. If a man stabs a woman, or breaks her bones, or burns her, or physically assaults her in any way, and he is tried and convicted and eventually serves out his sentence and gets out on parole, no one tells him "you can't live in these areas" or "you can't use the Internet." But once the woman's vagina has been breached, all of a sudden he goes from merely evil to something of unspeakable horror that must be marginalized and driven out of town at any cost. Yes, rape is a terrible and inexcusable crime, but why is it so much worse than any other physical assault on someone's person? Because it involves SEX -- that horrible little word.

  • IMO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:47AM (#21847464)
    I have no sympathy for sex offenders, but at this rate why not just put sex offenders to death and be done with it? If you crowd an animal into smaller and smaller cages, starving it and/or torturing it, eventually the meekest, most mild-tempered and balanced animal is going to develop neuroses and sooner or later it'll either lash out viciously, or just lose it's will to live. Keep them in prison permanently, or put them to death, or find a way to "cure" them so they're safe to be living out in the world, but don't continually punish them once they're released from prison. It's just senseless violence and abuse in a different form.

    Oh and by the way would someone define "sex offender" in the context of this article? If you use a broad definition of "sex offender" then someone who was arrested and prosecuted for streaking in their college days or for public urination may meet the criteria as a "sex offender".

    • by Phroggy (441)
      My thoughts exactly. Isn't rehabilitation one of the purposes of prison? Sex-related crimes (such as public urination) are basically getting mandatory life sentences now - a couple years in prison, then the rest of your life shunned by society with no opportunity to turn over a new leaf. If we were just talking about repeat-offending child molesters and rapists here, the situation would be different, but we're not.
      • by mpe (36238)
        Sex-related crimes (such as public urination) are basically getting mandatory life sentences now - a couple years in prison, then the rest of your life shunned by society with no opportunity to turn over a new leaf.

        With the definition of "sex related" being somewhat arbitrary and illogical. e.g. somehow Lorena Bobbit's actions were not "sex related". It also appears to have taken several years (and repeated probation violations) before child rapist Mary Kay Letourneau wound up on such a list.

        If we were
    • by dbIII (701233)
      You've attached your real name to mindless death threats against thousands of people? I suggesting getting another UID, realise that there is no appeal from the grave so death penalties are stupid, read a newspaper, get outside, talk to people, grow up or SOMETHING that will make you aware that the legal system is not perfect.
      • Way to argue on a tangent! An argument for the death penalty is no more a "death threat", as you put it, than an argument against the death penalty is a "rape threat" in view of the absent deterrent effect.

        Your next point about the lack of appeal from the grave does nothing to argue against the death penalty--it argues for it. The fact that death is final is the whole principle of the strongest deterrent. People really do pay more attention to threats to their own lives than they do to annoyances, whic

    • by sckeener (137243)
      I have no sympathy for sex offenders, but at this rate why not just put sex offenders to death and be done with it?

      I know people at work that think that way. They ignore the innocent people getting out of jail because of DNA evidence from the 1980s finally being tested. They've never seen the documenry The Thin Blue Line [wikipedia.org]:

      The Thin Blue Line is a 1988 documentary film concerning the murder of a Texas police officer who had stopped a car for a routine traffic citation. The police are presented with two suspe

  • by sykopomp (1133507) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:48AM (#21847484)
    I'm a proponent for freedom and privacy and all that... ...but these are convicted sex offenders, not your average joe or script kiddy. I admit I have to agree with the decision, even if it's not reliably enforceable. Please keep in mind the popularity of online chat rooms as far as finding young kids goes, and the use of the internet to spread child porn. Even if it doesn't work perfectly, I can't disagree with it. Please, Think of the children!
    • I'm a proponent for freedom and privacy and all that... ...but these are convicted sex offenders, not your average joe or script kiddy. I admit I have to agree with the decision, even if it's not reliably enforceable. Please keep in mind the popularity of online chat rooms as far as finding young kids goes, and the use of the internet to spread child porn. Even if it doesn't work perfectly, I can't disagree with it.
      Please, Think of the children!

      I can't tell if you're kidding or not, especially after the 'think of the children' line. In case you're not being funny: I have a friend that is a 'sex offender' because he got pissed off at his neighbor and flashed her during an argument. She pressed charges, and now he has to register. What he did was stupid... but kicking him off the net? That's the same level of offense as a brutal rape?! I'm glad we don't live in NJ.

      • by Jonner (189691)
        If you'd read TFA (and not just its misleading headline), you'd realize that since your friend probably didn't use the Internet to help him flash his neighbor, this law wouldn't apply to him even in NJ.
        • If you'd read TFA (and not just its misleading headline), you'd realize that since your friend probably didn't use the Internet to help him flash his neighbor, this law wouldn't apply to him even in NJ.

          Busted. You're right, I apologize. As you've pointed out, I was dumb enough to run with the sensationalist headline.

          If it's one thing that scares me in this world, it's the thought of a justice system that doesn't permit a proper shot at rehabilitation. I am paranoid that the US is headed in that direction, all for fears of what might happen. If you ask me, that's a sure-fire way to land us in a police state.

          • by Jonner (189691)
            I do agree that this new law seems silly and maybe harmful. However, it's not as extreme as some in this discussion think it is. I suspect it'll end up being more of a waste of time and money than either being very helpful or very harmful. There are far too many laws already and far too many things are crimes, so this is just one more on the heap.
            • Let's just save time and money for the taxpayers. If someone rapes a child (under the age of 13), toss them into a large incinerator. I am serious.
              • by Jonner (189691)
                Even if that were a good idea, it wouldn't be directly related to this discussion, since New Jersey defines sex offenders [sexcriminals.com] much more broadly. Notice that people can even be registered sex offenders for offenses similar to the specific ones listed, though it's not clear how it's decided whether an offense is similar. Also, minors can be sex offenders. By the way, what's so special about child rapists that they should get their own type of execution?
      • by mpe (36238)
        I have a friend that is a 'sex offender' because he got pissed off at his neighbor and flashed her during an argument. She pressed charges, and now he has to register. What he did was stupid...

        With what law enforcement did being even more stupid. Unless there was at least one third party witness to the whole thing then it should have been simply "no case to answer".
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FroBugg (24957) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:49AM (#21847494) Homepage
    This is all getting ridiculous. Here in South Florida, sex offenders are prevented from living within 2,500 feet of a school, parks, and other places where children gather. This puts all but tiny slivers of entire counties off-limits, and of course there's no housing available in those slivers.

    So what have they done? Parole officers are telling their parolees to live under a bridge. As many as 20 sex offenders at a time live under this one bridge connecting Miami and Miami Beach, where they have no power or running water or even reliable shelter from the weather.

    And they wonder why some of them disappear from the system entirely.

    Either sex offenders are a threat to society and should be in prison or they're not and should be released. This crap about releasing them and making it impossible for them to live a normal life does nothing but encourage them to break the law.
  • Doesn't T-Mobile market a phone that switches to WiFi when WiFi's available? Could a sex offender violate this law simply by making a phone call?
    • Doesn't T-Mobile market a phone that switches to WiFi when WiFi's available? Could a sex offender violate this law simply by making a phone call?
      Not if he has a decent lawyer, no. I don't think you could convince a judge that placing a call, even if the signal uses an internet connection, is the same as web browsing. That said, though, it would be a bad idea for him to have a Treo or an iPhone.
  • by n dot l (1099033) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @07:56AM (#21847528)
    ...of serving your time and paying your debt to society?

    At this rate we may as well just cut to the chace and sentence convicted sex offenders (and whoever else is out to get your children) to lifelong destitution. We can brand them or something so people know to hate and fear them because, really, they can't possibly have reformed...and it would save neighbors and employers the bother of looking them up in the registries (heaven forbid people actually do something about their own security).

    TFA implies this only affects the worst of the worst. Let's at least hope that's accurate.
    • by MLease (652529)
      Part of the problem is that child molesters have a psychological compulsion to prey upon children. This makes it difficult to act as if they're done paying their debt to society once they're out of prison, because odds are, they're going to do it again.

      My daughter was accosted by a man who masturbated in front of her; he was caught, had offended before and was given probation. He offended again, and was given probation again, plus put on some kind of drug therapy. A year or 2 ago, we got a call from the
    • by mpe (36238)
      At this rate we may as well just cut to the chace and sentence convicted sex offenders (and whoever else is out to get your children) to lifelong destitution.

      Would make more sense with drunk drivers, who are a serious danger to everyone (including children). Indeed making them destitute would actually impede their ability of re-offend.
  • by renbear (49318) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @08:12AM (#21847614)
    I've seen a number of vitriolic posts talking about those horrible sex offenders, as if they knew exactly what one was.

    You don't. Trust me, you don't. Yes, it includes rapists, child molesters, etc... but the actual set of offenses that cause someone to be called a "sex offender" also includes stupid little things like flashing, victimless crimes like newlyweds making hanky-panky in a technically-public area, questionable crimes like public urination... all sorts of things that infuriate the puritanical elements of our society. It makes a nice, easy-to-administer Scarlet Letter for everyone the puritans hate.*

    I would not have as much problem with this law if it actually applied only to the rapists and child molesters. Unfortunately, it does not.

    * The label is also often used to repress closeted gays... "Those durned fagnits, having sex in the parks! This'll learn 'em!"
  • RTFA: (Score:2, Interesting)

    The bill applies to anyone who used a computer to help commit the original sex crime.

    This seems to make slightly more sense than how the summary portrays it. If they were convicted of molesting someone through myspace et al, why not take their weapon away from them? On the otherhand, if you didn't know she was underage at that party, from the sounds of things you should still be able to read slashdot.

    Can slashdot comments have one of those EULA style things that pops up and asks you to check that you've RTFA'd?

    Or maybe some kind of captcha that makes you answer questions about TFA?

  • Prügelknabe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rumagent (86695) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @09:11AM (#21847854)
    In a world where the vast majority of sexual offences are committed by friends and family, it seems odd that so much energy is wasted fighting "the stranger on the Internet" and so little energy is spent rescuing the woman and children being abused and intimidated within their own home.

  • Nowadays,pedophiles are the new "untouchables" the new (insert derogitory racial or sexual orientation statement here). Neighbors fear their new "pedo" neighbors, are encouraged to spy on, report, or even injure said party. What is the difference between a cross burning and a door to door "warning" in the end? Both give the same message of hate.
  • by ewilts (121990) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @09:51AM (#21848074) Homepage
    So now sex offenders can't own a TiVo or have to register its use with the parole board and allow them to install monitoring software on it. Ditto for the new HD DVD player. Or your gaming console. Or a new cell phone. Are you going to ban them public libraries too?

    I think I see this law as being extremely short-sighted... I don't object to what they're trying to do, but it isn't going to work.

    If you want them in jail, put them there. But applying restrictions like these on them isn't going to save anybody.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drspliff (652992)
      I haven't read through the whole thing ( http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2006/Bills/S2000/1979_R2.HTM [state.nj.us] ), but it seems just like the other monitoring systems which have come up on /. in the past.

      Require the person to submit to the installation on the person's computer or device with Internet capability, at the person's expense, one or more hardware or software systems to monitor the Internet use; and

      It seems like it's just monitoring your computer (if you have that), with penalties imposed if you're found to be using the internet for purposes you shouldn't be - or if you've been banned, from using it at all.

      What I don't understand is why these draconian measures are used, limiting peoples rights who are having a h

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2007 @10:37AM (#21848346)
    One of my friends, actually my best friend, is going to jail for 5 years for "2nd & 3rd degree assault of a minor". Apparently, you can get jailed for that for accidentally distributing CP.

    How do you accidentally distribute CP, you ask? That's pretty easy. You don't know shit about computer security and you get your computer infected with something that makes you part of a botnet used for storing 'questionable content'.

    My bro had the bad luck of discovering a whole series of zip files he didn't know anything about on his computer. He posts one to try to figure out what this shit is on his computer and how it got there. Boom, he has just distributed CP. This means he goes directly to jail, does not pass go, and DOES collect an unnerving sounding criminal record that will stay with him for a long time.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:22AM (#21848692)
    They are driving sex offenders to murder by making conviction of a sex offense an eternal punishment.

    A lot of innocent people (like 18 year olds having sex with 16 year olds) get swept up in this net.

    My ex-mother in law would have had me up except her daughter was older than me.

    Sexual crimes are bad-- okay. But inappropriately touching someone does not approach murder, blackmail, beating someone nearly to death, etc.

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